Broken, By Daniel Clay

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The Independent Culture

The narrator of this pacy debut is herself inert. Eleven-year old Skunk Cunningham is in a coma. The novel opens with the train of events that have led to her present state. It's a normal afternoon in a Hampshire suburb until local drug dealer, Bob Oswald, decides to get violent.

Working under the false assumption that one of his five wild daughters has just been raped, he decides to beat local teenage misfit, 19-year-old Rick Buckley, to a pulp. Skunk, playing on the kerb in front of her house, hears Rick's horse-like screams fill the close. It is a novel that keeps you guessing where the author's sympathies lie.