Read Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock Online


‘The milkman found her. On Prince Philip Playing Fields. He crossed the dew-soaked grass toward what he took to be a bundle of clothes, but then he came across a discarded shoe, and then t’ mutilated body. her name wor Wilma McCann.’Leeds, late 1975 and a body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields. Ricky, teenage delivery van boy for Corona pop, will be late for T‘The milkman found her. On Prince Philip Playing Fields. He crossed the dew-soaked grass toward what he took to be a bundle of clothes, but then he came across a discarded shoe, and then t’ mutilated body. her name wor Wilma McCann.’Leeds, late 1975 and a body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields. Ricky, teenage delivery van boy for Corona pop, will be late for The Matterhorn Man. In the years that follow until his capture, the Yorkshire Ripper and Rick’s own life draw ever closer with unforeseen consequences. Set in a time in England's history of upheaval and change – both personal and social – this is a story told in an unforgettable voice.'An incredible debut novel: a coming of age tale set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders, ‘full of daring, authenticity and wit’ (Rachel Cusk)....

Title : Blood Relatives
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007580842
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Blood Relatives Reviews

  • Susan
    2019-03-14 00:34

    We first meet the central character of this novel in 1975. Richard (Ricky) Thorpe is sixteen and has just embarked on his first job as a Corona pop delivery driver. This is a coming of age novel, as Ricky is discovering his sexuality and, as the novel progresses, he embarks on a discovery of himself and the Northern gay scene. For Ricky lives in Leeds, with his mother, Mitch and sister Mandy. It isn’t a particularly close family and there are undercurrents and tensions, which are gradually uncovered as we read on.The author cleverly ties this, rather banal, life story in with the predominant news story of the day. The first chapter has the name of Wilma McCann, the Yorkshire Ripper’s first victim, as its heading. As we follow the story, from 1975 until 1980, each chapter heading has the name of another victim; or woman he has attacked who survived the vicious assault. We are mindful that, as Ricky’s life carries on – as he has relationships, struggles with family dynamics, gets to know the characters on his round – women are being killed sporadically throughout the book; their names cropping up accusingly at the start of each chapter.This novel really does have a sense of time and place. Elvis dies, the Sex Pistols split and women die; but life goes on at a pace which is too slow for Ricky. The Yorkshire dialect is not over-whelming, but helps create a realistic, and immediate, setting. Although, throughout the novel, characters muse on the identity of the Ripper, and many locals are interviewed, often this is more a side story which happens in the background of Ricky’s life. Also, it is fair to say, that often the locals are antagonistic to the police’s attempts to stop the murders – “Ripper 12, Police 0!” chant the crowds at football matches, drowning out attempts to play a tape purported to be the voice of the Ripper over the sound system…I enjoyed this novel very much. The setting is bleak and depressing – Ricky is astonished to see the back to back houses of his childhood appearing on the television news – but the author manages to combine the mundane and ordinary with the shocking in a very interesting way. An impressive debut – I look forward to reading more from this talented author. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  • Richard
    2019-02-22 21:38

    This is an excellent debut novel set against the real life horrors felt by people in and around rhe Leeds/Bradford areas during the terror of the Yorkshire Ripper.It is a growing up book; a right of passage for Ricky Thorpe. It is a book about family, how one fits in with them and how you find your own identity.It is set at a time of change, punk rock, goths, NF and Gay Lib.What makes the novel so special is the voice of Ricky a teenage delivery boy on a Corona round supplying pop across the area. Ricky is inquisitive. hardworking. engaging and socialable. His saving grace is an understanding that being different is a freedom for him to choice his own path for his future.All the time the developing fear that no woman was safe on the streets of Yorkshire cast a shadow overthe lives of the characters we meet.This is a bold fictional device that acts as a chronological backdrop to the social development of Ricky. It also uses Yorkshire speak throughout to re-inforce a sense of place and time.So many issues are dealt with that it serves as a social commentary but the wit and wisdom of our young protagonist carries the book. We may not be seeking this historical perspective but it works brilliantly and provides lasting lessons for life.

