Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver Orenda Books November 14th 2019
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.
I should only be sharing an extract but after reading this astonishing novel I felt I had to say a few words.
It was one of those novels that you weren’t quite sure what you were going to get, and when you did start reading you just couldn’t stop.
Why? For me it was a combination of a topic that has always fascinated, cults, mass murder and the psychology behind it, with a narrative that just blew me away.
It was stark, brutal and utterly compelling, the visual images Carver imprinted on my brain, of nine strangers hanging from Chelsea Bridge was one that will stay with me for a very long time.
What fascinated was how any person could be persuaded to act as they did, considering that all were from varied walks of life, some highly intelligent functioning people. Was it the modern world where they strove for perfection that they could never quite achieve, or disappointment that their lives had not worked out as they planned that made these people so vulnerable?
And that’s what was so intriguing about Carvers characters they seemed to represent issues that are so prevalent in today’s society.
The boy with mental health issues, the doctor treating self inflicted conditions, the lack of resources, the young girl drowning in debt, death the only way to a better life and fulfilment.
Behind all of this Carver examined what made a cult, a cult leader, the serial killers and what drove them to do what they did.
Secondary to all that was the investigation, to discover who was behind it all, Detective Pace our guide. Yes, you knew who it or they were but that wasn’t the point it was how Carver got us there, the process, the insight and the final dramatic conclusion.
Nothing Important Happened Today was breathtakingly brilliant, my brain so scrambled with thoughts I might never recover.
Orenda have done it again, a publisher at the top that deserves so much more recognition than it gets for its willingness to take on the extraordinary and unique.
Now, enough of my ramblings, as now share an extract from Will Carver’s amazing novel.
Still hungover at noon, she opens the bank statement first, skip-ping all the outgoing figures next to items like shoes and bags and bar tabs and restaurants and other things she knows she doesn’t need but at the time believed were imperative to her happiness.
It’s not happiness.
And it’s never enough.
Five tattoos only felt better than four tattoos for a moment. The joy of ten thousand social-media followers was as fleeting as the climax she faked with that reality TV contestant. The drug doesn’t work.
Her mother had told her that fulfilment can only be achieved when you choose to give something back. She’s only been gone two years but her daughter has forgotten this lesson.
The ungrateful young woman skims over the evidence of the mistakes she hasn’t learned from and heads straight to the reality of the figure written in red ink at the bottom of the final page. The expression on her face doesn’t alter, it does not convey what she feels inside, but the tears offer a clue.
There’s a second letter from the bank confirming an increase to her overdraft limit. And a wave of relief washes the tears away, diluting another headache. And the severity of real life dissipates for a few seconds.
But her credit-card bill reintroduces panic. She’s been saving it for days.
She throws up into her mouth and swallows it back down.
There are four other credit cards.
Her father only knows about one.
Her sister has one card that she clears each month. And she remembers their mother.
The bathroom door is locked, as it always is. Just in case. She sits on the closed toilet lid, the tiles are cold beneath her bare feet, reminding her that she, at least, has some capacity to feel. She stands up, takes a swig of water from the tap at the sink and splashes water against her sad-clown face. Looking at herself in the mirror, she takes a picture with her phone. Not for social media. For her. And she drops back to her position of self-pity.
She tells herself that she can’t open another bill. That it will kill her. That she will have to confess to her father and he will have to bail her out again. And everyone will know.
But one of the letters in her growing pile of debt and guilt will get her out of this mess.
One white envelope contains her exit strategy.
It gives her the choice.
She tears a strip of toilet roll to wipe those drugged panda eyes, lifts the toilet slightly from her seated position and pushes the mascara-blotted paper through the gap between her legs before sitting down again to work through the last few letters.
Her store card has £2,668.48 outstanding. Her allowance will easily cover the minimum monthly payment, but paying a similar amount on the rest of her cards leaves her feeling crippled. And it’s only four months until Christmas. And the only way she knows to cope with the stress is to buy herself something nice. Something she doesn’t really need. Something else she can’t afford.
That momentary high to break up the misery.
It’s a relief that the final letter has no transparent window detailing her name and address.
Save the best until last.
Ease the hurt.
Reward yourself. She throws all the other letters into the bathtub to her right. She can’t deal with them now. And she makes a small incision at the corner of the flap, inserts her finger and runs it along the length of the envelope.
There are two pages inside.
The first piece of paper contains only four words.
And she is grateful to read mail that, for once, is not covered in red ink.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Nothing Important Happened Today to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
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 Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook chart.