Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 13786
date submitted 05.10.2010
date updated 23.08.2012
genres: Fiction
classification: adult
incomplete

Behind the Hood

Marita A. Hansen

Life on the rough side of New Zealand.

 

DON'T REVIEW OR BACK THIS BOOK, IT HAS ALREADY MADE IT TO THE EDITOR'S DESK. REVIEW AND BACK "Behind the Tears" ONLY.

In this South Auckland neighbourhood where gang culture, drink, drugs, sex and violence is already a way of life, a vicious attack on a teenage girl sparks a ripple effect of revenge and fury. Live the carnage through multiple viewpoints as the tale unfolds to a bloody climax.

Warning: NOT for the fainthearted.

You can purchase the published version of "Behind the Hood" through AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Hood-Lives-ebook/dp/B005H3DGR4/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=A3QI763M62X7GQ&qid=1331900515&sr=8-1

 
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tags

drugs, gangs, gritty realism, maori, new zealand, south auckland, teenage parents, violence

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437 comments

 

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Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Sometimes when we get into a story and we are racing along we reach a point where we think, 'Shit I am going to have finished this soon!' and we feel sad that it will end as we know there will be a sort of void beyond the story. That is the stage I am at now. I am reading faster and faster because I am enjoying it and simultaneously dreading the void beyond the story. Of course I will recover and there will be other stories.

BUT ... are you listening Harper Collins? ... I am a tough bastard of a reader and for me to be a surrendered reader, as I am here, is, I insist, the strongest vote in a story's favour.

I wld say that Marita's greatest strength as a writer is her storytelling skill. The story is all. But the characters are also extremely well drawn and feel natural and right. I also love chewing over the Sophoclean phsycological aspects and the social insights. The wording is lithe, sinewy, athletic, and never impedes the story. Some may not like the slang, but that does not bother me as it is right for this story. Others may not like the sex and violence. But the truth is S&V sell. And they sell because they are dramatic and provoke strong emotional reactions.

i'd pay money to read this story and wld be nourished by it deft dramatic brilliance and sheer humanity.

Ron Askew

Jacoba wrote 1187 days ago

Marita,
Well I finished your story today without intending to read that much. The largest praise I can give to you or any author for that matter is that I am unable to put down their writing until I reach the end.
I thought the harshness of the material would put me off, as I'm a bit of a softy at heart and love a good romance, but this is just so good, and the harshness is so necessary to the authenticity of your story. As has been said by previous reviewers the POV from each of the characters is really what makes this such an excellent story and really lets you delve into each characters life and thoughts. I loved the way I could hate and sympathyse with your main protagonist Tama at the same time, this is really a true reflection of your writing skills when you can make the reader do that.
The cliff hangers at the end of each chapter has been done masterfully and leads you in, enticing you to keep going as the story of these tragic lives begins to unfold, each event weaving the complexities of the narrative. The tone keeps you on edge and the dialogue is so believable you actually feel like your part of each scene. I am absolutely certain this will get published once you find the right agent, I will be keeping you on my bookshelf to get the HC critique but if nothing comes from that I genuinely hope you keep pursing the publishers and get this out on the bookshelves. I will be back to read more when you upload, for now I have to attend to my motherly duties, which have been poorly neglected due to this fantastic story. Cheers Jacoba.

Found a couple of typos if your interested will message them to you.

Karina_Evans wrote 1191 days ago

This is a work of brilliance; the characters are well-rounded and believable, the chapters a perfect length, the plot easy to follow, the narrative outstanding. I intended to read chapter one then add it to my WL, but I have found myself at the end of chapter seven with an overwhelming desire to place it on my bookshelf. Well done, this is the best I have read on this site thus far. Deserving of a backing, a high star rating and, hopefully, publication. Great stuff.

Darkwinglord wrote 1205 days ago

Hahahaha! Brings back old memories, Marita. I was born one of thirteen in Freeman's Bay, Auckland, just after WWII - my family were largely impacted by the Watersider's Strike in '52. I guess we were the pioneers of gangs of today; although we didn't have the shithead atitude of the Mongrel Mob, Black Power, hoodies and other weak bastards that feed off society as non-productives. Conscription and a couple of tours in Vietnam knocked that out of us.

Shame Alan Duff has already put out there. This has all the earmarks of being set for the silver screen. The POVs are already in place, just needs a screenwrite. Maybe there's room...

