Eight Days Later

Eight Days Later

Steve Bishop
ARRSE Rating
1 Mushroom Head
This book is the debut of a character called Boyd Aimes and is the author’s first novel. 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the Warrior Programme, a charity that supports service personnel.

Boyd Aimes is an ex Parachute Regiment Corporal whose tranquil, reclusive retirement on his canal boat is disturbed when one of his ex-military mates gets into a spot of bother involving the murder of a security guard. Boyd rushes to help and uncovers a mesh of drugs, terrorism and intelligence agencies. Recruiting some help from the serving and ex-military communities, Boyd sets about sorting things out in the space of eight days. This involves an amount of violence, deception, cunning and collusions – all the ingredients of a decent thriller.

So far, so derivative – but that’s not a disaster; after all someone once worked out that there are only seven plots in all of fiction. The plotting is adequate, with a couple of twists, and the pace is furious. Mr Bishop has almost written a page turner.
I say almost because there are some problems. The first is that there are times when the suspension of disbelief slips – too much coincidence. There are some slips that irritate – a confusion between REME and Sappers. Twenty five years’ service and just a Corporal, all because he hit an officer. In my experience NCOs who hit officers either get dismissed or, more often, it’s swept under the carpet. I know of at least four such NCOs whose career progressed regardless (and one of them, rightly, punched me).

But the real killer is the punctuation. Too often one loses track of who is doing or saying what simply because the punctuation is awry. The paragraphing doesn’t help either, not does the variable indentation of first lines. What the book is begging for is an editor, who would also eliminate some of the clichés. The result would be a page turner, rather than a pacy thriller which frequently grinds to a halt as one tires to work out WTF is going on. Which is a darn shame.

I hope that Mr Bishop manages to find one; if he does I can see that a successful series lies ahead and he may tread the path of Andy McNab and the rest. As it is, this book is a demonstration of the perils of self-publishing.

If this is harsh, its tough love – and both Boyd Aimes and his creator understand that. Onwards and upwards to them both.
But I’m afraid it’s just one mushroom. An edited second edition would probably be three or four – and I look forward to it.

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