Julie Morrigan’s writing gives you a good smack, as anyone who has read Gone Bad,her brilliant, brass knuckled collection of urban noir short stories, will tell you.
In her cracking debut novel, Convictions, she gives you a hell of a kicking, knees you in the gonads and then tears out a bit of your heart.
Convictions is a crime novel. A police procedural, after a fashion. But most of all it’s a story about ordinary people coping. Coping with a crime. The victims of crime and all of the crime’s offshoots.
The heart of the story is Tina, a twelve year old kid who secretly goes to see a boy band with her younger sister. She misses the last bus home and accepts a lift from a friendly stranger.
And then it all goes pear shaped as quickly as spit melts on hot pavement.
Morrigan paces and structures Convictions brilliantly; there are three parts,containing twenty short-sharp chapters, spanning Tina’s painful transition from a child to a woman.
Tina is very well drawn and there are other strong characters too such as Ruth, the hard-nosed and warm hearted cop, Tina’s excruciating mother –proof that Larkin was right – and a toxic, manipulative chancer that pretends to be Tina’s friend.
Convictions by Julie Morrigan is a pulse pounding thriller with its feet on the ground and it’s its big heart peeking out from under its ragged, bloody sleeve.