Okay, as far as your story goes, it's tight, woven realistically within the parameters of a typical low income suburb where the parents don't work, so neither do the children. Which only leaves them drugs and thieving as a source of income and smoking, drinking and rooting everything in sight as a favorite pastime. Great! You've captured that wonderfully. What makes your story unique though, is your ability to change the story's direction mid flight; (Tama suddenly forgets about fleeing and sets himself a new goal in Jessica), this creates an addictive read. WTF! Didn't see that coming! People want to know what's next! Lol! So they read on.

Now, your gemstones are the POVs themselves. You have circumvented this cleverly by allocating chapters to characters, thus allowing their thoughts to manifest without the restrictions of an MC. Your insight into what your characters think is what polishes the writing. It entices the reader to become part of your world, therefore part of the story, (All the women on dad’s side were fat Amazons), aren’t they all! Lol! And that’s impounded when tough old Tama is subjected to Aunt Tiras administrations. People relate to how THEY think and as a consequence, can laugh or cry, scheme or feel guilt when the character does. It's what we do all day. Think. However, it's a talented writer that can engender these feelings through their writing. Well done!

Interaction: How to set up your characters so they don't become inanimate blocks of wood trawling through your story.
Asides? (Personal thoughts)
You've done that beautifully with the thoughts of your characters.
Actions?
Perfect! They act and do things like normal persons would *well, sort of* Lol!
Dialogue?
Yes! You have developed each character distinctly, within the essence of who they are, by their dialogue alone. And as you know, in NZ the genuflection of tone and what's said changes by the second; depending who one's talking to. Lol! Whakapehapeha tangata. The pride of our people.

So, the world you present - you have built - is not only believeable, it portrays a rawness that can stem from any suburb of like kind anywhere in the world. Which in fact it does, from Otara to New York! Therefore readers can sympathise; that suburb is just around the corner. No worries about your target audience. There's a couple of Irish authors on this site in the same genre that have also impressed me, for all that's worth.

There is a nice cadence here too. It flows with just the right tension and backs off at just the right moment. Lovely.

As far as grammar goes there’s not much wrong here that a quick edit won’t fix. Couple of nitpicks but hardly worth mentioning. One thing about this site; you get heaps of feedback, mostly constructive, however, for the main part you probably won’t get published by HC here, you’ll need to pick up an agent first. And then you’ll probably end up on the sludge pile of a small publishing house first. The way it works.

To summarise, you've done a champagne job here, made excellent use of personal experience and most of all, have had the ability to put it down in words that one day I hope, will grace the shelves of bookstores. Sterling effort!

Hei konei ra!
Andrew.

made wrote 553 days ago

I hope agents find this it is so original and well written a very good book

David Best wrote 564 days ago

Marita

This is brilliant writing - you have create strong, believable characters and credible situations - the dialogue is superb and the realism terrific

Fantastic

David

Brian Bandell wrote 661 days ago

Behind the Hood has been recognized as one of the favorite Authonomy books of Brian Bandell, author of science fiction thriller Mute from Silver Leaf Books.

Here are my thoughts on Behind the Hood and the other elite level books by emerging authors.

http://brianbandell.blogspot.com/2012/06/my-favorite-books-from-emerging-authors.html

Brian Bandell
Mute

WiSpY wrote 777 days ago

You ROCK what else can I say? Thanks, Marita

WiSpY wrote 777 days ago

You Rock :)

Marita A. Hansen wrote 777 days ago

Due to being asked, I am making this public again for a short time for the March Madness forum thread. Do not back Behind the Hood, only back GRAFFITI HEAVEN, its prequel. Behind the Hood doesn't need backing anymore as it has reached the editor's desk in March 2011.

MendelE wrote 963 days ago

Easily, one of the best reads I've had here. Well done.

TMTHOMSON wrote 993 days ago

This is a fast paced well told story. Good luck with it. If you get the chance I'd appreciate it if you were to read Kiss the Candle Goodnight. Thanks TM

TMTHOMSON wrote 993 days ago

This is a fast paced well told story. Good luck with it. If you get the chance I'd appreciate it if you were to read Kiss the Candle Goodnight. Thanks TM

monicque wrote 1048 days ago

Hi Marita, thank you for sharing your Harper Collins review. I think it makes us all think about how we can improve our works. I had a look at your story, and I thought it was engaging and unique. I hope you can work out what the HC editor meant, and can improve those small things to make your story shine!! Best wishes for your success in the future!!
Monicque Sharman
The Multiple Choice (if you get a spare few mins, could you take a quick look at my work?)

TRM wrote 1048 days ago

Thanks for putting up two professional reviews, Marita. The contrast between the two is startling. It's not just a question of taste or commercial preference either; these two reviews are diametrically opposed on key points of the craft. Makes for some head scratching, that.

