Poster Boy by NJ Crosskey Legend Press April 1st 2019
Broadcast live, Rosa Lincoln takes to the stage at her brother’s memorial service with a bomb concealed beneath her clothes. Being in Jimmy’s shadow was never easy, even when he was alive, but in death he has become a national hero.
When she crosses paths with the enigmatic Teresa, she discovers that those she has been taught to view as enemies may not be the real villains after all.
The lies need to be stopped, and Rosa intends on doing just that.
Crosskey combines the social commentary of classic dystopian works such as 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale with the contemporary style of unreliable narration found in recent hits Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train.
Now more than ever, readers are seeking accessible and topical social commentary, and with its combination of modern storytelling and strong narrative voice, Poster Boy is exactly what modern readers are looking for.
I’m not sure quite where to start with Poster Boy other than to say, hold on and sit tight because Crosskey has written one helluva a novel.
Let’s start with the fact it was set sometime in the future but when you are never quite sure. The world in general was still recognisable but shades or glasses had replaced mobile phones and the political landscape was just a little different.
Those differences were so subtle that they would not have looked out of place in today’s society and for me this was an absolute master stroke by Crosskey. The ruling political party the English Reclamation Party, ERP, were against immigration, Muslims, and anyone who wasn’t British accessing services. Immediately your mind went into overdrive as The British Defence League and UKIP all jumped out at you, current parties with the same manifesto and reasoning.
And then as you read, as Crosskey themes went further you started to wonder, could this be our future, was this what we would have to look forward to. I have to say that it really made me think, her fiction so close to what could ultimately be our reality.
What of the people who lived in this system. How did they cope, did they agree or did they find ways to fight back?
This is where the action began as Crosskey gave us two brilliant characters.
Rosa, a young teen, happy with her life and friends but suddenly adrift after the death of her twin brother Jimmy. To me, she was the pawn in a complex and intense game of chess. You couldn’t believe the manipulation, the lies, the propaganda she was fed. I felt her utter despair, her confusion, her anger at everyone. You couldn’t blame her for her actions, in fact if you could have jumped into the novel you would have fought her corner, and helped her.
Then we had Teresa. It has been a long time since I have come across a female character that was so strong, so focused, so lacking in emotion, so damn manipulative. I loved and hated her all at the same time and admired her intelligence, her drive and single mindedness, she was just brilliant!
What I liked was their alternating voices, we got two sides of the story. It gave Crosskey the opportunity to dig deep into their thoughts and feelings.
The tension was palpable and in the latter parts of the novel unbearable. I think the fact that we knew from the beginning that Rosa was wearing a bomb vest didn’t help as I was impatient to know why and how. Such a brilliant tool and brilliantly executed by Crosskey to start at the end and work back to how it all began. The drama was never ending, my head permanently on fast spin, and I was totally drained by the time I turned the last page, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way as Poster Boy was utterly brilliant.
If there are any TV executives out there wanting a new drama series then I would look no further than Poster Boy.
I would like to thank Legend Press for a copy of Poster Boy to read and review and to Lucy Chamberlain for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
NJ Crosskey lives with her husband and two children in Worthing, West Sussex. She worked in the care sector for almost 20 years and now is a full-time writer.
Follow NJ on Twitter @NJCrosskey