  • Stephen
    2019-02-26 00:31

    gritty coming of age book based in west yorkshire around the time of the yorkshire ripper where the young ricky realises his sexuality and joins in the gay scene and also at same time is the music undercurrents of punk and that scene effecting the youth of the mid late 1970's

  • Minka Guides
    2019-03-04 00:31

    Firstly, thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I was pretty much drawn to this book because of it's setting in Yorkshire. I'm a little curious about the area and it's history because I have friends and family from there. I didn't know that much about the Ripper but recognised his actual name when it started popping up in the story.This is one of those quiet, every day stories about a single life set against the back drop of noisy, significant, attention-grabbing occurrences. Much like real life I suppose. There is drama, crime, social upheaval but don't read this book expecting the protagonist to be caught up in any of it. Ricky is too busy delivering soda pop and trying to find out where the sexy man on his delivery route has gone.I found this book very engaging despite it's quiet pace. He doesn't realise it himself really, but Ricky is incredibly brave and perceptive for his time. I felt like I was stuck in his job and town with him. Drama does touch his life but he has sense of constantly moving forward that a teenager has - there is little self-reflecting. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read what the author does next.

  • I read novels
    2019-03-18 01:17

    The milkman found her. On Prince Philip Playing fields. He crossed the dew-soaked grass towards what he took to be a bundle of clothes, but then he came across a discarded shoe and then the mutilated body of Wilma Mc Cann. There is a small mention of Jack the ripper and about adults that murdered kids like Myra Hindley. If you remember records and Cheesecloth shirts like I do then this could well take you back in time.

  • Jo
    2019-03-09 23:39

    I won this in the giveaways in exchange for an honest review.Set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper killings, this is the story of Rick, a young gay man in West Yorkshire trying to navigate life, work and the gay scene. It took me a little while to get into this and that was mostly down to the text being written using a lot of Yorkshire dialect which I know is bizarre considering I'm a tyke myself. Glad I persevered though as this was a pretty good coming of age story.

  • Lynne
    2019-03-12 02:30

    I heard Stevan talking about this novel at Bradford Literature Festival and I'm very glad I found out about it and read it. I miss Rick now that I've finished it and although it is set in Leeds / Bradford before I came to live here it's good to read about an area you know and love. And I do hope it's easier to be growing up gay today. Not that Stevan let's Rick be too daunted or subdued by the homophobia that was more overt then.

  • Levonne Goh
    2019-02-26 23:29

    Not being able to relate to the slang used in the book is definitely an obstacle for readers outside of the United Kingdom

  • Tracy McArtney
    2019-03-18 22:27

    Mm still not sure about this book even having finished it.set around the Ripper years in Leeds. Narration in a Yorkshire accent made it quite hard to make the book flow.

  • Sid Nuncius
    2019-03-19 01:28

    In the end I thought this was a good book, although I found the first half a struggle.Set in Leeds between July 1975, when Peter Sutcliffe ("The Yorkshire Ripper") killed his first victim and January 1981 when he was arrested, this is the coming-of-age story of the narrator, Rick. He is a delivery lad on a soft-drinks van: poorly educated, disaffected, rebellious and gay. The story is told in episodes, each at a time of Sutcliffe's attacks, and headed with the name and date of the victim and narrated in a sort of Leeds dialect.By the end I was glad to have read this; the second half has decently developed characters, a story which has gathered enough momentum to grip and a sense of time and place which has finally become convincing and natural. There is a very good sense of how Sutcliffe's murders came to pervade people's and also of the attitudes of people toward gays and the political currents of the time.Frankly, though, I found the first half of this book tough going. If I hadn't received a free ARC via Netgally and felt obliged to persist I might well have given up. In the end I was glad I had stuck with it, but the setting of the scene and time is pretty clunky, I found the use of Sutliffe's victims to mark the chapters in very questionable taste because it wasn't at all clear whether they were anything other than just chapter markers, and the narrative voice didn't really convince me.The problem with Rick's voice persisted throughout the book. I like the use of dialect, and it helped generate a sense of place and character, but it seemed very inconsistent to me. In the same paragraph, for example, Rick says both "t'insect" and "the insect," he uses "misen" for myself but "my" rather than "me" and so on. I spent my youth with a similar dialect and this didn't quite ring true to me. Nor did Rick's very poetic use of imagery, simile and so on. He hated school, left early and actually says at one point "Why do folk bother wi' poetry?" and yet he says things like "Gordon smiled frugally," or "Mistrust hung between them like a pane of glass onto which each exhaled icily." Both excellent, evocative sentences - but from Rick? Hmm.I don't want to carp too much. It's a good book in the end with important things to say and anyone who lived through those times will recognise the well-drawn attitudes and characters of the period. If you can get on with the first half of the book and can live with the inconsistencies in the narrative voice, you'll enjoy this and I can recommend it.(I received an ARC via Netgalley.)

