About the Book:
An urban crime novel that slowly and masterfully hooks you in… then shocks with the horrific crime and the dread that the characters you care about aren’t going to make it out alive.
‘It’s funny how quick it happens and without you really noticing. Anton said once that it’s like walking out into the sea, and you think everything’s fine and the water’s warm, but when you turn back you’re suddenly miles from shore. I’ve never been much of a swimmer, but I get what he means. Like, being caught in a current or something. A rip.’
A young woman living on the street has to keep her wits about her.
Or her friends. But when the drugs kick in that can be hard.
Anton has been looking out for her. She was safe with him. But then Steve came along.
He had something over Anton. Must have. But he had a flat they could crash in. And gear in his pocket. And she can’t stop thinking about it. A good hit makes everything all right.
But the flat smells weird.
There’s a lock on Steve’s bedroom door.
And the guy is intense.
The problem is, sometimes you just don’t know you are in too deep, until you are drowning.
‘People can surprise you sometimes, but not usually. Most of the time, people act exactly as you’d expect.’
Having not read Wimmera, I had no preconceived notions of what to expect from Mark Brandi, although, perusing reviews of The Rip by readers who have read both of his novels tells me that he’s rather mercurial, in that these two novels are quite different to each other. He’s certainly a talent that I am keen to watch out for and I’ll be digging Wimmera out from the depths of my TBR sooner rather than later. He has a clean edge to his writing, his narrative is pared right back to the bone, but every word has impact. The rawness of this story really hit me hard and fast, his message rang clear and true.
The Rip is a novel about homelessness and addiction, about people who have felt the sharp edges of life and become tangled in too deep. It’s also about loyalty, and reaching out to other people, no matter how many times they say no. And it’s about vulnerability, how incredibly vulnerable young people are when they are addicted to drugs and live on the streets. It’s this vulnerability that has remained with me, etching itself into my consciousness. We think we know all about predators, but what we know, from our cosy homes with locking doors and safely tucked up children is nothing compared to what street kids face. That’s the powerful punch this novel packs, you think you know the story, but then the story actually shows itself to you, in all its glory, and you want to look away but you can’t.
Dani, our protagonist, was a girl I wanted to both shake and hug in equal measure. She was held within the grasp of heroine so tightly, but she’d give her money away to another homeless man who she deemed worse off than herself. She slept on the streets instead of in shelters because she’d adopted a dog and wouldn’t part from him. She was loyal to her best friend, to the point of endangering herself. And because of her addiction, she couldn’t process just how much her life was at risk; she could sense it, but not fully realise and translate those feelings of fear into action. Dani is the product of a welfare system that has let down the kids who depend upon it. When you read between the lines of her story, it’s a shameful, awful thing to contemplate that some children may in fact be safer on the streets than placed in foster homes. And that’s saying something.
The Rip was an edge of your seat read and I couldn’t put it down, I read it straight through in one evening. It really is a novel for our times. Highly recommended.
‘That’s the thing – when you’re on the street, it’s important not to be too conspicuous, to make yourself disappear a bit. Because if you get in the way of what normal people are doing, that’s when you get into trouble. But if you’re just in the background, an inconvenience, or a bit of an eyesore, it’s not so bad. People can live with that. Mostly.’
Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of The Rip for review.
About the Author:
Mark Brandi’s bestselling novel, Wimmera, won the coveted British Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger, and was named Best Debut at the 2018 Australian Indie Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year, and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year. His second novel, The Rip, is to be published by Hachette Australia in March 2019. It is already receiving critical acclaim.
Mark’s shorter work has appeared in The Guardian, The Age, The Big Issue, and in journals both here and overseas. His writing is also sometimes heard on ABC Radio National.
Mark graduated with a criminal justice degree and worked extensively in the justice system, before changing direction and deciding to write. Originally from Italy, he grew up in rural Victoria. Mark now lives in Melbourne and is already working on his next work of fiction.
Published by Hachette Australia
Released on 26th February 2019