Review: ‘Goldsmith Jones,’ by Sam Taylor-Pye

Goldsmith Jones Cover

Published By: Clink Street Publishing

Publication Date: 9th February 2017

I.S.B.N.: 978-1911110972

Format: Paperback

Price: £9.99

 

Blurb

Fourteen-year-old Goldsmith Jones is left stranded in crime-ridden, gangland territory. He finds himself living at The Shades, a home to local street kids. While selling sexual favours down the Dead Man’s Alley to survive, Jones is charmed by a seaman he knows as Sweet Virginia. Moving further away from the relative security that The Shades and his best friend, Raccoon, offered him, Jones is drawn ever closer to the manipulative Sweet Virginia. When Raccoon falls gravely ill and is taken to convalesce on the rural Rancheria, Jones is left under the controlling powers of the unscrupulous navvy. Swindled and wrongly accused, he is unexpectedly rescued by the leader of the villainous Suarez Brothers, the charismatic Saul. Faced with a choice between becoming Saul’s ‘little brother’ and saving Sweet Virginia’s life, Goldsmith Jones must embark on a dangerous journey which will change his young life forever.

Purchase from Amazon UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goldsmith-Jones-Sam-Taylor-Pye-ebook/dp/B01MTYL3PO/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1485385843&sr=1-1

Purchase from Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/goldsmith-jones-sam-taylor-pye/1125296311?ean=9781911110972

About Sam Taylor-Pye

Sam Taylor-Pye grew up on the border between Washington state and British Columbia, Canada

and currently lives in Kent in the UK. She received her BA from the Open University, and has an MA in Creative Writing. This is her first published novel.

 

Follow Sam on twitter – https://twitter.com/rtaylorpye

 

My Review

Arriving in San Francisco with Joe, his ‘Pa’, on 4th July 1863. Joe disappears while Goldsmith is watching the parade. Alone, he wanders through the city, falling in with Juan from The Shades, a doss house for street kids. After a month, his money runs out and he is forced to join the other boys down Dead Man’s Alley servicing ‘Dead Eye’s’ for 50 cents. He doesn’t make many friends in The Shades.

His only real friend, Raccoon, lives in the attic with Violet. Violet is possibly a trans woman, or is one of multiple personalities living in the same body. After a shock, Violet hides in her bed for three days. When she wakes up, Johnson Suarez is there instead, and I read this book in one sitting and was deeply affected by it. It was hard to tell if Goldsmith Jones was hallucinating through the story or if he was dissociating to protect himself from the abuse he didn’t know he was experiencing at the hands of the people he thought loved him.he is not interested in sharing an attic with two boys, returning to his position in the Suarez gang. Soon after Raccoon becomes ill; when he is taken back to his mother’s family. Goldsmith is left without any guidance in a place he doesn’t understand.

Taken advantage of by a ‘navy’, Mattie Hakes, and stuck in the middle of a war between the Suarez Brothers gang, who run The Shades, and Hakes, Goldsmith is confused and lost. Tracking Hakes down to a cabin in the mountains, where he finds Hakes and Johnson in bed. As the confrontation comes to a head, Saul Suarez and to of the Brothers arrive.

I read this book in one sitting and was deeply affected by it. It was hard to tell if Goldsmith Jones was hallucinating through the story or if he was dissociating to protect himself from the abuse he didn’t know he was experiencing at the hands of the people he thought loved him.

This is a really good first novel, well-written and with rounded, developed characters. The setting is alive and well-described. I am looking forward to the next instalment.

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