Liverpool 5 by Luca Veste

This debut collection, published by Trestle Press – and part of what looks to be an exciting line-up – doesn’t pull any punches.

Veste neatly side steps the Scouse clichés to take the reader straight down to street level, onto the sink estates and into the bedrooms and kitchens of characters riven by long suppressed discontent and occasional outbursts of extreme violence.

Dreams – the opening story – is a quiet, introspective piece; two men talk on a bench about their lives.  It’s deceptively simple but it will stay with you; next time you see an old man hanging around in the town centre I guarantee you will think of it.

Veste shifts tone with Model Behaviour, a cautionary tale for bitches everywhere, and from then on we are taken into ever darker territory.  Heavy Sleeper is a chilling little story, perfectly paced and building towards a gutshot ending, while Peeling Spuds feels like the distillation of menopausal angst.

The final story He Ain’t Heavy, was my favourite, a classic brother versus brother clash.  You know it will end badly from the first sentence and Veste doesn’t disappoint.

Throughout the collection Veste showcases a variety of strong and completely credible voices, with no sense of authorial intrusion, and Liverpool 5 reeks of authenticity.  It is an assured debut which deserves every five star review it’s received – including mine.

Available now on Kindle.

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