The Swap

February 20, 2009

The Swap by Antony Moore

It didn’t mean much to him. He pitied the kid, the one everyone (including himself bullied and picked on. Bleeder Odd the called him. Besides, it was only a comic; whereas Bleeder’s length of plastic could chop down grass.

However now it’s twenty years later, and Harvey will never forget that day. The day he swapped away a mint condition Superman One. A comic now worth over 200,000 pounds. The irony that he now owns a comic book shop doesn’t escape him, and the “what ifs” plague his thoughts….what if he hadn’t swapped? What if Bleeder still had it? Or, even worse, what if Bleeder had just thrown it away?

With his twenty year high school reunion coming up, Harvey decides that if Bleeder shows up at the reunion, he could maybe find a way to tactfully inquire about the comic. Make it sound nostalgic, like a random remembrance, rather than something he has thought about everyday for twenty years. Maybe if the comic still exists, Harvey could even get Bleeder to swap it back to him.

However, things quickly spiral out of control for Harvey. After talking with Bleeder (who is no longer a scrawny, bullied kid but a well off man called by his proper name of Charles), Harvey is convinces himself that the Superman One still exists. Thinking that he may find it at Bleeder’s old house, he decided to break in and look for it and finds more than he bargained for.

Part murder mystery, part boyhood nostalga,The Swap is a darkly comic (no pun intended), centering on an elusive “white whale”…in this case Superman One.



February 5, 2009

Darkside by Tom Becker

“The darkening son, I can feel the darkening…”

Jonathan Starling is used to being on his own, going unnoticed by almost everyone around him. His mother disappeared before he was old enough to remember her and his father, Alain, spends the majority of his time locked away in his study, suffering periodic episodes, claiming he can feel “the darkening” that is coming. With only his neighbor Mrs. Elwood to keep an eye on him, London is Jonathan’s playground.

One night, while alone in his house after another one of his father’s breakdowns, Jonathan hears an intruder downstairs. He runs hiding in his father’s study barricading the door while something scratches violently trying to get in. The next day at the library he is almost kidnapped by a strange woman and two sinister looking men.

When Alain hears of these events sends his son to seek out Carnegie, the only one who would be able to protect him. However, Carnegie lives in a part of London that most people have never noticed…and are better off for it. Called Darkside, it is home to the city’s most dangerous and undesirable people and creatures, none of whom should ever be trusted. With people who will stop at nothing to capture him, will Jonathan be able to find safety a place like Darkside? And more importantly, exactly who is after him?

This is a great book for fans of Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak series. Becker has created a spine chilling world, filled with things that go bump in the night. Originally published in England, Darkside is the first in a series; the sequel Lifeblood is also currently available.