The Killing Jar

Nicola Monaghan, Author . Scribner $24 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9968-8

The thrills and horrors of life as a young drug dealer play out against a backdrop of suburban decay in Monaghan's sharp-edged debut. The narrator, Kerrie-Ann, nicknamed "Kez," lives in Nottingham public housing with her heroin-addicted mother. By the age of 10, Kez is working as a drug courier for her mother's dealer boyfriend. By 13, she's had an abortion and is dropping Ecstasy; when her mother leaves, she's making enough money on her own to take care of her younger brother, Jon, and to save money for a better life. In the meantime, she shacks up with another dealer, Mark, whose tenderness transforms into violent possessiveness as his heroin addiction gets the better of him. Though Kez's lifestyle involves her with crimes worse than dealing drugs, her principled discipline and vulnerability are what make the reader root for her. Monaghan writes in a heavy but readable dialect ("any normal gell'd of talked to her mam about it"; and a liberal spattering of "owt," "summat" and "wi") that fans of Irvine Welsh will recognize. This novel could have easily fallen into clichés of juvenile delinquency and teenage disaffection, but the stark material and unsentimental prose make for a wrenching look at devotion, crime and violence. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-09-949687-8
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4165-3963-6
Paperback - 284 pages - 978-0-7011-7983-0
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4464-6680-3
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-7432-9970-1
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