thoughts and things

Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock Book Review

An easy, comfortable read about a young man and his sexuality at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. 

I received an electronic version of this book via Netgalley
Here’s the Blurb: 

‘The milkman found her. On Prince Philip Playing Fields. He crossed the dew-soaked grass toward what he took to be a bundle of clothes, but then he came across a discarded shoe, and then t’ mutilated body. her name wor Wilma McCann.’

Leeds, late 1975 and a body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields. Ricky, teenage delivery van boy for Corona pop, will be late for The Matterhorn Man. In the years that follow until his capture, the Yorkshire Ripper and Rick’s own life draw ever closer with unforeseen consequences. Set in a time in England’s history of upheaval and change – both personal and social – this is a story told in an unforgettable voice.

I really enjoyed this book. This book was easy to read, comfortable and like getting to know some old friends. I really enjoyed finding out about Rick, and his life as a young gay man in 1970s. His life at this time is interwoven with the big news of the era – the Yorkshire Ripper murders. The murder of these women are interspersed with tales and tribulations of Ricks life. Rick works as a Corona pop delivery boy by day and we start the story as he starts to explore his sexuality and forge friendships within the more or less underground gay community. 

The book is really just this; a book about a young lad finding himself over the course of the late 1970s. To read this though is much more. You become invested in Ricks’ and his families lives and want to know what happens to them. The murders loom over events and life is punctuated with the news of another murder. The book is written in a Yorkshire dialect from Ricks point of view and initially this can be a little difficult with lots of  ‘t’table’  type words but it adds to the feel of the book and I felt it made Rick more of a real character. 

I really felt this book channelled the era and the mood of the times so well. It was like walking through a time machine and finding out about life in the ’70s. The ending of the book ends as much as it begins; the Yorkshire Ripper is caught and life continues. However an era is sort of over and it provides Rick with opportunity to be himself. 

I’d love to know if this book will have a sequel; Rick is such an engaging character I’d love to find out what happens next for him. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock is published by 4th Estate and is out now.  


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