Am I Dead? Am I God? Will I blow up this train? The Daves Next Door by Will Carver #bookreview #TheDavesNextDoor #WhoAmI

The lives of five strangers collide on a London train carriage, as they become involved in an incident that will change them all forever. A shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original new thriller from Will Carver…
A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care.
An injured young sportsman wakes up to find that he can see only in black and white.
A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.
Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.
Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.
Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?
Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.


Hi and welcome to my review of The Daves Next Door!

How does one even begin to review a book like this one? (Starting with a question is probably rather appropriate 🤔)

Fortunately for me:

… there is a great power in nothingness. In stillness. In silence. In having the right questions rather than pretending to know all the answers.

The year is 2023 and on 21 July 2022, several bombs exploded in the London Underground. Can we take a moment to appreciate the date, i.e. the publication date of The Daves Next Door? Did that make me snort with glee? Well yes, it totally did.

The Daves Next Door takes us back to the months before the explosions in short and snappy chapters alternating between the lives of a bunch of seemingly unconnected people. 

Have you stepped back to notice the similarities? Is there a way that all of these people could be linked?

Why yes, I have, thanks for asking 🙄 Concept-wise, I would say The Daves Next Door reminded me most of this author’s Hinton Hollow Death Trip. This time though, it’s not Death who’s speaking to us. But then who is? Is it God? Is it the narrator? (Isn’t the narrator a bit like God anyway?) Is it a terrorist? Riding the tube, wearing a bomb? 

Are you keeping up? Wouldn’t it have been easier to tell each person’s tale in its entirety before moving on to the next? How boring would that have been, though? Wouldn’t the stories lose some of their tension? Would your brain have wandered or switched off if you hadn’t had to constantly think and analyse and remember things?

As with every single Will Carver novel, The Daves Next Door is an experience. You don’t just read a Will Carver, you experience it. It draws you in and it not only entertains you, it challenges you. You don’t just get to read an exciting story, although that is of course part of this package deal. But it also asks you questions, it wishes you to be more than a passive bystander, it needs you to be an active participant, it requires you to think, about the characters, about yourself, about the world, it wants to kick your arse into gear and snap you out of your apathy. Is it an entirely relaxing experience? No. But there are other books for that (and often they’re not half as brilliant as this one.)

Apathy is a slow death, but who cares?

(Anyone want to guess if that made me snort too? Place your bets now!)

As always, I loved looking for easter eggs and trying to figure out when in the Carververse The Daves Next Door is situated. Is that necessary to enjoy or understand the story? Not at all. Is it great fun? Hell yes! I love how all the books are linked in some way or another, reference each other and yes, I cheered when my favourite DS showed up.

The Daves Next Door is an absolutely brilliant read. No other writer writes like this, I always count on Will Carver to win all the points for originality and yes sirree, he won them again. I can’t even begin to define this story, it has thrills and drama and a stream of consciousness and it might evoke an existential crisis and you think that would clash but it doesn’t. You know what? Just read it.

The Daves Next Door is out on 21 July in paperback and digital formats. Pre-order now directly from Orenda Books here.

Hugest of thanks to Orenda Books for the gorgeous proof copy! All opinions are my own.

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