Brooklyn Writer wrote 1049 days ago

Don't know if you are running a thread on the forums about this, but the contrast between the two "professional" reviews is EXTREMELY interesting and revealing. I only read a small bit of the novel, and as I said in my previous review, I am a fan of multiple points of view, but I remember being impressed with the characterization.

Jack Cerro wrote 1049 days ago

Hi Morita
Lovin this so far. You do a great job of quickly fitting in back story while keeping the action going. There is really no problem with understanding the characters motivations since they are typically set up by the previous chapter. This is a really bold approach to story telling. It feels like a relay race with the plot being handed off to different characters. Pacing was good as well. And I really liked your use of phonetics to show the language.

monicque wrote 1051 days ago

Hi Marita! Wow, incredibly well written, and beautiful story. Very emotionally engaging. Good work, and best wishes for your succes.. You are a star!
If you do get a chance, I know you're probably busy, but would you read a small portion of my book?... let me know if it's a hook. or if maybe you have any suggestions for changes.
Thanks! Monicque.
The Multiple Choice.

dreamofwriting wrote 1058 days ago

Marita,

I just finished your first chapter and I'm dying to know what happens next, so after this comment I intend to read on!

I felt like I was right there along with Maia as she tries to escape Tama and his gang; where she was afraid, so was I. It made me sad that no one would help her in the store, not even the muscular guy in the store. This man made me think of my boyfriend, but unlike this man, I know he wouldn't have stood by and watched an innocent girl be attacked.

Mikey disappointed me. At one point I thought he might actually be trying to help Maia, I still wonder if he was.

I felt that Tama got exactly what was coming to him when the dog lunged at him after he used the switchblade on Maia. So, what happens next? Guess I'll find out in a minute! :)

It does scare me that these things are going on. Luckily I don't usually run into things like this and I hope never to!

Anyway, if it would benefit your book at all I would shelve it, but I know since you've already been on the Editor's Desk it won't; and that the best I can do is comment and rate with the 6*'s that it deserves.

Bill Carrigan wrote 1066 days ago

The action in your first chapter, Marita, is clear and hard-driving, with vivid character drawing and a menacing atmosphere. "Behind the Hood" is off to a strong start, and we have to read on.

Only one detail struck me as unrealistic. Tama "threw his joint on the ground." Wouldn't he be more likely to pinch out the flame and drop the roach in his pocket, considering the price of weed? You could also use a bit more description, as the setting will be strange to most readers. But all in all, this is professional writing.

I'll be back after getting a feel for pacing, transitions, etc. Meanwhile, could I persuade you to take a look at "The Doctor of Summitville," a love story beginning in 1927 America and continuing into the Depression? Comments would be most welcome and, of course, your support.

elmo2 wrote 1080 days ago

i read the first few entries of you piece "Beyond the Hood" early on, thought about commenting but then didn't noticing it had lots of praise and was high in the ranking, i found what i read to be very good, engaging, realised rather quickly, (i don't read the pitches for pieces often) that it wasn't a piece about an american "hood" though the obvious parrallels between gang culture in new zealand and in america adds to your work's richness and appeal, i also thought you were by noting cultural icons in the landscape making sure the reader tied native south pacific culture with the characters, the characters through dialogue and familar relationships seemed more naturally to make the tie, the characterizaion and even the name nike (a mythical name) made me wonder if he was going to become a heroic character, i don't usually like shifting view points given from various characters, but in this piece it worked, i was hoping if you got a chance you could give on of my pieces "ghost dance" or "crow diary" a look

H.W.Ryan wrote 1088 days ago

Ok i'm reading peoples work a chapter at a time at the moment, coming back to the ones I like. This has a very tense opening chapter, well written, without issues (not an expert in that department). A good read so far so on the watch list it goes until space on my shelf becomes available.

Regards Ryan

Scéal Fada wrote 1091 days ago

I have started into your novel. I find it a compelling read. You take the reader right into the story and they share in the fear of the central female character. You have a great way with words. Looking forward to returning to it. Well done so far.

Gemma Grant

Orlando Furioso wrote 1118 days ago

Bravo! Well done! Time to relax for a day or two!

