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Wednesday 11 May 2016

‘Fellside ‘ by M.R. Carey

Published by Little Brown,
7 April 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-356-50358-5

I have been waiting for M.R.Carey’s new book since I fell in love with his first, The Girl With All the Gifts, which is set in a dystopian world - a fantastic horror story and a brilliant read. Fellside is as wonderful, but completely different, almost genre-defying. It is dark, haunting with elements of a ghost story.

Fellside itself is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, and it is where Jess Moulson is taken after being found guilty of the murder of a young boy, Alex Beech. High on heroin, Jess set a fire in which Alex died and she was severely burnt.

While in the prison, Jess encounters a ghost-like figure that offers her hope, and perhaps, redemption. The story is told in short, sharp chapters from several different points of view, though you never lose sight of the fact that this is Jess’s story. And how well M.R. Carey makes us care about a murderer and drug addict. She is a conflicted woman, but you root for her all the way. The writing is clear, to-the-point, the language spare and simple.

M.R. Carey depicts the violence and corruption in the prison with forensic detail. It is a setting that is strong and well-developed, eerie and claustrophobic, and his characters – good and evil – are well-drawn and three-dimensional.  Sociopathic Harriet Grace is the inmate that rules, operating a lucrative drugs ring within the prison, Dennis Devlin the corrupt guard. Liz Earnshaw, Grace’s henchwoman. There is the weak doctor, ‘Sally’ Salazar. We learn about the inmates and their hierarchy, and the prison officers and their relationships.

Fellside is a book that creeps up on you without you realising it, gradually drawing all the threads together until you are racing towards the end. It is intense, full of raw emotion. It blurs the lines between good and evil. It stays with you long after the end.
Reviewer: Mary-Jane Riley

M. R. Carey is an established British writer of prose fiction. His previous novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is soon to be a major motion picture. Under the name Mike Carey, he has also written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel's flagship superhero titles. His creator-owned books regularly appear in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels and one Hollywood movie screenplay to his credit.

Mary-Jane Riley wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter. She was eight. It was about a gang of children who had adventures on mysterious islands, but she soon realised Enid Blyton had cornered that particular market. So she wrote about the Wild West instead. When she grew up she had to earn a living, and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades.
Then, in true journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message across using their life stories. Now she is writing psychological suspense, drawing on her experiences in journalism.
The Bad Things by Mary-Jane Riley was published by Harper Collins/Killer Reads. Her second book, After She Fell, also published by Killer Reads, is out on April 28th.
In her spare time Mary-Jane likes to walk the dog and eat a lot. Good job she likes walking.

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