We reviewers often say how difficult it is to write a review. Believe me, before Will Carver’s latest novel, I didn’t really understand the meaning of those words!
Title: Nothing Important Happened Today
Author: Will Carver
Date of publication: Ebook 14 September 2019 / Paperback 14 November 2019
Publisher: Orenda Books
Format: Advanced Reader Copy
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today. That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another. Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller, Nothing Important Happened Today confirms Will Carver as one of the most extraordinary, exciting authors in crime fiction.
Nothing Important Happened Today.
When Will Carver wrote this line inside my copy of his previous book during a signing at Bloody Scotland, I had no idea this simple sentence would later forever bear a completely different meaning.
Take the rules agreed upon to write a thriller. Look at them. They work, we know they do. Usually, those ideas and scenarios comfort me because I am in familiar territories. I don’t mind authors following patterns. I recognize the roads, I hear the usual cracks under my feet… Until an author throws me in the boot of his car and hits the freeway. That is what Will Carver did.
Forget the rules. Forget the genres. Nothing Important Happened Today blends categories and rules. It erases the walls of thrillers, mysteries, and societal explorations. It just blew my mind.
To be honest, after finishing the novel, my review was simple.
‘What the Hell…’
I had no idea what to make of everything I had just read. Not because it didn’t make sense. On the contrary, every word rang so true it was scary. -insert here completely unprofessional and swear words expressing just how my brain had turned to mush-
Right from the beginning, there is a coldness oozing from the pages. It doesn’t come from a lacking of emotions or a badly orchestrated narration. It comes from our world. Because what Will Carver does is freaking brilliant (I’m pretty sure I’ve always been much more polite in my reviews. Not sorry, this book is freaking brilliant anyway!!!)
Will Carver takes the colors of our world. He lifts his virtual pen before cracking the universe with blackish-grey words that form a reality so close to ours you can hear it breathe.
‘People want a way out their lives; they want it to be simple.’
Strangers die together, but never have they been more alone.
People stare. Headlines strike. Life goes on. But so do the deaths.
Why? How? I almost didn’t have time for those usual questions as my body was too busy shivering at the hard truths splashed on the pages. My brain was numbed by the desire to follow one chapter after the other, to blend in with the characters, the nameless faces, the deafeningly silent crowd.
I won’t say I enjoyed reading Nothing Important Happened Today. I didn’t. I felt unsettled. I was upset. It even got me thinking so hard that sadness opened its door and welcomed me at some point. But isn’t it what books are for? To force us to take a good look at ourselves and our surroundings, and to ask: what if it really happened? Why would it happen?
This fiction doesn’t feel like fiction. Yes, this is a thriller. Last breaths are taken. Yes, there is a mystery. Who is behind those suicides? But above all, Nothing Important Happened Today is a literary and dark take on modern life. An outstanding testimony of the state we live in. Will Carver has many weapons at hand – social media, mental health, taglines, family, routine, hopes and fears, all of the things plaguing us, and one person holds a needle to make all that sound stop.
The detachment used in the novel helped me get closer to the characters, to the difficult paths each of us have to walk. I can’t explain what happened, but I feel as if the words making up this book are tattooed on me.
The ending left me dead. Completely numb! It is deliciously twisted and wickedly fascinating.
‘Love and fear can feel similar, but they are not the same.’
If you are looking for a book that will make you forget you are reading, if you are looking for the book of the year, if you are looking for art in its purest and most evil form, if you are looking for a dip in a pool of ice, you have come to the right place. I can’t recommend Nothing Important Happened Today enough!
Ps: Dear author, thank you for featuring my university, Bordeaux Montaigne. Now I feel I’m a a tiny grain of the paper on which this amazing piece of fiction is printed on! For better or for worse!
What are you waiting for? Get your copy now!
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritanswas book of the year in The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.
(Picture from Capital Crime, September 2019)