I apologise to all my gripped fans, for making you go “cold turkey” for so long. The dry spell shall be broken right now. Recently, a friend asked me to review his book- Blood Donors.
The story takes place in a ‘scuzzie’ tower block (The Finger) where fifteen year old Marshall O’Connor lives with his mum and little brother. His father is in prison for murder, and because of this troubled family situation, Marshall suffers from anger management issues, and regularly lashes out at those who irritate him. It soon becomes apparent that ‘The Finger’ has an infestation of over grown bed-bugs, and a chain of suspicious deaths arouse Marshall and his friends’ suspicions that these bugs are more dangerous than they thought.
I’ll start by saying that Blood Donors is not the sort of book I would usually read. The strongly “regional” voice of the narrator and protagonist is not to my liking and not always necessary. However, I deeply respect the book and its author (Steve Tasane) because its message is decent, truthful and very important. Above all, Blood Donors teaches us to treat everyone equally, and not to treat deprived people as demons to be vanquished. The metaphor of a truly horrific bug infestation brilliantly captures the terrible situation of welfare-dependant people. Tasane perfectly portrays the overwhelming impression of filth and drudgery which frames his protagonist’s life.
The hypocrisy and criminal idiocy of the Coalition Government is more than adequately embodied in ‘Compo’, the over weight, over bearing, community police officer ‘busybody’ who makes a hobby of judging Marshall and his friends. In this way too, Blood Donors is a necessary message, especially as this book is aimed at fourteen to fifteen year-olds. Apart from anything else, Blood Donors is a scary book, which only serves to highlight its message more sharply.
Readers who enjoyed Dead Jealous by Poppy Sinclair or In Bloom by Matthew Crow will enjoy this book. It’s essentially a teenage horror which vividly describes the important things in life. It was a pleasure to read.
Steve Tasane’s WordPress blog can be found here, which includes an extract from the book.