This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
14.11.19 / Psychological Crime / Orenda Books / Paperback / 276pp / 978-1912374830
Target Audience: Readers looking for radical and unusual novels that get you far out of your comfort zone.
About Nothing Important Happened Today
Nine suicides. One Cult. No leader
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 Review
I think it is fair to say that, in 2019, it can be difficult to truly catch a reader off their guard. It takes a unique perspective, a radical idea and excellent writing such as Will Carver’s to really turn people’s heads and leave a noticeable mark on their conscience. It’s one thing to glance at a tabloid and feel a moments guilt about what’s happening all around us but it’s certainly another to be slapped in the face with sobering realities and brutal honesty that shines a light on the problematic behaviours encouraged by social media and new age impulses and provokes a re-evaluation of our mindsets.
Nothing Important Happened Today definitely caught me way off guard, upending me into a show-stopping crime novel that provides dark yet electrifying prose and mesmerising insights into death, life and infamy.
The same letter is delivered to nine people. Inside are two sheets of paper. One states that ‘Nothing Important Happened Today’, the other is a suicide note. Those nine recipients meet at Chelsea bridge, set out a rope and hang themselves from the bridge in front of a train of thirty-two witnesses. Two of these witnesses, a somebody and a nobody, will be recruited next. The People Of Choice bursts into the public eye with those nine suicides and a dormant social media page goes viral. This cult has no apparent leader and no official literature just complete acceptance. More will die by their own hand while nothing is done. The police investigations are going nowhere because there are no connections between the victims, they never knew each other. As more and more letters are delivered, it seems only the lost and the grieving detectives can find the answers to the question, who are The People Of Choice?
Will Carver drew me into Nothing Important Happened Today with a combination of morbid curiosity and psychological intrigue and had me stay for the incredibly visceral moments, pertinent themes and the fascinating accounts of cult behaviour and psychopathic legacies (both fictional and historical). Will Carver projects his view of society through a staggering amount of different prisms and perceptions, dissecting the approach to running a successful cult and even venturing into the unforgiving world of serial killing. The sheer amount of people, perspectives and behaviours that this novel encompasses is incredible and I was stunned by each revelation as the story continued to escalate. Despite its harsh and unsettling subject matter it was hard not to get absorbed into this almost hypnotic read (even if Hypnotism doesn’t really work).
Nothing Important Happened Today is the first Will Carver book I have read and I have to say that initially I wasn’t too fond of the writing. It is an unusual writing style, unpredictable in delivery that overlays pronouns, tenses and viewpoints in short and impactful chapters. It is strange at first but once I found WC’s rhythm, it quickly lured me right in compelling me forward, and I couldn’t stop reading. Each moment flittering between what is, what was and what could or will be.
It is mostly narrated by a mysterious and all encompassing voice, a voice who criticises humanity because of what we are and what is still to come. The narrator talks about cult mentality, recruitment, success and opens up about their motivations, influences and beliefs in a better world in an almost sermonic fashion. Coupled with insights into the lives of those involved with The People Of Choice who are trapped between life and death. Stories of those who face the end without question, and those who are left behind, that linger on the unsaid, unheard and unseen truths that may have changed their paths, made for some momentous reading.
This is going to sound a bit ‘on-the-nose’ but Will Carver just has a way with words. He uses meaning and context to give his words double edges, creating prose that stuck in my mind. Leading me to many moments of reflection, unease or tension. I was constantly reeling from sentences such as ‘Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk‘ that consistently made me stop to think about the way things are right now in the world. I actually felt really guilty because in between reading this novel I was sat on YouTube and eating junk food which definitely highlights some of the points made in this novel.
The dark and emotional imagery that WC conjures here is unforgettable. The imprints of the actions of these people is deep. Fair warning, there are a lot of suicides in this book in various forms and there are many people left to pick up the pieces of broken lives. Will Carver manages to deflect an endlessly bleak tone by putting the unthinkable alongside the casual, merging the chaotic with the ordinary and showing stoicism paired with hard emotion. I found Nothing Important Happened Today difficult to stomach some of the time but also difficult to stop reading the whole time. My only real gripe is that it can get somewhat repetitive towards the end when WC circles back around to certain points. I was surprised that the dark nature of the novel wasn’t at all grating or exhausting but instead I found myself intrigued, wanting to know the truth.
I will most definitely be adding more Will Carver novels to my reading list. Any writer who can get me that out of my comfort zone and leave me chewing on my thoughts for a long time after finishing a novel is an individual worth supporting. I highly recommend Nothing Important Happened Today as it is something new, uncomfortable yet relevant, that got me out of my bubble for long enough to see the way life is going in a different way, for better or for worse.
About Will Carver
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 Samaritans was book of the year in The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.