Orlando Furioso wrote 1119 days ago

Ch 43
I swear it never crossed my mind the M might not have pegged it. Yet another surprise. I should have guessed anything is possible. And the contrast between the sugared Ch 42 and this one is great. 42 was time out so we can get our breath back for more shocks. It fascinates that Tama's aunt is emerging as the bigger monster. Your range of female charachters is rich. I was thinkiing as I was reading 41 and 42 how you had Caitlin -- disturbed chile, Nike's mum -- obese sick older woman and Talia == hot babe all in rapid succession. And now here we have an even more extreme female type. There is a study in these females. They tend to be either extremely powerful and active or broken down and repressed, with Mrs.C, Maia and Jess in the middle of it all. Hmm, but that is a fairly solid middle ground, so maybe the female spectrum is balanced.
But the most facinating theme are the early shoots of responsibility showing in Tama. Can he be turne around in some way? His loyalty to Micky is fierce. Nike seems to be heading towards some horror situation with Craven. But maybe Tama will somehow end his nightmare. Might is be good for Tama to get caught, do his time over Maia and start again? Is that how it is sometimes? If he stays on the run things only get worse for him, don't they? I can't imagine him giving himself up willingly. But equally I can imagine him feeling some relief to actually stop running. But what will it take to still the hate in him? Will that be down to Micky in some way? Micky on the face of it is weaker than Tama, but he has found the strength to slay the dragon that was oppressing him, by confessing what he has suffered. Will Micky somehow save Tama?

Damn, there's no more to read -- for now.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Thinking about that guy who went on about Hemmingway ... Something tells me that E.Hemmingway wld take his hat off to you, esp over that Caitlin stroke. The notion of the messenger being sooooo childish, unknowing, hampered in speech ... Hemmingway wld see that. He was great at deft touches. The little bird landing on the fishermans rod in THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA shows he wld see the beauty of having such a little bird of a messenger singing such a sad and imperfect song as poor little Caitlin.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 42
I recall the start of 41 you use Tama's gaze to make us see. And you use Sally's eyes at the start of this one. We are in their heads. We are in the car. You need a distraction after the last two mega chapters. Shakespear normally has someone arsing around, farting, belching or letching as they crack naff jokes. Here we have a son freaking about his mum's health! It works. Weight is a big issue, literally. And of course there is a little in joke for we writerly types over Rory the deluded wannabe writer!!! Love it! But enough of that. We are soon chilled out and the story is all. Clip clop clip clop. The contrasting between the crims cribs is total! But the sex thing is just the same! We of course know that Thalia is Big C's missus before Nike susses it. But he's not far behind the curve, or is it curves. Thalia is yet more full on trouble, moreso because she is married to an angel of death ............. ach, I forgot to say how arch it was to have Kelly 'stab' Tama with an angel! ............. Nike is smart in some ways, but he is a sap in other ways. He is not a boss, works for Ash, walks into a dodgy job he knows little about. He is honourable, but biddable. There is a hollywood feel to this scene, the changing of a street teen from his hood into a uniform. It just shows what uniforms can cover up. Mine is a grey salaryman's suit. Of course in many ways the job is a young guy's dream. I think of THE GRADUATE, but that is wrong headed. Nike is in a much more fraught situation and is not some hollywood dreamed up slack ass but a guy worrying about real issues. And Dustin Hoffman only ended up smeared in sun oil in a swimming pool, not dead in a river. But you know what I mean. The point is this chapter TOTALLY chills us after what the previous two. We are in another space, emotionally, psychologically and dramatically. You have move us around the chess board. What is your next move!?! We read on. Of what is Thalia -- a name I have used in a story, too -- capable. A lot methinks. But -- this is great -- Nike is caught between Jess (lovelier boobs) and crusher Saul. Surely these two forces will save him from his cock! But, as we know, the male cock is capable of any and every cock-up imaginable and not imaginable, reality always beating our imaginations.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 41
Ach, I don't believe it. After 40 you have served up another astonishing twist, several actually.
Firstly, can this be true? Tama having feelings over another? Yes. He not only loves M he feels guilt over what's happened to him. And the background insights into his father's fate shows us that his father is absent not because of some fecklessness or flawed morality as we, in our middle-class ivory tower, might have assumed, but because he was on a mission to get a present for his loved son.
Perhaps we can better understand why Tama has turned out as he is. Life has made him this way.
The dabs about Tina's button busting blouse and the way her dress gets stuck in the door make her seem like a commical villain. But we can't fully loathe her because her son is dead and we know.
The way people get the tragic news in dribs and drabs in these chapters is genius. We the readers at several times know more than they do. Our humanity makes us want to tell them, but we can't. This engagement is what it's all about. The story has got into us and drawn us into it. What more can any writer ask for?
The death of Micky was an emotional stroke, but having Tama get a patchy notion that something very bad has happened to his mother tops it. And the notion of her wetting herself of the window... These dabs of micro life make it all the more realistic and believable, because that is how it is. There is always some little thing distracting us. Life seldom clears the decks before it hits us with its big bombs. A wee, a window, details convince. My gawd, we don't actually feel sorry for Tama do we? Yes, even for a monster, we feel sorry. He may not deserve it, but if we don't feel sorry for a boy learning his mother is dead -- even a monstrous boy -- we become less human.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 40
I was moved by Maia saying 'he's in my class at school' as this reminded me they really are kids. There are many stories of kids in London getting knifed. Of course the only detail we hear is the snippet of the knifing, the body count. The befores and afters of their lives we mostly never hear.
I was also moved by Maia never even having kissed a boy. (Yes, Fucking Tama ruins everthing...blood on his hands and showing up in nightmares. I've been wondering which dark character in Homer or Shakespear he reminds me of. Not there yet.)
The tenderness -- while in pain -- of Maia over Micky is also moving. And her mother plays her part.
The holding of Micky's hand is moving. He is not a bad lad, just misled literally...as are s,ooo,ooo many around the world at all times. Germany 1930s?)
When he opens his eyes the story cld go either way. A smile? Love? But no. The opposite. The curse of Tama kills Micky.
This accumulation of pathos left me reeling. I will be more aware next time I read about a teen dying in a stabbing in London.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 40
Oh fuck, I'm choking up. I never do, this is unprecedented.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 39
Great first line. The sex driver is there again, rearing its head, literally -- the thing which holds us together but also causes such chaos. I actually felt guilty myself about the money in the account. And I trembled for Nike at the thought of him getting wrongly rubbished over the nickers. But they are a tight couple and resolve it. Phew! I like the way the pieces on the board are shuffled. Things change fast. So they have to respond fast. All is fluid, literally at times, but that is life, literally. It is noteable how Nikes sex urge changes from full on horny to something more tender and needful.
p.s. Rory wasn't getting into authonomy I hope! that really wld mess up the balance of family life 'Hey, Tama mate, I needs your backing dude!'

