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Piggy Monk Square – Book Reviews

A GRIPPING HISTORICAL BRITISH CRIME THRILLER

TOLD BY A YOUNG GIRL WITH A TERRIFYING SECRET

A policeman lies badly injured in a Liverpool inner city cellar. Only two little girls know where he is but they’re too scared to tell. Time is running out for the policeman. Will the girls get help before it’s too late?

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WILLY RUSSELL

‘A stunningly well-written novel. I didn’t want it to end. Tense, joyous, terrifying, comic, tender, magic and tragic – just like childhood itself.’ 

FRANK COTTRELL  BOYCE

‘Piggy Monk Square is unbearably tense and utterly believable. The voice of its young heroine is so beguiling and convincing that you feel that you’ve met her. And then the story forces you to share her terrible secret. Like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle: illuminating and satisfying.’

RACHEL HORE – THE GUARDIAN

‘Nine-year-old Rebecca, chirpy as her nickname, “Sparra”, is the lively narrator of this disturbing child’s-eye view of 1970s Toxteth, over which the spectres of poverty and police brutality hang. Her mum and dad quarrel and she hates school, where the sadistic Mr. Shelby hits her for misdemeanors. Sparra and her friend Debbie get their kicks roaming the streets, fighting their arch-enemies Uffo and Lippo, laughing at the drunken antics of crazy Harold and his wife with their dead baby’s pram, and running from the man they call Stabber the psycho-killer. Their favourite place is the cellar of a bombed-out house in Piggy Monk Square, but that is spoilt when a scary cop warns them away. The tables are turned when the cop falls into the cellar and lies there injured. The real punch of this slice-of-life tale comes from the appalling isolation of Sparra’s childhood. Grown-ups don’t listen to the likes of Sparra. The punch leaves you gasping.’

LAURENCE PHELAN – INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

‘Capturing the vividness of childhood and the exuberant cadence of Liverpudlian childhood slang. It’s a subtle but compulsively readable novel, combining the bittersweet provincial nostalgia of, say, Meera Syal’s Anita and Me, with a dark and subversive parable that has echoes of Whistle down the Wind.’

MIKE CHAPPLE – DAILY POST

‘A gripping, intriguing page-turner which bears testimony to the craft of Jolliffe…One of its most appealing facets is the authentic use of language which at times mirrors the first person appear of the autistic teenager in Mark Haddon’s ‘The Curious Incident Of the Dog in the Night Time. Grace’s Liverpool childhood has helped her create a truly believable character in her book. It’s also laced with some wry scouse humour too.’

MARIA ROSS – PUBLISHING NEWS

‘Within a very few pages this novel draws you in. Piggy Monk Square deserves success and would certainly make a great film.’

KEN TAYLOR – NERVE MAGAZINE

A tight and tensely written story that captures well the imagination of children as well as the confusion and alienation that is so often a part of growing up, trying to follow the rules of the adult world when they keep changing. An excellent debut novel.’

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