  • Kim Greenhalgh
    2019-03-16 01:15

    I wasn't sure what to expect of Blood Relatives, other than references to the Yorkshire Ripper, who went on a killing spree in the late 70s. HE does feature prominently in this story, by slathering the local population in fear and uncertainty, but this book is not solely about him. Rick, our 16-year old main character, works as a Corona van boy, but that is not all that defines him. His coming of age tale is centered around the usual (and unusual) family of four dramas, the gay scene of the North, the punk movement, political undercurrents and the various colorful characters who await his weekly deliveries of carbonated refreshment.I must confess that I struggled with the Yorkshire dialect initially but that did not hamper my enjoyment of this book. I am lucky enough to have a husband who hails from the North so he was invaluable in sussing out the lingo for me. Once understood, the dialect and quirky turn of phrase used throughout Blood Relatives really made this book. It was worth reading for that alone! Rick, a real dark horse, grows into an unexpectedly thoughtful individual during this tumultuous time but it is the language and writing style that kept me hooked. The writing is well developed as we witness Rick's mindless day-to-day activities as a youth evolve into a more thoughtful man with a sense of responsibility. Tears welled in my eyes a few times as the heart of the story was unravelled. This was an unusual book that proved to be a delightful read. It shed a lot of light on the pre-Margaret Thatcher North and all the goings-on common of the time.

  • Lisbeth Davies
    2019-03-01 03:21

    This book has stayed with me long after finishing it, in part because of the wonderful use of dialect but also because the characters are so vividly drawn I feel as though I've lived with the family and the customers on his round (although in the mid seventies I was a child in the Welsh valleys.)It's full of wonderful language, for example, describing his grandmother who has just moved into a care home:"Gran raised her head slowly and her face opened into a wondrous, trusting smile that wor never part of her when she had all of her cups in t' cupboard." and memories of the seventies across the UK: Corona pop bottles, quilted dressing gowns, recording Radio 1 shows from the radio onto C90 cassette tapes.What surprised me most was that the spectre of the Yorkshire Ripper was felt everywhere in this part of the world. Each chapter remembers a victim but while there is very little actually about Sutcliffe and his victims, he casts a long shadow throughout the book - as he did in real life I should imagine.I think I'll be rereading this book in a while for the sheer poetry of the language and will absolutely be on the lookout for Alcock's second novel, may it come quickly!(A copy of this book was kindly supplied by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; I'd have written the same if I'd bought or borrowed it from the library.)

  • Vicky-Leigh Sayer
    2019-03-22 01:21

    If you are looking for something a little bit different to read this year, then this novel is definitely the one for you! Written in what can only be described as a broad yorkshire dialect, for a southerner like me it did take some getting used to the narrative, but it makes the novel even more real.Set against the backdrop of the 'Yorkshire Ripper' murders, Blood Relatives is a brilliantly woven coming of age tale.Ricky Thorpe is a delivery boy for Corona, but he would much rather be famous. Still living at home with his Mum, Step-dad and Sister, Ricky yearns for another life, and he soon finds it. But happiness comes at a cost, as Ricky is about to find out and life is never quite as simple as it seems. Ricky's first lesson comes with his first real foray into a gay relationship. The Matterhorn Man is everything to Ricky, but Ricky soon realises that he is not everything to the Mattherhorn Man.Disillusioned, Ricky turns to the gay club scene and meets with a few characters with whom he will make relationships that will shape the rest of his life.Although I suspected that Ricky's lives and the Ripper's would cross, I didn't quite expect the surprise delivered at the end of the novel by the author.Curious? Well, you will have to give Blood Relatives a real to discover what happens. But Ricky's won't be a voice I'll be forgetting in a hurry.