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

I got it wrong ... the shrew is even more hyperactive than I thought! I quote from sources:

The common shrew or masked shrew has a heart beat that is considerably faster than that of a hummingbird at 800 beats per minute, and is a prodigious eater and vicious fighter.

Inner city gangs the world over seem to live like collective shrews. Sea turtles or even parrots might make more far better role models. I will probably now be pecked by the pet shop parrot when I drop by for rabbit food.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 38.
Brilliant. Esp the way Tama from being the target of bad news himself becomes the bearer of bad news. How arch that the least thoughtful of players becomes thoughtful at this moment. The emotional travel is also very strong, passing as he does from concern, shock, to flight, and then to triumph over the plod pursuing him. I have to say I also smirked at the arch-wit of how his recognition of women is down to the size of their tits. This almost mocks his over-arching sex drive. Maybe the old flight-fight reaction we hear much about should be expanded to become the flight-fight-fuck reaction for greater accuracy.
Apparently the common shrew lives life at Tama pace. It either fucks or fights to the death any other shrews it meets, has a heart beat of about 300 per minute and lives a spectacularly short life.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 37
All roads lead to the hospital. The end of Ch 36 even ends on what is practically a stage direction (To hosp).
J's got Leila worked out. His scene with Annie is downright romantic! Ach, tastes like spearmint! And eyeing the cheap love token is moving. He almost seems happy. Beaten to pulp but happy. Planning for a future shows astonishing optimism. But then the sound of the gurney makes us wonder, 'Is that Micky being wheeled in?' So Annie's dad comes as a wicked little sting of a suprise. And of course we fear for Jay's ribs all over again. We feel his pain!

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Sometimes when we get into a story and we are racing along we reach a point where we think, 'Shit I am going to have finished this soon!' and we feel sad that it will end as we know there will be a sort of void beyond the story. That is the stage I am at now. I am reading faster and faster because I am enjoying it and simultaneously dreading the void beyond the story. Of course I will recover and there will be other stories.

BUT ... are you listening Harper Collins? ... I am a tough bastard of a reader and for me to be a surrendered reader, as I am here, is, I insist, the strongest vote in a story's favour.

I wld say that Marita's greatest strength as a writer is her storytelling skill. The story is all. But the characters are also extremely well drawn and feel natural and right. I also love chewing over the Sophoclean phsycological aspects and the social insights. The wording is lithe, sinewy, athletic, and never impedes the story. Some may not like the slang, but that does not bother me as it is right for this story. Others may not like the sex and violence. But the truth is S&V sell. And they sell because they are dramatic and provoke strong emotional reactions.

i'd pay money to read this story and wld be nourished by it deft dramatic brilliance and sheer humanity.

