Blowback is an interesting, challenging read. In it we have a family of hard working lobstermen who struggle with all the normal challenges of tough jobs, low incomes, overcrowded living space and family expectations which we will all recognise.
The characters are strong, well drawn, gritty, realistic.
There is a large cast of family and friends centred around Meghan, her girlfriend Lauren and brother Scott. Sub-plots revolve around many, but central is the relationship between Meghan and Lauren, fighting to breathe under the weight of responsibilities and the crush of bodies in the house. Meghan and Scott’s relationship is also complex, older sister, mentor, carer, replacement mother for a man whose father undermines him at every step.
Interwoven is the backdrop of Maine, fishery, cafe, small town living that many will recognise. The sights and sounds, smells and textures of a tough life lived by careworn people. Cafe owner Midge and the older lobstermen represent lives spent in hard labour and lived out in a cafe and at the bar which form a focal core of the community.
But all of these elements are secondary in importance to the central figure of the novel. A Glock 9mm called WM. WM opens the story and closes it. WM is the driver, the actor and the focal point of the tale. For without the gun this would not be a story. It is impossible to explain the tragedy without spoiling, but suffice it to say that WM has a large part to play.
The polarisation of American opinions on gun ownership is obvious and complete. What Bev Prescott has tried to do is show how good people with the best of intentions can end up in the most tragic of circumstances despite being good, sensible, caring gun owners. She has presented characters who are for and against and is asking the reader to consider the consequences. A brave position which will, no doubt, garner some anger.
But what the book should do is make you think, question, discuss. And I suspect that is the highest compliment Ms Prescott would ask for.
(publisher review copy received)