The Smallest of Things by Ian Whates. Book review

The Smallest of Things by Ian Whates, PS Publishing, h/b £15

Reviewed by Matt Johns

Ian Whates’ novella rests upon a fairly familiar premise – that there are multiple Londons all co-existing, but within different spaces, or dimensions if you like. This concept has been used in many other books, radio plays, television shows and other media, some more successfully than others.

This author though, uses it to great effect. The lead protagonist, Chris, is able to sense these different Londons, and can travel between them. He uses his ability to become a troubleshooter between the Londons – finding people, finding things. As another character describes him, a sort-of Robin Hood.

When Claire, an old friend texts Chris wanting his help urgently, he finds very quickly that this is a matter that suits his unique talents very well, as it concerns multiple Londons.

Whates captures the spirit of the London that we know and love, and clearly takes great delight in reimagining London time and again giving us all-too-tantalising glimpses into Londons that could be or may have been – a smog-filled London, a super high-tech London with enormous trams traversing the streets, and many others. This is an entertaining and easy to read book – the action flows thick and fast and Chris and Claire’s adventures make for a rollicking good romp through the streets of different Londons as they race against time to escape from their shadowy pursuers. My only criticism is that it is all too short, numbering just 87 pages. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for the further adventures of Chris, and suggest that you do too!