Ron Askew

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 36
Bloody hell fire! This swings astonighingly. I knew from the short length of the last two or three chs and the length of this one that it might be significant. And it is. But it is also really cunning, because it sort of goes sotto voce in the middle part as K -- behaving like a trembling deer -- almost calms T down. At more than one point I thought he was going to rape her. But no. And it ends up with her need to silence her flatmates' sniping getting the better of his sexual impatience. Amazing. It also fascinates that Tama is on the back foot, first worried about the cops and then even moreso when he twigs there is a greater danger. The verbals from outside the room are almost comical in some ways because the flatties think Tama might be a girl! And then among it all we have a first time! Amazing. Tama plays his part with some delicacy. But then it all kicks off and two dangerous situations -- the gun and Mickys news -- are trumped by an even more dangerous one as the gun speaks. Ach, that poor sod Micky! Nothing good ever happens to him. Now this. And we even see Tama caring for him, actually putting Micky first and not just dumping him on the pavement and running off. Oh and I forgot to mention how arch it was that Jess's kit should be used on another woman. Ach, twists and turns and psychology going on all over the place ... and action! Great stuff.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 35
Events are moving on at a pace and the outlook is darkening for all. I feel sorry for Micky. Nothing good happens to him and he faces the horror of telling Tama and of course the messenger will probably get a kicking. The contrast between the dead sister and the son beating sister is strong. I wonder if the dominant one somehow got all the vigour and the other one got all the woe? The engagement of the pack with a normal adult fascinates. One lot wolf her pancakes and another confesses his pain to her. He seems to recognise he needs help from the bigger pack of society than the ferral teen pack. It rings true.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 24
Ach, those nickers! And we of course know! This is a great twist. And then it is added to by a genuine reason to water board Nike and get him to fess up! This is drama! Of course Tama wasn't smart enough to plan it this way but ... Interesting that Jess is the only one shown to be clued up enough to use a lappie to check her bank situation. Also Rory getting smartened up shows how clothes can matter and Jess being on the right side of sensible notices. This is quite a contrast to the Sledge and Dante's convo in the previous ch.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 33
I like Nike's reflectiveness. There is hope for him. He is loyal to the love greedy Leila. The tangle between him and Tama over women is great. They can't escape each other, like binary stars. Yet they can't tolerate each other either. The showdown keeps drawing our eyes on. Which one will win? Nike sounds promising, but he seems blind to what he's walking into with C.

Clancy Docwra wrote 1120 days ago

BACKED ... I've been reading Orlando's comments and cld not agree more with his views. I think your story is the most outstanding of the five books presently in contention.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

CH 32
There is another pairing here. While Tama is after Jess, Leila is after Nike. Brilliant. I esp like the Leila's pleasure at Nike hiding his visint from Jess and her conniving him to visit her after work, and the significance she endows his visit witl. There is no end to the ruthless pursuit of love and lust. Even in her hosp bed she is able to set her love traps for Nike.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 31
Full on again. Tama is s total megalomaniac, imagining he can stroll into Nike's crib and do as he pleases. His assumption that Jess will be anything other than horrified to see him is astonishing. But then he has his knife to back him up. The wanking off on her bed is horrible, but also astonishing for its sheer affrontery. He has no fear. But such lack of fear is probably what gets people killed. His absolutely selfish sexual aggression is breathtaking. But then once again you surprise by showing an opposite side of him...sadness no less. But two chapters on from my comment about where are the fathers? you show how bereft Tama actually is. The shift from horrible Tama to sad Tama throws both into starp relief. There is great play in most of your chapters and this is no exception. And, as always, you end with a teaser to keep our curiosity at boiling point!

Orlando Furioso wrote 1120 days ago

Ch 30
All is violence. Tama's mum is gone. It was clear chapters ago that that she was a gonner.The notion of telling Tama is terrifying. Tama's mum is like Aroha Summers, a loser in the great battle. Mickey's mum is right to warn M against Tama, but she is wrong to beat him. But she doesn't know how to wean Mickey from Tama. There is no balance in any of them. They all make disastrous choices, consistently. At least Mickey's mum is a surviver. And she tries to get Tama right and Mickey and she will look after Caitlin. But her sister is dead and her son is physically fighting her and hates her. It is noticable how Tama's mum was weak but he is strong in some ways. Mickey's mum is strong, but he is weak.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1121 days ago

