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What They Do in the Dark

by Amanda Coe

This portrayal of a 1970’s northern English childhood is spot on for period detail, but is no cosy trip down memory lane. Two pre-adolescent girls from very different backgrounds, but each damaged by parental neglect, bond in an unlikely and unholy alliance resulting in unspeakable horror. Not a feel-good read, but a compulsive one, which will leave a profound and lasting impression if you are prepared to leave your emotional comfort zone.

Extract

No one bothered with the papers at Adelaide Road, a world already chaotic enough with event and titillation. The TV was usually on, but the news came and went, so it wasn't until coppers visited the house that anyone knew. Dave's mate Black Baz had knocked off a lorry depot the previous night, and there was celebratory cider and weed: they'd given Gary some of the weed, and it had sent him a bit mental, in a hilarious way. Pauline herself had got the giggles, Nan passed out. It was the closest they came to a party, although there wasn't a record player, so they'd put the TV on top volume instead for atmosphere.

Parallels

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Amanniti
 

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