This review was cross posted to Hot Key Books blog for UK Independent Booksellers Week 2013.
FRIDAY BROWN is a heartrending new novel by Vikki Wakefield. From the very first page, Friday grabbed me by the hand and pulled me along on the whirlwind tsunami of her journey – a definite contender for favourite book of 2013. The story combines contemporary realism with myth and memory to create an incredible psychological thriller.
How far would you go to outrun a curse you aren’t sure you believe in? Named to avoid a tragic fate, Friday was raised on the open road of the blistering Australian outback and her mother’s hazy campfire stories. But when her mother is the latest in a long line of women in their family to drown mysteriously on a Saturday, there seems to be nothing left to do but run. Friday sets out to the city determined to find her father. Lost and alone, her plan soon derails and she finds herself trying to stay afloat, surrounded by dangers and haunted by her memories, stumbling onto a train platform that changes her life forever.
One of the most beautifully crafted characters; it is the endearing Silence who captures your heart from the moment he appears at the train station. He scampers through life with an ageless quick fingered agility, rescuing Friday in her time of need. Mute but with a loud personality, the ferocity of his love and Silence’s loyalty and determination is just as likely to lead him into trouble as out of it. He will grab your heart strings and run with them.
He leads you to the powerfully seductive clutches of Arden, a girl who collects runaways like modern day Lost Boys, except far from holding on to the innocence of childhood, Arden’s children are forced to grow up fast and face the harsh realities of living on the streets. Together they form a found family, bound together by their individual circumstances and dark pasts, tangled in Arden’s web. She is a terrifyingly bewitching character, who wraps everyone around her fingers and pulls their puppet strings. Whether you trust her or not depends on the day and her mood, she’ll be your saviour and your enemy, your best friend and your worst nightmare. Friday can’t help but follow Arden and her gang as the need to endure leads her ever deeper into murky waters.
Follow Silence and fight for survival with Friday in this scorching, fast-paced psychological thriller that will leave you gasping, but reluctant to fetch a glass of water. Vikki has written a dazzling story filled with unforgettable characters and death defying twists. The story had me on the edge of my seat at many times, with brilliant pacing and an original and unpredictable plot.
With writing so vivid you can feel the heat of the campfires and the outback sun burning you as you read, Friday Brown is a story of revenge, justice, myth and identity. It covers some very dark and serious topics, and the characters have not had easy lives. Their pain is alluded to and revealed in glimpses of gossip fuelled speculation. But with a cast full of liars, be careful what you choose to believe. Friday’s band of misfits leave marks on their surroundings, lingering on in the mind of the reader long after the final page. In a world of inescapable adversity, the threat of an ancient curse pales in comparison to the horrors of surviving everyday life, and tragedy strikes when you aren’t careful.
Drink some water, grab some tissues, prepare to feel your heart race, and make sure you read Friday Brown this summer. A story that is real, bold and unafraid.
“No more tears now, I will think upon revenge.”