Read The Death of Danny Daggers by Haydn Wilks Online

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Cardiff. The last few days of summer.Danny Daggers is about to die. He just doesn’t realise it yet.A Leeds University student with a very popular YouTube channel, Danny Daggers is taking his alcohol-downing stunts on tour. He’s about to find out that not everyone’s a fan.Ji Eun is a Korean student doing work experience at the South Wales Post.Rory Gallagher is the alcoholiCardiff. The last few days of summer.Danny Daggers is about to die. He just doesn’t realise it yet.A Leeds University student with a very popular YouTube channel, Danny Daggers is taking his alcohol-downing stunts on tour. He’s about to find out that not everyone’s a fan.Ji Eun is a Korean student doing work experience at the South Wales Post.Rory Gallagher is the alcoholic veteran journo who’s mentoring her.Carnage in Cardiff might be just what they need to begin and revive their respective careers.Tom and Joseph work at one of Cardiff’s many call centres.Tom is fed up of working boring jobs and living for the weekend.Joseph is just happy to have a job.Then there’s the Amstell brothers.Simon’s just escaped from prison. And he happens to be the father of Joseph’s girlfriend’s son.And his brothers happen to be psychopaths.These stories collide and intersect over a frantic few days of heavy drinking, drugs and ultraviolence, set against a backdrop of dystopian modern Britain....

Title : The Death of Danny Daggers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781511985550
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 236 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Death of Danny Daggers Reviews

  • Alison
    2018-12-04 13:16

    This is a highly enjoyable and ambitious first novel by Haydn Wilks. I was recommended this because I enjoyed Kill Your Friendsalthough I found this novel to be more similar to The Long Midnight Of Barney Thomsonbut still maintains its originality. Definitely worth a read if you are not offended by bad language, alcohol and drug abuse themes.At first I found the dialect (Welsh and Scots) difficult to read, however kudos to the author for his consistency, especially the hard work he has applied to punctuation in dialect. (I originally rated this 3.5* but the extra effort for the dialect has bumped it up to 4* after a lot of consideration).The novel is fast paced and forward moving, without really giving too much away. There are a lot of characters that, at times, made me wonder what they had to do with what happened to the main character. Lots of twists and turns along the way, kept me guessing right to the end. And I didn't expect THAT ending. I look forward to reading more of Haydn's work.*Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review*

  • Anamarija
    2018-11-19 11:20

    First of all I would like to thank the author for providing me with the book. This was a very fast read – I started it on the train home and then finished it on the plane with an hour to spare. I loved the multiple points of view. Rory was interesting on his own, but I will never not un-see Arthur Darvill when someone says Rory. The titular character annoyed the shit out of me. I hate irresponsible people and to be honest Danny seemed like the asshole part of youtube. But it is a much better way of incorporating the new celebrities into the traditional narratives. Zoella I am looking at you and your shitty book. It did however highlight the fact that you only need to lose 2 things and you are basically fucked in this world. Oh and the fact that when you are lost, it would be a much much much better idea to ask the people for help not for alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. Call me weird, but it’s the way I am. I got slightly jumbled up with the time changes, but that is because I suck and always disregard any info at the top, especially time. I really liked Ji Eun. As a foreigner in England I could somewhat relate, but then it’s always been my dream to there. Read the book for her. You’ll like her.

  • Donald Schopflocher
    2018-11-28 09:17

    Putatively a noir mystery, this novel is structured unconventionally. To begin, the mutilated body of Danny Daggers, a visitor to Cardiff, Wales has been discovered. Shortly the time frame shifts to several days earlier and the omniscient narrator unfolds the separate stories of many local characters by jumping among them. But not completely chronologically. The mystery for the reader becomes how the characters' temporal and spatial trajectories might intertwine and lead to an understanding of Danny's death. I found it a challenge at times to keep everyone's location in mind, especially at the beginning.With the exception of an older grizzled reporter, the characters are millennials, give or take. Most are unemployed, trapped in dead end jobs or petty crime, or still in school, and their concerns revolve around parties, drugs and alcohol, cell phones and social media, and seeking or maintaining relationships or at least companionship. Their interactions are often shallow and banal, but revealing nevertheless. As a retiree, I found the group and its members' behaviour quite intriguing, as I am so far removed from this culture, though I certainly recognize the concerns as spanning all generations. I did wonder if millennials are as obsessed with specific brands of tobacco, alcohol, and cell phones as the author/narrator evidently is.Overall the plot is clever, and the writing vigorous. The time frame of the novel was short so the characters had little opportunity to evolve. The ending felt abrupt and I wondered what might have happened to some of the characters in the aftermath. Despite these quibbles, I found this novel to be interesting and worthwhile. 3.5 stars would be fair.***I was given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review***

