Written by Nick Quantrill — Broken Dreams is the début novel from Nick Quantrill. After coming to prominence online as a prolific short story writer, Quantrill has moved on to a full-length crime novel, taking the talent he showed in his shorter work along for the ride.
Joe Geraghty is a private detective. Asked to investigate a member of staff’s absenteeism by a local businessman, he soon becomes embroiled in a murder case which links back to Hull’s past as a thriving fishing town. Connections to the murder of a feared gangland boss emerge and Geraghty finds himself treading on very dangerous ground. When a possible link to a tragedy in his own life reveals itself, the PI is pushed to the brink. The stakes are high, and Geraghty is one of those people who’ll push himself to any length to uncover the answers.
Set against the backdrop of the historic city of Hull, on the Humber river in England, Broken Dreams is an extremely well-crafted piece of work. With the main character working as a PI, there are none of the assumed cliches within. The very believable Joe Geraghty brings a sense of realism to the crime fiction genre – something badly needed in the current landscape of popular fiction.
Telling stories in the first person can sometimes lead to pacing issues; with the central focus on one character it is easy to get bogged down by internal struggles and so on. However, Quantrill skilfully avoids letting his story suffer, with excellent, readable prose that never drops in pace.
While Geraghty and the supporting cast are important aspects of what makes Broken Dreams such an enjoyable read, it is the urban landscape Hull provides which takes this novel to the next level. Quantrill brings the city to life, weaving the heart of Hull and its past glories into his modern tale, without taking focus off the story.
With continual action and plot strands effortlessly revealed as the story unfolds, this is a very cleverly created novel. An assured début. If Broken Dreams is a sign of things to come, Nick Quantrill is destined for greatness. With Broken Dreams being the first in a series of Joe Geraghty books, it will be interesting to see if Quantrill can keep this gritty, realistic writing up.
Watch for our upcoming Q&A interview with the author later during New Talent November.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars