Today it is my pleasure to share my thoughts on The Beresford, the brand new, truly twisted tale from Mr Will Carver. Now I have loved reading his (very loosely linked and not really a series) Sergeant Pace series, loved the darkness and the complete and utter midnf*ckery of them all, so I have been looking forward to tucking into this latest offering. From the blurb it sounded just as original as ever. My thanks to the lovely Orenda Books as always for furnishing me with an early copy. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
Everything stays the same for the tenants of The Beresford, a grand old apartment building just outside the city … until the doorbell rings… Will Carver returns with an eerie, deliciously and uncomfortably dark standalone thriller.
Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.
There’s a routine at The Beresford.
For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.
Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate, Sythe, no longer does. Because Abe just killed him.
In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers.
And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.
Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…
Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.
Yep. Just as I suspected. Unique, twisted, occasionally acerbic, darkly humorous, fresh, and packed with astute observations and a touch (a lot) of insanity, this really hit the spot. This may be a break away from the series that I have come to know and love, but it’s not so great a side step, with the hallmarks of classic Will Carver wrapped up in a story which will make you laugh, just as much as it will have you gurning into your cornflakes (or any other food or beverage you may have at hand as you read).
This is the story of The Beresford, an apartment building on the edge of a nondescript, undefined city that could be. any city in the world. It is home to Mrs May, Abe and the artist formerly known as Sythe. I say formerly known as because he’s not going to be known as anything much from here on in. Not in his current … condition. It’s fair to say that the opening to this book, whilst not entirely unexpected if you have read the blurb, is certainly memorable, and really does set the tone for the rest of the book. For in this book we meet characters for often the shortest time, and just as we get to know them they are … moving on. In one way or another. You see there is just something about The Beresford that eventually makes people act out of character. Do things they wouldn’t countenance. They kind of have to really. It’s in the small print on their lease … 60 seconds. Not long to cover up the greatest mistake of your life now, is it?
It’s really hard to talk much about the book without giving too much away. I would just say go into it expecting the unexpected. Although if you’ve read Hinton Hollow Death Trip then nothing should really ever be unexpected in Will Carver’s world. In spite of myself, and in spite of what they did, or didn’t, do, I found myself really liking the characters within the book. Mrs May is a rather unusual landlady. She prays hard for her tenants. Perhaps a little too hard. She is everywhere and knows everything that goes on, and she is a creature of routine, but despite the evidence about her characters, she grew on me. Abe bless him. What a quandary he finds himself in. With a nod to one of Mr Carver’s earlier books that will make people in the know smile just a little, his actions may be suspect, his behaviour not making him the ideal neighbour, but he was strangely likeable too. And then there is soon to be tenant, Gail. The circumstances that bring her to seek refuge in that most unusual of apartments are shocking, kind of brutal, but. completely believable and portrayed with a kind of sensitivity to that stark nature of it all that it gets you on side with her from the minute we meet her. And keeps you on her side right to the very shocking conclusion.
This book brought about every kind of reaction from me. From laughter, to grimacing at some of the more gruesome moments, to the knowing smile and nod as some of the regular Carverisms play out. The book is laced with pithy observations, that almost expected blunt and straight talking style which highlights the hypocrisy of modern life, showing how it feeds into the very nature of The Beresford itself and all that the building, and events within it, represent. Everything about the building screams that it is too good to be true, the absolute fact of it coming when Abe takes his new neighbour, Blair, to visit some of the upper floors of the ‘other part’ of the tower block. You get that nightmarish Shining-esque vision that instills a kind of chill in the spine, whilst confirming your suspicion that something dark and disturbing is lurking in the shadows, lulling our characters into a false sense of security with the charming, library toting facade of their own humble apartments.
If you love Will Carver’s Sargeant Pace books you are going to love this one too. it may not been quite as dark as some of the others have been, maybe not quite as shocking, but it has a fair quota of murderous and horror filled scenes that will make the bloody thirsty chuckle and the squeamish … well, shudder I guess. Not a sentiment I know much about to be fair. But most of all, it’s made me smile. There is kind of a twisted, madcap logic to it all that kept me hooked right to the very last page. Definitely recommended.
Still not managed to put me off the humble bacon butty though. Sorry – not sorry.
About the Author
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.
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Books by Will Carver