Thank you very much to Sarah @ Book On The Bright Side and Nathan Parker for providing a copy of the book to [K].
The review below is 100% honest and all of her own views.
If you were searching for answers about the mysterious disappearance of your father, but were warned that pulling at that thread would put you in grave danger… would you pull at it anyway?
A turbulent seaside town holds a dark secret. Terror reigns in the form of drug king pin, Smiler, whose core business is to exploit the vulnerable. Hope is all but non existent.
Tommy Dawson has believed for most of his life that his dad, Timothy, ran out on him when he was just two years old, leaving him to grow up in survival mode with his mum and brother, who had become more focussed on their drug habits than his welfare.
That’s until information comes to light which suggests that his dad’s disappearance isn’t all it seems.
Tommy and his trusted sidekick, Kirsten, embark upon a quest to uncover the truth, taking them to the darkest corners of Granville and uncovering shocking secrets that will reveal the town’s disturbing underbelly.
The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson is a Young Adult fiction, with dark themes that expose sinister secrets. It takes place in a poor, forgotten seaside town in the north of England, called Granville-upon-sea, a place that was once glorious is now rife with drugs and poverty.
The story is a coming of age mystery, following the journey of Tommy, a likeable chap that’s been dealt an unfair hand in life. His mum and brother are addicts and he is left for the most part to fend for himself. The mystery of his father’s whereabouts hadn’t bothered him at all until, bit by bit, information surfaces suggesting maybe his dad didn’t just leave them after all. As the story unfurls, the plot takes a dark turn and Tommy, along with his friends, must face evil head on in order to expose the truth.
“A gritty mystery that’ll knock your socks off! Kept me guessing until the very end.”
“More twists and turns than a rollercoaster ride, the inherent danger keeps you wanting more!”
“Gripping, intense, sinister and mystifying!”
*Please note: story contains occasional explicit language and some adult themes with references to drugs and sexual abuse, but is without graphic detail.
Tommy hasn’t had the best upbringing, his father left the family when he was 2 years old and his mother and brother have devolved into drink and drug use to escape their reality. Despite his homelife he hasn’t followed the same path as either his father or mother, he makes sure he does well as school so he can have better opportunities growing up. But when information on his father appears Tommy cannot resist following up the information to find out why he left all those years ago.
When I received the offer to read and review this book I jumped at the chance as this sounded like a different read to my usual books and I was not disappointed.
I do always enjoy an YA book, but unlike other YA books this is not angsty teens, this is quite dark and gritty, which was a brilliantly different read. Just as I thought I had the storyline worked out, a curveball was thrown and my theories were shattered.
I loved Tommy’s character that despite his situation in life he still wants to better himself rather than join his mum and brother whiling away their days in a alcohol and drug fuelled haze. Kirsten is his best friend and is not afraid to voice her opinion and stand up for herself. I thought the setting of this book was very different as it is set in a run down seaside town, once filled with tourists now unfortunately run down and rife with drugs and crime where Smiler rules on high.
With the way this story ended I cannot wait to pick up book 2 to see what will happen next with Tommy and Kristen.
I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good crime thriller, whether you read YA or not pick this book up!
My name is Nathan Parker, a 32-year-old father of one from Blackpool, Lancashire. I’m recently married to my beautiful wife, Nadina, so beautiful in fact, let’s just say it’s a good job I have my sense of humour to rely on. Family has always been central to my universe, but since becoming a dad I feel as though life makes far more sense than it used to. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Sonny, my son who is 18 months old – watching him develop and learn brings me a joy I never thought was possible. With any luck, one child may become two – or more – as the years go by.
I’m proud of the fact I was born and raised, schooled and now live and work in sunny Blackpool. Despite its perception as a town with challenges – a perception which is accurate on many fronts – in my thirty-two years I have seen and experienced community, resilience, strength and good times in this town.
I am a Youth Worker by trade, graduating from Canterbury Christ Church University with a first-class BA honours degree in Youth Work and Community Learning and Development. For ten plus years I have worked alongside young people experiencing some of life’s toughest challenges and, although now working at a strategic level, I work hard to support and empower the young people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to create their own stories, with informed choices, broadening horizons and challenging inequality within the systems young people are bound.
My journey into writing began officially in 2017 when I was tasked with making a creative pledge to myself, to write it down and tell the workshop within which the task was set – which I’ve since learned meant I was 90% more likely to see it through… sneaky devils!
The pledge I set myself was to write a short story. Fast forward 12 months and I self-published my first novel; The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson, The First Book in the Granville Series. A fictional ‘anytown’ but certainly shaped from my knowledge of Blackpool.
The book enabled me to tell a story which was burning inside me; a tale inspired by personal and professional experiences told with realism through a world of fiction. My writing style is to take real life adversity, emotion and grit and weave it into stories filled with twists and turns, relatable characters and places which feel familiar to most.
I would say I’ve always loved to read, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth. I began my childhood as an avid reader, although it wasn’t the classics which hooked me in – ten year old Nathan was more of a Goosebumps fan. And I still read now; with a common, nightly routine of a few chapters before bed. My current read is Michael Connelly’s The Poet.
However, there was a huge void in my teens. A black hole within which books, reading and writing didn’t feature. School, Sports, Friendships, Hormones, whatever it was, I stopped reading and it wasn’t until my dad encouraged me to read again in my early twenties to help address a sleeping problem that I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird and fell in love with books all over again.
Truth is, I believe if the stories I write were available to fifteen-year-old me, I never would have stopped reading. I needed real life, I needed danger and I needed topical issues which explained life to me – adversity, relationships, risk and reward. This is what I strive for in my writing. I have been privileged in many ways in my life, but I have also seen and experienced challenges which I seek to harness and weave into my writing, so that one day a young reader may pick up my book and find connection, comfort or hope.
My debut novel The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson was shortlisted for Lancashire Book of the Year 2019, a feat which I am so very proud of.
The best part? The book prompted young people – young men in particular – to become passionate about reading. Am I the most qualified, technical writer in the world? Certainly not. But I believe my stories are raw, relatable and real and there is a gap in the young adult fiction market, which needs filling.
I’m currently working on the second book in the series and am enjoying working alongside schools, delivering talks and workshops to students looking at motivating the next generation to pick up a pen, or a book and allow their minds to wander.
You can buy The Disappearance Of Timothy Dawson from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)