Friday, 1 March 2013

Man or Mouse by Mark Dark

Man or Mouse by Mark Dark

I'd seen the name of Mark Dark in various online places, good things being said about him. I investigated a little further, and noted a short story of his - Man or Mouse - had won a Short Fiction Prize. So off I went with my 77p, and downloaded said story . . .
The Blurb
A young man, desperately searching for a father figure, is taken under the wing of a notorious gangster, the boss of a violent gang of vigilantes. But when he’s put to the test to prove his loyalty and his sonship, will he have what it takes, or will it all go horribly wrong ? 

First Paragraph
As I enters The King's Head two medics barges past me carrying a stretcher. It's hard to see who's on it he's so cut-up with blood. Bits of glass stuck in his face blinks blue in the light. 
The Review
Written in the vernacular of Dark's native Bristol, Man or Mouse is Brit Grit from a quarter I'd not encountered before. I've read plenty from Newcastle, Scotland, Manchester, Hull, and even Mangle - a fictional West Country town from the pen of the brilliant Charlie Williams. But Bristol Brit Grit is something new for me, but Brit Grit it certainly is.
Man or Mouse features an unnamed narrator's initiation into a London gang. The three other characters - Jim, Trippy, and Dogface - play very different, but very subtle roles in the narrative - each relating to the narrator on a slightly different level. Our narrator is a young lad, desperately searching to fill a void, to mean something, to belong. And when a young lad is in that dark place, he'll do most anything.

Or will he . . .

Man or Mouse is up there with the very best Brit Grit I have read. Rarely have I read prose so direct, so stark. So brilliantly exposing.

Mark Dark is certainly a name to watch.

Great stuff.

Man or Mouse is available to download in the UK here and in the US here

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