Written by Nick Quantrill — We first met Nick Quantrill during our New Talent November theme month here on Crime Fiction Lover last year. Following his highly acclaimed debut novel Broken Dreams he’s now released its sequel, The Late Greats, which marks the return of Joe Geraghty, the ex-rugby player turned private investigator from Hull.
New Holland was Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s and lured by the prospect of a big payday, and thanks to the machinations of their old manager Kane Major, the band are convinced to reform. One journalist is allowed to chart the progress of the return of the once famous band, and Joe Geraghty is asked to mediate with the writer. What should be a straightforward task soon turns sinister when Greg Tasker, the lead singer of New Holland, goes missing. Now Geraghty feels compelled to find out what happened to him, uncovering a long line of people Tasker had run-ins with. As events surrounding his disappearance turn more and more ominous, Geraghty must put himself in the firing line to uncover the truth.
Joe Geraghty, the seemingly ordinary guy with an extraordinary job, is back. Losing none of the realistic edge to his writing, Quantrill delivers on his outstanding promise shown in Broken Dreams. With the sequel however the focus shifts away from the city of Hull a little bit, and rests more on a storyline that weaves plot strands together.
The sense of character is paramount in this novel, with more details of Geraghty’s surrounding cast revealed, giving the reader some tantalising glimpses into possible future stories. The relationship between Geraghty and Julia, the journalist writing the story of the band’s comeback, is a very satisfying aspect, with Quantrill’s realistic edge running throughout. Similarly, Don and Sarah, the father and daughter team Geraghty works with, are given more of a role in this novel, with more facets to their characters being revealed. Whether that relationship continues after this novel will be interesting to see.
However the most enjoyable aspect of The Late Greats is the way in which the fictional band New Holland and its members are brought to life. The musical references and inevitable comparisons to the recent trends for bands to make comebacks (Blur, I’m looking at you) mean there’s a richness to the book, giving it a credible edge. Though Quantrill may easily have become lost in this side of it, concentrating too much on the music angle, he manages to maintain focus on the plot. The underlying role of two gangster brothers is also a good addition, tying in well to the main story.
A gritty slice of northern life, The Late Greats is a superb sequel to his assured debut. An excellent read, it works well even if you haven’t read Broken Dreams. However, there are some nuances to characters which work better for having read his first book. Quantrill is a name to watch out for, an incredible storyteller, with a talent for evoking character and setting. He’s on his way to becoming one of the most talked about writers around.
The book is on special offer on Kindle this week so snap it up using the first link below. The paperback is also out at £8.99 for those who prefer a hard copy.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars