He knows what he saw
But no one believes him
– The Man on the Street
[ About the Book ]
It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight.
Then he sees the headline: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost, and this makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story.
The police don’t believe him, but Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new.
But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.
[ My Review ]
The Man on the Street is the debut novel from Trevor Wood. Just published in digital and audio format on Oct 31st with Quercus Books it is described as ‘the most gripping crime debut of 2019, introducing the most unforgettable investigator of the year ‘.
Jimmy is a veteran of the Falkland’s war, a man who has witnessed some terrible atrocities and has been incapable of returning to the life he once had. It’s now 2012, and Jimmy’s life is shattered. Not able to cope with his daily life back home, his drinking became his escape but in reality it became a life sentence. His wife refused to put up with his moods any longer. She was concerned for her own safety and for that of their little baby girl, Kate. Jimmy’s erratic behaviour escalated, with an eventual prison sentence awarded. Now on parole, Jimmy is back on the streets, hoping to sort his life out. But Jimmy is in denial. Jimmy suffers from PTSD, a condition known to have serious debilitating effects on individuals and their families. But Jimmy now flies solo and wants no assistance from any quarter. He links up with a few other homeless lads and they create their own dysfunctional family.
One late evening Jimmy hears two men having an argument near where he has chosen to sleep for the night. Jimmy can no longer sleep in the company of others as he has horrifying nightmares, sweats and resurfacing memories. On this particular night he hears two raised voices, a splash and silence. In the moment, Jimmy makes the decision to let it go, this is not his fight. His parole is very tentative and Jimmy does not want to draw any attention on himself. Returning to prison is just not an option for him.
In the weeks that follow Jimmy attempts to put the events of that night behind him but when he sees an appeal for a missing person, his conscience intervenes and Jimmy makes a life-changing decision. Carrie, the daughter of the man that is missing, believes that her father is in trouble. Unfortunately, he has a less-than-perfect reputation, so Carrie is finding it extremely difficult to get the police to take her seriously. Jimmy steps forward and events take a rather sinister turn.
Jimmy is a fighter, in every sense. He will always stand up for the underdog but over the years this has got him into some serious trouble. Now Jimmy finds himself in trouble again. His life is in danger but Jimmy faces down this new foe, discovering more about himself along the way. There are many dirty characters in this story. From dodgy property developers to jealous partners, from the halls of the university to the corridors of the police station, there really is something rotten in this tale. Unwittingly Jimmy and Carrie have walked into a quagmire, one that will require all their wit to survive. Carrie is a determined and sassy individual. She sees beyond Jimmy’s homelessness and gets a glimpse of the man beneath. He is her only hope to help her discover the truth behind her father’s disappearance and as a team they make a very formidable duo.
The Man on the Street provides a good introduction to this new hero, this man who has no fear, this man who has nothing to lose. The start of a new series I expect!!! Think Jack Reacher in Newcastle…….
Although a crime novel, The Man on the Street raises the very important issue of our veterans and how society treats them on their return home. Many have suffered terrible traumas, their lives now destroyed and their future dark, either through physical or mental injury. Many are thrown to the scrap heap, discarded now that we no longer need their protection.
Obviously a subject very close to the author’s heart, the message in this book is very clear….WE NEED TO DO BETTER.
A solid debut, I am intrigued to see where Trevor Wood takes Jimmy next.
[ Bio ]
Trevor Wood has lived in Newcastle for twenty-five years and considers himself an adopted Geordie. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for sixteen years.
Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA.
The Man on the Street is his first novel.
Twitter – @TrevorWoodWrite