  • Maria
    2018-12-01 07:21

    I had a bit of trouble rating this book until I reminded myself that it is a first novel. Yes, there are a lot of things that can be improved - mostly through some good editing - but as a first effort, it's got great promise. I must admit that by the end, I wanted to kill Danny Daggers myself - he's a You Tuber famous for doing jackass stunts and not very likeable. I found two other characters much more sympathetic - Rory Gallagher, a older, down-and-out, former Fleet Street newspaperman and Ji Eun, a student intern at the newspaper where Rory is currently employed. The development of their mentorship-friendship lifts the entire book from being solely about the hopelessness of millennials' lives into something that leaves you wanting more. There are too many actors on this stage (editing out some unnecessary characters and the names of every brand of cigarette would be good), the timeline was hard to follow on a non-Kindle eReader (might be easier in paperback) and a map in the beginning for those of us who aren't familiar with the areas covered in Wales would all be helpful. There is a lot of violence in this story (consider yourself warned): between criminals and the police, within & because of family groups, and toward the homeless & the under-employed. The class system in the U.K. underscores all of this, as well as the question of what society has become when the best jobs we can offer educated young people is working at call-centres. That they feel the need to drink, do drugs, or have indiscriminate sex to try to "feel" life is worth living is to our shame. But, really, read this for Rory and Ji Eun - it's great to see that friendship (nothing sexual here) bloom.

  • Chesca
    2018-11-25 09:27

    Actual Rating: 1.45 starsARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest reviewI have a change of heart: IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU!I am so pissed. I feel like I wasted my time reading this book.I honestly thought that The Death of Danny Daggers had so much potential at first, but then, when I reached 60% of the book, I started being skeptical, asking myself why nothing noteworthy had started happening yet. I never had any problem with slow-paced stories before so I gave it a chance.Now I’m left in utter disappointment.The flow of events didn’t make me care for the characters. They were going through their lives as individuals, working and partying in most scenes. Danny was the worst of them. He had it all, but he just ruined himself and made things worse for him. He got himself in a wreck and he wasn’t even trying to save himself the right way. It was so obvious what he was supposed to be doing to rectify his situation, but he chose to not fix his problems.I think the ending was good for I was not able to predict it. It trying to give off a powerful message on how Danny Daggers lived his life, but it made most of the characters and their stories insignificant and useless. Why write long chapters about a bunch of people who wouldn’t even contribute much to answering the mystery! It was greatly unnecessary.So, overall, a big NOPE.

  • Mandy
    2018-11-23 12:32

    Danny Daggers is a young man who has a popular following on his YouTube channel, but it is obvious from the first few pages of this compelling novel that it is death that now awaits him not further fame. We follow him on his increasingly desperate peregrinations around Cardiff as his life spirals out of control. As we do so, we encounter a disparate crew of unsavoury characters – journalists, policemen, criminals, drug dealers. Slowly we begin to understand how all their paths intersect as the book moves towards its inevitable climax. Drugs, drinking, crime, violence, despair – it’s all here in this well-observed and perceptive portrait of contemporary society. It’s a brutal world that Danny Daggers inhabits, and one that the author seems to understand without either glamorising or sensationalising it. Well-paced, very cleverly plotted, with many twists and turns but which all tie up satisfactorily at the end, this is a very fine piece of writing indeed. The descriptions are vivid, the dialogue – often in the vernacular – is convincing, and the characters realistic. Sometimes it all felt a tad overwritten, and I felt the author was striving a little too hard for effect at times – there are some rather overblown metaphors on occasion, for example. And a bit of proof reading wouldn’t come amiss, either. But overall I very much enjoyed the book, and if you are happy to take some very gritty realism on board, then it’s a book I heartily recommend. I look forward to reading more from Haydn Wilks in the future – I sense he will have a very successful writing career based on this first novel.