Ch 29

Mr.s C is an odd voice of sanity. She is right of course, but ignored. Alcohol and drugs are Tama's parents, just like they are millions of kids parents in many countries, with the crew as the family. The only male figures on the right side of life so far have been wearing police boots and running after T. Where are the dads? There are women struggling, some defeated, most bruised and abused. But no dads. I am sure this is true in American where the gangs are much bigger. The only other authority figure, so far is the teacher who gives T a D in English. It's amazing how Mrs. C is feeding T and he is checking her out! Surely he isn't going to ... But no he has other things in mind. Her pancakes restore his energy and he is ready for more revenge. I can't decided which motivation is stronger in him, his lovelust for Jess or his hatred for Nike. I suppose getting at Jess is a way to hurt N and removing N wld be a way to get at J. Of course he can't see that none of it may work because he is incapable of thinking of anyone else, or any perspective other than that of his own instinct driven wildness. Poor T is lost. His intelligence is just not in play. There is no rule in his life and he has not learnt to rule himself.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1121 days ago

CH 28.
Ach, those two red lines! Scientific reality butts into the chaos. The kit is an ingenious thing made for a profit and represents intelligence in some odd way. J and N were driven by instinct. But J is right in her pursuit of love and money. She needs love to tether the man to her to protect her child and she needs money to feed him. She needs N to be responsible, that is her instinct. Making him feel better wld tighten his bond to her. And yet, although she is different to Sally (in the hosp?) she, too, is apologetic to her man. There is a theme there. But N is different to T because as she says, he will blame himself. How different N and T are in this key point. N is the better man than T. But even N is not using his intelligence in a way that J needs him to. They want the right things, are on a higher level than Tama, but the credit card is their enemy. The last line is great as we know that everything is very unlikely to be alright.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1121 days ago

Ch 27
Poor old Nike. He is so confident in how he is with Jess and in his pursuit of Tama. Yet he is subservient to Ash. He can't think for himself. Jess thinks better than he does.
The little plot twists are clever. Dante's stroke is yet another minor act of revenge.
The pit bull dab almost made me wince. Very vivid! You even pair a couple of dogs in this chapter. I reckon you instinctively pair to compare. Woof!

Orlando Furioso wrote 1121 days ago

Ch 27
This fascinates because of the introduction of a new character. The uncle in a previous chapter who beats Jay does not seem a major player but Craven sounds like he might have quite an influence. I imagine if Ash or Nike ever become successcul and survives they might become Craven types.
The best dab for me -- apart from the car-worship of the Cortina -- was this: 'Large trees he couldn't even name...' Of course we know Nike is more than just a driver and he does too, but he wants to believe he is innocent.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1121 days ago

Ch 26
Maia is an island of calm and relative tranquilty, even if she is stuck in a hosp bed, screaming at her nightmares. The exchange between her and Stell shows how some women are, how, as in Stella's case, they will put up with insult and assult from thugs they have fallen for. Stella's reasoning is as disastrous as Tama's. Their divergent assessments of Micky are both valid and believable and based on reason, both are very realistic. But they come from entirely different levels of expectation, Stella's poor, Maia's more normal. Jess is like Maia in some ways. She is sensible about money and she has moved on from school, grown up, whereas Tama is still stuck with his schoolboy crush on her, even though she is now a mother, beyond him in reality. Your women are really great studies. A lot of women without a man might secretly side with Stella and understand her saying 'You're not mad at me.' because she has a man and will do anything to keep him. And she gets to suck face with him. Or is this insane? She get love and sex and a wage. But she gets a beating too. Many women stick with this situation. Is it out of fear of leaving the guy? Or fear of being alone?
Also it is quite neat plotting that Tama has put both S and M in hosp for different reasons. One he has fucked the other he has stabbed. Very neat.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1121 days ago

Ch 25
These quiteish chapters where we see the pack on their way somewhere or chilling give great insights into the Beta dogs who are not in Ash.Nike or Tama's league. Their blundering ways impact on the Alpha dogs sometimes, but they never get a sniff of the good. They say that a few men have many sexual partners and a larger number at the bottom ot the male heap hardly have any. Poor old Naf can't even get a piece of Aroha.
Tama's outlook is something else. He is never responsible for anything. It wasn't his fault she banged her head.
Naf's insigt into bottom fishing for any woman rings true.
The joshing about the gay guy show's the crew bonding and reaffirming their sexual pecker order. Not nice, but how it is.
Tama's excusing himself over Maia by saying he really wanted to jake her bruv shows how scattered his reasoning is. He doesn't seem to know the difference between his dick and a blade.
But even T is scared of Ash, who seems Tama plus greater cunning and menace But the pack rallies round and saves him from Beth and Ash. Tama has the makings of a boss, but he's definitely not there yet.
My ambivalence towards T makes me think == reading his comments about Maia == that nothing about him is admirable, not even his raw sexual potency because all of him is tainted by his capricious, selfishness and the brutality he shows to get what he wants without thinking about the consequences.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1122 days ago

