Ian Ayris - April Skies
"...a dark, atmospheric novel that packs a knockout punch."
Sometimes, you don't know what sort of man you are until you are called upon to protect your family.
Bethnal Green, East London. Nineteen-ninety-one. John Sissons is out of work, out of friends, and out of luck. Fortune soon smiles upon him though, and he gets a job in a door factory. It's not much, but it's something. But as the days go by in the factory, and the layers are peeled away, John realises he didn't get this job by accident.
His past is exploding in front of his eyes and when you have a past like the one John has, he knows he'll be lucky if he makes it out alive. Every fibre in his body is telling him to run. But John's had a lifetime of running. Running is no longer an option. When his sister goes missing, John knows it's only a matter of time before they come for him - but he won't be going down without a fight. Not this time.
Ian Ayris has one of the most distinctive voices in crime fiction and in 'April Skies' he uses it to tell a magnificent tale where the past comes back on a character to interfere with the present. Told in the first person, Ayris depicts Sissons' struggle to establish a new life with verve and heart.
Sissons is a fine lead and his travails to find both work and love make for entertaining reading, but it is the Damoclean sword of his past which elevates the story from being very good to excellent. The other central characters are beautifully created although none are allowed to eclipse Sissons.
The plot is expertly crafted and the prose crackles with crisp earthiness which engenders a strong sense of place. 'April Skies' is a dark, atmospheric novel that packs a knockout punch.
Reviewed by: G.S.