Shiny Coin Final

‘…it’s all about the writing as art.’

This is a love story… this is what it says at the beginning of Shiny Coin but if you’re looking for hearts and flowers, tears and romance, walk on by, because this is not one of those. This is the other sort. This is the type of love story that tortures breaking hearts, the type of love story that can’t ever be, and that happens in real lives only too often.

Because this is what Barry writes, real lives. His characters, and their interactions with each other, are honest and totally believable, even when they do things we could never imagine. Nothing is shied away from and while we love the rapport shown between some of his people, the faults, failings and weaknesses of all are viscerally depicted on the page.

Carol has moved back to Wheatley Fields following the death of her father. I imagined her as glamorously gothic and totally cool, but her fabulous hair, makeup and clothes make her an oddity in the conservative passages of her home town. She gets a job at the book shop working for the older and wizardly wise Steve and they hit it off, becoming friends as well as work colleagues.

One day there’s an altercation between the odious Toby and Steve, when the former tries to buy a comic, and it is this that is the catalyst for the shocking events that unfold.

While Steve bears the brunt of what is to come Carol knows it is not aimed at him, because following a terrible betrayal when she was last home she has returned with a plan for revenge, and it’s one she’s determined to see through.

Readers familiar with Barry’s work will recognise references such as the Arkwright Trust from The Night Porter, The Jacket, a short story in Punk Rocker, and Carla, of course, as this is its loose sequel. There’s a brief cameo by Mark himself as the writer in Wheatley Fields the setting for many of his novels.

I enjoy reading Barry’s work in total silence and ideally in the dark, my screen the only illumination. I don’t like there to be anything to distract me from the precision of his words, the fabulous one liners and flowing passages, and throughout, the observational wit. This read was to be no exception, and it really is that cliché of all things, a page-turner, because you simply have to find out what is going to happen.

This is no boy meets girl romance but Barry is right, this is a love story, albeit a deeply saddening one which he makes you feel, all the way to its end. Because when you take away everything else there is only one thing left, hope, and I was left hanging on to that. A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice made me shed tears, and when a book does that to me I know it is truly special.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Spread the love
10 Responses to #Bookreview for A Shiny Coin for Carol Prentice by Mark Barry @GreenWizard62 #psychological #suspense
  1. Georgia, thank you for this. It’s really appreciated. You live in a lovely small town, I know, and it’s not always sweetness and light, especially if you are an outsider, so someone like Carol can be seen, as you say, as an oddity.

    I do love her clothes – I’m a big fan of goth girls, not that I know that many. I particularly like the scarlet and crimson bridesmaid’s dress she wearing when she reveals the Plan to Steve, the one with all the layers.

    Your continued support of my writing is appreciated, Georgia. Thank you.

    Marky x

  2. Loved all Carol’s clothes!!!!!

    I used to live in a small town (Cromer), and know so well that ‘you’re in or you’re out’ thing – I loved the atmosphere of the community at first, liked it less later. Great review, G/M, and may I say how awesome it is to have a new Mark Barry to read!

    • Thanks for jumping through all those totally unawesome hoops to be able to comment here T, it’s much appreciated 🙂 I would have loved to have worn Carol’s clothes, but would never have had the nerve. And I agree, a new Mark Barry out always makes it a great day 😀

  3. Great review. I downloaded this book last week, and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

    • Thanks Wendy, and I’m delighted you have this book waiting for you though I’m also a little envious that you still have it in your future – I hope that makes sense and that when you get to it you enjoy it 🙂

  4. Wow G a fabulous review and I’m really looking forward to this one 😀

  5. You wrote up a gorgeous review for a gorgeous book Georgia. Enjoyed reading your point of view. Great job. Fun book. Even with the stress. Haha.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *