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Book Review: Running Hot by Dreda Say Mitchell

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DSM Running Hot
My Rating: 4/5

I only recently discovered Dreda Say Mitchell and was blown away with her two latest books Geezer Girls and Gangster Girls. I decided to buy her other two books and pre-order her newest which is due for release in March 2011. This book Running Hot was her debut novel which was published in 2004.

When the book arrived I was surprised to see it was a little shorter that the other two at just over 300 pages. I liked the sound of the write up on the jacket and was really looking forward to this one.

The book doesn't take long to get in to but the only thing that is a vast difference to her others is the setting of this one. Set in Hackney in London we meet people from `the street' and what goes with that is the way they talk. I worked in South East London for over 8 years so had no problem deciphering what the street lingo was but some people may struggle at times. To give you an example the word `ting' is used for `thing' so if you struggle with language written the way it is spoken on the street you may not be a fan.

However, this was no issue for me and I found myself being drawn into the world of Schoolboy. In actual fact I think the way the language is written makes it more urban and gritty and takes a lot less time and imagination to really get a feel for what life is like in that part of Hackney for Schoolboy.

When he discovers the phone at the very beginning, we also see excerpts from the people that are hunting the phone, and they are not happy people! The whole story is based on what on earth Schoolboy can do to get rid of the phone that everybody seems to want and at the same time get the case he so desperately needs to start afresh.

The one thing I really liked is the fact that this story and style was completely different to her other books and it makes it all the more interesting. If I was being completely honest I would have to say I prefer her newer stuff but this was still a great book. You get the impression that the descriptions and scenarios that play out sometimes are not that far from the truth of some of London's more shady areas. We meet other characters along the way, and the most memorable would be `Queen' who quite frankly would not be somebody I would want to get on the wrong side of. There are other people who pay a part in Schoolboy's life but to be honest the book focuses solely on his dilemma and the highs and lows of his life.

I liked the ending and finished the book thinking that I had read something a little bit different. Like I said I couldn't compare it to her newer stuff as they are exceptional but this is still a great read and definitely something fresh and new as far as writing goes.

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