Bloody War — book review

BLOODY WAR by Terry Grimwood. Eibonvale Press £9.99

Reviewed by Jay Eales

Bloody War is the debut full length novel from Terry Grimwood. It’s not a huge book, and I was able to read it almost in a single session; something I haven’t done in years. So, I guess you could say that it’s a page-turner. Very much inspired by 1984, although I also got half-remembered flashes of The War of the Worlds from it, with characters wandering through the rubble of a devastated urban landscape.

What lets the side down a touch is the editing. Some glaring typographical errors creep in, not often, but noticeably. Also, there’s an odd thing where chapter breaks sometimes end up with a complete blank double page between them, and sometimes they don’t. Little things like these are not deal-breakers, and may go unnoticed by many readers, but jumped out at my inner pedant.

It may seem contradictory, but I found it a very enjoyable read, while never quite buying the scenario that Grimwood depicts, with a modern-day setting, but one that feels very much like a Word War II era equivalent. I got no real sense of a country adapting to life post-internet and mobile phone, things that have become such a big part of modern life in just a few short years. While never stooping to references of powdered eggs or a singsong around the pub piano, Britain at war doesn’t seem so very different to previous conflicts, though that could be one of the messages the author is sending out.

Without giving away more than I mean to about the plot, I’m not sure what purpose the invalided-out veterans serve in the bigger scheme of things. From time to time, Grimwood peppers the story with pop culture references which I suspect will date quite badly in years to come.

Bloody War features a corking central conceit, just expressed in a way that doesn’t quite live up to it. It certainly intrigued me enough to look for some of his other work.

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