7   +   4   =  

Phil Redmond is best known for creating Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks, so he’s no stranger to crafting hard-hitting dramas. In his novel Highbridge, two brothers are determined to avenge their sister’s death and clean up their dangerous town.

Three years ago, Janey was mugged by someone high on drugs and killed in a hit-and-run. The perpetrator was never found and the town’s drug problem is getting worse. Janey’s brothers Sean and Joey both want to act, but their approaches couldn’t be more different. Joey and Janey’s husband Luke firmly believes they can sort out the issue themselves, while Sean starts a drugs awareness initiative in the hope of changing their community.

Much of the narrative focuses on Luke and his friend Matt keeping a close watch on their local chippy – the source of the town’s drug supply. The build-up to them taking action against the drug dealers is slow and at times the story lacks suspense and direction.

Yet Redmond puts a lot of detail into the characters and explores their perspectives on the broken community and how to deal with it. Despite the underwhelming plot, the characters and the wry humour make Highbridge a worthwhile read.

★★★

Highbridge was published by Arrow on 12 January 2017

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