Title: The Rip
Author: Mark Brandi
Published: February 26th 2019
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Crime
Rating: 5 stars
THE NEW NOVEL FROM THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WIMMERA.
An urban crime novel that slowly and masterfully hooks you in… then shocks with the horrific crime and the dread that the characters you care about aren’t going to make it out alive.
‘It’s funny how quick it happens and without you really noticing. Anton said once that it’s like walking out into the sea, and you think everything’s fine and the water’s warm, but when you turn back you’re suddenly miles from shore. I’ve never been much of a swimmer, but I get what he means. Like, being caught in a current or something. A rip.’
A young woman living on the street has to keep her wits about her.
Or her friends. But when the drugs kick in that can be hard.
Anton has been looking out for her. She was safe with him. But then Steve came along.
He had something over Anton. Must have. But he had a flat they could crash in. And gear in his pocket. And she can’t stop thinking about it. A good hit makes everything all right.
But the flat smells weird.
There’s a lock on Steve’s bedroom door.
And the guy is intense.
The problem is, sometimes you just don’t know you are in too deep, until you are drowning.
‘I’ve never been much of a swimmer, but I get what he means. Like, being caught in a current or something. A rip.’
The Rip is a book that almost seems like it was begging to be written, and so it should. A recent trip to Perth city for me personally raised my awareness of the growth of those who are homeless, sleeping rough and begging to survive. It is a part of our social world and The Rip goes a long way in addressing the way of life of those who are less fortunate than us. Mark Brandi’s second novel is as powerful as his debut, it will make you squirm in places, it will break your heart, it will make you feel frustrated, angry and perhaps, petition for action.
An urban crime novel situated in contemporary Australia, The Rip follows the life of a young woman who calls the streets her home. With her sidekicks Anton and Sunny the dog, The Rip provides the reader with an insider’s view of surviving in a world governed by hard drugs, sex work, crime and uncertainty. When a figure named Steve begins to manipulate Anton, and the sanctity of a flat makes its welcome entrance, life changes. But soon the flat begins to reveal its hidden secrets. A missing person, drugs, burglary, a locked door and an unusual smell all have a part to play in this turn of circumstances. The truth may be too overwhelming, especially for a young woman who is already in strife.
The Rip is a book that I had listed down as a highly anticipated read of 2019. There is no second novel doubt that follows The Rip. Mark Brandi’s second novel is powerful, astute and firmly rooted in our consciousness. If Mark Brandi’s work hasn’t come your way yet, I highly recommend it. Brandi is up there with the greats. He is an astute writer with a natural aptitude for conveying a convincing story. I found that I was utterly gripped and mesmerized by both his writing and his unfolding story.
There is something about Mark Brandi’s prose that will have you standing to attention. It is commanding, but at the same time it is completely seducing. The Rip is a compact novel and I almost read it in one sitting, it really gets under your skin. Brandi’s writing is to the point and refined. I found that he was able to convey so much about the journey of his main protagonist, with few words. The words Brandi has used in his novel have been carefully selected so that they have full impact on the reader.
The Rip can be confronting. Street life, homelessness, begging, underground sex work and drug abuse are all facts of contemporary Australian society. However, I feel many will be of a similar feeling to me, we tend to sweep these issues under the carpet. Mark Brandi is a fearless writer, he has tackled a subject area and a set of issues that should be addressed. The Rip definitely placed me in a position I didn’t feel comfortable in at all, but the awareness raising was important. Brandi’s approach is never preachy and he doesn’t have an agenda, he simply tells it as it is, in a completely compelling manner.
Dubbed as an urban crime novel, there is a fantastic crime based mystery that underpins The Rip. Brandi is the master of suspense and intrigue. He had me up in arms, concocting all sorts of scenarios involving the seedy Steve, his locked room, the abandoned flat and the missing flat owner. When all the cogs fall into place, it is quite an explosive fallout. I liked the way Brandi tied up his second novel. Without spoiling it, I believe although this is a bleak novel, there are many messages of hope that can be drawn from The Rip.
A book of paramount importance, The Rip offers a skilled commentary on street life, an insight into a horrendous crime and it examines the fate of one woman caught up in a desperate fight to keep her head above the water. Don’t let The Rip pass you by.
The Rip by Mark Brandi is published by Hachette Australia. Out now. $29.99
To learn more about the author of The Rip, Mark Brandi, visit here.
*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.
*Book #3 of the 2019 Aussie male author challenge.