Ch 24
Nice short chapter after a long one.
Cld not help contrasting your women on the one hand we have Kelly, Nina, Aroha all up for it in the zone. Here we have Jess pewking and worrying about money and Sally not well and worrying about weight. it is a sort of before and after comment on how things are.
The last line 'The cheapest one please' is a total contrast to that last line of the previous chapter where Tama is still stuck in the zone.
The men's roles are quiet simple and unchanging with their main battles with other men. The women's battles are perhaps with their own bodies one way or another.
And -- you minx -- throwing in Naf at the end is clearly like one of Shakespeare's messengers turning up at some key moment in such a way he will unwittingly tilt things in another direction. We read on!

Orlando Furioso wrote 1122 days ago

Ch 24
More bodily fluids, but quite a contrast from the comings of Tama and the going of Nina. Jess' state starkly underscores how hopeless Tama's lustlove for her is, how she has moved on, how Nike has got there before him, again. And there is a third man in all this, Jake latching onto Jess which opposes the way Tama latched onto the fake tit of Nina. Ach, poor Tama, his genes are doomed! For all his sexual vigour he is with the wrong woman and it is Nike and Nike's offspring who are latched into and onto her.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1122 days ago

Ch 23 morrrrrrre!
I read the rest of this in the office after a boring day.
I am and have been throughout ambivalent towards Tama ... at first I loathed him ... then I started to feel oddly sorry for him ... at other times I actually envied his full on wildness.
I confess I envied his absolute animal confidence in this chapter. Yes, he is an animal, but the women are also wild, the party is wild. It is as if the very air they are all breathing is neat sex. And they are all breathing it deeply. Of course I know he is a bastard but compared to how my day he is a thousand times more alive. Of course I also know there is a good chance he will get killed but ...
Some of the language is brilliant, sounds bang on and is sometimes very witty specifically
-- amped
-- ball gagger
-- she's a walking STD
The action is also exceptionally fast. I mean that comment from the guy about dabbing in colour and all! There is no time for it! The action is too fast, intense and all consuming. I noted...
-- Hi, babe, you wanna go upstairs / piss off you bastard
And the archness of HIM hating rude birds! then saying 'How much?'
Kelly's willingness to have a round with him shows how sex dominates all things. K has no loyalty to her girlfriend vs the chance of getting her hands round Tama's wares.
In the tub ... ach! I am in the wrong life!
And this is marvellously arch: 'He didn't want to put her off by being a dirty bastard.' !!!
The langage icomes in sharp little stabs ...
-- grow a brain
-- I like your tattoo
And then there is this darkly funny dab ... 'He wondered if she was someone's mum.'
-- she tasted of beer and cigarettes
-- wank stain
-- Jess/Jeez/JESS/JESS ... he loves Jess
-- God a condom
-- yep
Nothing can stop any of this. They are all in a fervid sexual cyclone. They flip from wanting it to insulting their partners in a blink. '...mean cow...your tits are false...' captures the mood of instant one-sided analysis and verbal strike after strike ... they can't resist each other yet the can't stand each other either. It is brilliant and terrible for them, simultaneously. They are lost in it all.
And Tama's life force or lust call it what you will is gigantic with the last line, as with all your chapters, leaving us feeling like him .... wanting more.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1122 days ago

Ch 23
Ahhhh, Aroha Summers! I like her. She never missed the party. And I recall her lurching towards Tama in an earlier chapter in a single-minded sort of way. Of course she is messed up, but she is also as vigorous as a bed of nettles.Ach, wife is calling demanding tea. More anon.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1122 days ago

Ch 23.
The second graph of this makes me feel even more that you don't need to 'colour-in' the story for us. Tama and the crew are so out of it, living in such a narrow segment of now that nothing else exists for them. They are intensely focused on the next hit or fuck. And there is colour in the piece anyway. The reference to rap music unlocks all kinds of doors in our imagination from our knowledge of what's going on. Adjective rich descriptions are not only not needed, they wld positively get in the way of the focus. Our focus on the story has to be as sharp as Tama's on what's going on in his life. No pretty, pretty stuff is needed. This ain't no water colour exhibition we are into here. '...sweet smelling air...hater's music...' are short sharp stabbing locators anyway. There is merit in economy, esp speed. Please resist if anyone else says, 'Hey, show me what colour are the buses in NZ? Paint a picture in my mind.' The answer is that the drama is too fast and intense to mess around with non-essential stuff. The reader can imagine the boring stuff if they want to.