  • Kate Riley
    2019-03-03 04:37

    Fantastic read! I give this book a 5 star rating with no hesitation.The story is set in Leeds in the late 1970s. Main character Ricky’s life as a Corona delivery boy is vividly painted as he comes of age and finds his way through the grimy politics of the seventies in the shadow of the Yorkshire Ripper. The fictional story is punctuated by real events of the time and each chapter heading is the name of one of the Ripper’s victims.I relished the language and could hear Ricky speaking as the story unfolds in his Yorkshire dialect. The characters are large, multi-layered and very real. I enjoyed the heady mix of the era in which politics, the Gay scene, work, punk, sex and family life all merge in Ricky’s life. The twists and turns in the story throughout the book made it a pleasure to read. Funny, touching, engaging and poignant. I love author Stevan Alcock’s style and was pleased to have received this book for free as an advance copy from Goodreads First Reads.

  • Angelnet
    2019-02-22 04:13

    Blood Relatives is a very rare kind of book. A very English debut novel. No, more specifically a very Yorkshire kind of story. Ricky is 16 and living in Leeds. It is 1975. Yorkshire in the mid seventies became synonymous with the Ripper and the brutal killings of prostitutes. Each of the chapters in the book has the name of one of the Yorkshire Ripper's victims. These don't define the story though but merely set it firmly in a time and a place.While i did struggle a little with the local dialect to start with I found that once I tried to hear it in my head it made it a lot easier and it soon added to the charm. It is a wonderful coming of age book complete with 1970s attitudes to homosexuality, gorgeous characters and a real step back in time for those of us that grew up in the seventies. I can't recommend this book enough.Supplied by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Kevin
    2019-02-24 02:35

    It is 1975 and Ricky is busy working on his Corona round in Leeds. His delivery gets delayed due to a murdered female being found on some playing fields. The body is that of Wilma McCann and she is the first victim of Peter Sutcliffe (The Yorkshire Ripper). Ricky is furious as he due to meet The Matterhorn Man for a mid-day sexual assignation. The story weaves the Yorkshire Ripper murders with that of everyday life for Ricky as he navigates working class life/culture and the emerging gay scene in Leeds. It is so refreshing to have a central character that is gay and working class, rather than gay and middle class!

  • Emily
    2019-03-21 03:18

    Great book set in the late 70s and during the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. This is a story about Rick, a young gay man who is trying to find his way in life, the murders happening alongside other events in his life. Rick works as a corona pop delivery boy and he meets interesting people along his round. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was an easy conversational style, written with the Yorkshire dialect, you get to know Rick and his family, and what life was like living under the fear of these murders. It is an interesting look at what life was like for young gay men in this era; having to hide their identity.

  • Sue Hunter
    2019-03-08 23:24

    A woman has been murdered, and it is the talk of the neighbourhood. Young lad, Rick, is on the deliveries for Corona in the Leeds area. Relationships build up with some of their customers, and Rick helps the lonely elderly who regard his visits as much more than the delivery of their drinks. Deliveries are slowed down by such momentous news, but also by washing strung across the roads.Fascinating characters, and a clever building up of tension as events unfold.Definitely worth the read.

  • NarniaGirl
    2019-03-04 21:31

    Received free through GoodReads First Reads.I wasn't sure about this book as it's not my usual reading but I kept going despite the difficulty of understanding the written Yorkshire dialect. Set in the 1970s it is a quick paced gritty contemporary novel of a coming of age young gay man set against the background of the Yorkshire Ripper. Wouldn't read it again though. Loved the cover - bright, in your face colours.

  • Trish
    2019-03-21 23:41

    Cannot read much beyond first chapter because of the irritating attempt to render dialect. It is relentless and impacts on the fluency of the read. I get the language - I don't need it to grasp the setting/mood etc. Who edited this and thought it was a good idea to let the dialect take over?

  • Peter
    2019-03-03 20:36

    A really good read, I found it most enjoyable after my initial annoyance at the dialect style of writing.

  • Lucy Mac
    2019-03-02 20:11

    Really enjoyed this! Was just packed with energy. Felt swept up in it!

  • Russ M
    2019-02-27 01:23

    Great read.