Nine suicides One cult No leader
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.
That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another. Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
But how do you stop a cult when people do not know they are members?
A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller, Nothing Important Happened Today confirms Will Carver as one of the most extraordinary, exciting authors in crime fiction.
Right. Here we go again. I swear to all the gods, reviewing a Will Carver book is the worst thing! Where does one even start?! Hell if I know! Part of me wants to just read his stories back to back and skip any kind of review because I might not be a baby blogger anymore but I’m still not equipped to deal with this kind of literary madness! But then there’s that pesky other part of me that wants to make sure everyone knows how utterly brilliant his stories are and that they must be read *sigh*
So here we are again. At the brink of what is supposed to be a raving review and all I can think of to write is: Christ on a cracker what the hell have I just read?! No one can make the words fall right out of my head like Will Carver does. I turned the final page and sat there gaping like a sick goldfish. It was NOT a sight for sore eyes, let me tell you!
After last year’s one crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach, this year we have nine suicides, one cult, no leader and just as many WTF moments. This is a batshit crazy story rife with batshit crazy events and batshit crazy people, told partly in the third person, partly in the collective first person, it’s neither a full-blown crime thriller nor a how-to-grow-your-own-cult manual and yet somehow manages to be both. I’m sure not many traditional publishers would touch this. And they’d be dead wrong. Books like these are why we need indie publishers like Orenda Books!
Nothing Important Happened Today is so dark that part of me wanted to read it in little chunks. A part that felt the need to take a step back, take a breather, read something upbeat and cheery and forget about serial killers and cults and suicides for a minute or two. I did not listen to that part. Because the other part of me was desperate to figure it out. What is the connection between the nine people jumping of the bridge? None of them wanted to die but then why go ahead with it anyway? Who was the wizard behind the curtain, pulling their strings? How did they know where to be and what to do? IT KILLED ME, the not knowing!! I was spluttering “but but but HOW?!?!” every two pages, looking around me in bewilderment but there was no one there to help. So, frankly, this was a bit of an uncomfortable read for me. Torn between needing a break and not wanting to take a break, drowning in the darkness of the narrative and the sadness of the characters and not knowing what was going on and being desperate to know. I had the same feeling when I read Good Samaritans, but less strongly, so fair warning: if you couldn’t cope with that, you won’t cope with this one. However, if you loved it, you will love this one too. However different in terms of storylines, the very distinctive Will Carver style that I so adore is here in spades.
The narrative jumps back and forth between the People of Choice (= those who receive a letter saying “nothing important happened today” and commit suicide), the wannabe People (= those who aren’t actually linked but commit suicide anyway), a Detective, a retired Detective / relative of one of the jumpers and How to Grow a Cult 101.
With regards to the People, the narrative jumps back and forth in time. You meet them before they jump. You learn things about their pasts afterwards. Still, it never gets confusing and it somehow fits the story perfectly because it’s not in an overly organised fashion, you never know what’s around the corner and it made me as a reader a bit disorientated but somehow also more involved, closer to the story and its people (of choice and otherwise).
With regards to the How to Grow a Cult 101, although it might not make sense at first, trust me, it does in the end. Will Carver obviously did his homework: he references quite a lot of (in)famous cults / cult leaders / charismatic criminals who gained a following. From the Manson Family over Dahmer and Shipman to Scientology, it’s all there but not in a dry, academic way. I’m rather fascinated with cults, and even more so by serial killers, especially the ones like Bundy who could charm their way out of anything (for a while anyway), so I loved this side of the narrative. So many little titbits and factoids and throw-away remarks that prove that Will Carver did his research and might even have a bit of a fascination with these people himself.
Batshit crazy. The noirest noir. Highly recommended!
Nothing Important Happened Today is out now in eBook format (get it directly from Orenda Books here), and will be out in paperback next month!