Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Approximate word count: 90-95,000 words
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Ryan Bracha started out in film, writing and directing his first feature. He wrote the follow up whilst living in Paris. More recently, Ryan turned to novels, Tomorrow’s Chip Paper is his second outing. His debut novel, Strangers Are Just Friends You Haven’t Killed Yet, was three years in the making. He lives in Yorkshire with his wife and a cat.
Tom and Jess are touring Europe, living on their ill-gotten gains, hoping they’ve escaped their past. Unfortunately, they’re being tailed by inept hitman Rufus, who’s waiting for his employer to finish the two off.
Back in the UK Will Thunder, half of highly successful prime time TV entertainers Thunder & Lightning, finds himself the star of a media circus. He’s accused of being a paedophile, rapist, and murderer by a masked woman who’s holding him hostage and televising his torture to the whole world. In a twist for today’s social media world, she allows the public to vote on his fate and if the vigilante doesn’t kill him, the baying mob outside will.
Tomorrow’s Chip Paper (TCP) is a step on from Bracha’s (different) debut novel Strangers… The latter drew together a mind bogglingly large character list and plot lines to a conclusion whereas the former is an altogether more focused affair. Instead managing two main story arcs – that of Tom and Jess being hunted by vengeful Ada, and the Will Thunder subplot. That being said, Bracha again attempts an ambitious endeavor - including parallel plot lines with timing differences (i.e. jumps between present and future) and two first person narratives.
The characterization is probably the strongest point about Bracha’s writing. Down to earth Tom (my favourite character from Strangers…), upmarket Jess, and Cristiano being pursued by murderous Ada who I was already familiar with. They contrast each other with their behaviours, leading to some interesting parallels. The additions – crazy Liezel, who likes to apply the ‘what goes around, comes around’ principle to her victims, and inept hitman Rufus add further colour.
TCP also takes an interesting slant on today’s celeb-obsessed world, post Jimmy Saville (if you don’t know who he is, try Google, you’ll soon learn) ended with an excellent twist that I didn’t see coming.
Like Strangers… you’ll either love or hate Tomorrow’s Chip Paper which, frankly, is the author’s aim. There are several aspects to take into account when making a decision on whether to pick it up or not. First, is whether or not you mind suspending a degree of belief (I’m thinking of films such as Die Hard or Lethal Weapon) for entertainment purposes. Second is if a heavy application of swearing isn’t your thing, steer clear.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed TCP. It’s a bonkers, mad, and funny ride that I was very happy to go along with.
Significant use of adult language.
Early review copy meant some typo’s and punctuation issues. The author states these will have been fixed come launch day.
Rating: ***** Five Stars