Clash by Colin Mulhern (March 2011, Catnip, ISBN: 1846471168)
First Lines: I first saw Alex Crow in the toilets on my third day in secondary school.
Review: Clash is the debut novel from Colin Mulhern. Set in the North East of England, it documents a year in the life of two twelve-year old boys, Kyle and Alex who are the same age, at the same school but are completely different.
Kyle has a happy homelife with his mum, has a close friend called Gareth and is a talented artist. Alex's parents are a drunk and a bully and he is drawn into the world of illegal cage-fighting; he practises his skills on his fellow school pupils and is known as a psycho.
Clash slowly reveals how the two boys' lives overlap and finally become inexorably entwined with all the tragedy that has ensued.
The point of view alternates between Kyle and Alex with the chapters getting shorter and shorter near the end. Through these duel narratives you get to know the boy behind the psycho label and the pressures on him causing some of his wild behaviour. I was gripped by Clash and raced through it. There are some very tense scenes, especially a chase scene where I was a terrified as the pursued.
Though the boys are only young, the story contains quite a lot of actual violence, or threat of violence, as well as typical boys's jokes about their anatomy and some swearing.
I really enjoyed Clash and look forward to Colin Mulhern's next book.
Check back next week for a guest post from author, Colin Mulhern