  • Sean
    2018-12-09 12:14

    Received copy from author for review.I really enjoyed this book.It was well written and really flowed well.I found it a little bit hard sometimes with the language,Scottish,Welsh ,but overall it was very good.The story revolves around Danny and the unusual characters who all have a part to play in his life and death.So glad I had a chance to read this as really enjoyable.

  • Yvonne (It's All About Books)
    2018-11-17 09:24

    Finished reading: June 11th 2015"Ji Eun sat and sifted through the nuggets of Rory's narrative that she'd been able to understand, trying to piece them together into some coherent whole."*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***(view spoiler)[I was really looking forward to this read, especially since I haven't been reading enough good crime novels lately. The Death Of Danny Daggers sounded like an intriguing mystery with various storylines and a multi-cultural angle. I guess I did like the general idea of the story, but I was put off by the overwhelming amount of swearing used during most of the story. I don't mind swearing as long as it adds to the story, but I don't think this is the case in The Death Of Danny Daggers. The fact that I had difficulties understanding about half of the dialogues because of the Scottish/Welsh dialects didn't really help either. I'm a philologist and I normally love dialects in stories, but in this case it was truly to hard to understand for those who are not familiar with the Scottish and Welsh dialects. This made it hard to read the novel and it took away a lot of my reading pleasure. That said, I did like the fact that as a reader you only slowly find out what happened to Danny during the last days of his life. The way Haydn Wilks is able to connect the different storylines and main characters is also interesting. But I don't think I would recommend this one, unless you don't mind excessive swearing and are familiar with the Scottish/Welsh dialects.Danny Daggers is a student who loves to do stunts and it has made him quite popular on YouTube. What he doesn't know is that he is about to be in mayor trouble... As he is about to take on more drugs, alcohol and excitement than he can take. We read about his last days and also learn more about the characters that will play a role in those. Ji Eun, a Korean student that is doing work experience and is currently working with a veteran journalist Rory Galagher... The Amstell brothers always looking for more trouble and one of them just escaped from prison... Tom and Joseph working at a call centre and not quite enjoying it... All those stories soon collide and things are about to get really messy.I'm a sucker for a good mystery/crime read, so when I was asked to read and review The Death Of Danny Daggers I immediately said yes. Unfortunately, what sounded like a really promising story turned out to be something I just couldn't enjoy. The excessive swearing and difficult to understand dialects took away a lot of my reading pleasure and it took me a lot longer than planned to finish this novel. I normally don't mind violence, swearing, drugs etc, but I don't think its use was justified in this case. I still like the general idea of the story, but I guess I would have preferred a 'milder' version of the dialogue. (hide spoiler)]P.S. Find more of my reviews here.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Xan Holbrook
    2018-11-29 10:12

    In a strange way, British Literature is done a disservice by its maestros. That isn’t to say there is anything bad about our canon, just that their work has such staying power that they are near impossible to avoid imitating. If anyone must invoke University life, either in its grandeur or banality, they have the titanic figures of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis to navigate past. If dystopia or politics is to your liking, then George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and JG Ballard loom large over your field. If you want to put language and narrative itself into a blender, Jeanette Winterson and Salman Rushdie got there first. As for the phenomenon of Britishness itself, Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time takes some beating.However, let us not forget that even pulp tales have their guru in Graham Greene, a man who was so at ease with such work that he considered them separate to his main catalogue, referring to them as mere ‘entertainments.’ But, as hard boiled stories and characters go, the sheer weighted darkness and detail are hard to match.Nevertheless, Haydn Wilks’ sole-wearing debut ‘The Death of Danny Daggers’ is an admirable attempt by a young author to bring the Greene gene into the present day and into a rather apt setting. Cardiff has never been an open or particularly vibrant city, and Wilks wholeheartedly brings the noir strain kicking and screaming into a Millennium city in decline. As with the initial explosion of Noir as a genre, cynicism and depression have been the animating factors – modern Cardiff was built on the back of millennial optimism and has since been disillusioned by years of political apathy and economic slump.It is here that the hacks are becoming extinct, the police are becoming calloused and the people are becoming dispassionate. In this grey, rainy arena, a YouTube vlogger is found dead in the midst of his ill-timed and depressing national tour. The plot then takes a step back from the admittedly full-on and rather wearying opening sequence to replay the events leading up to the murder.The sharp working knowledge of the city’s walkways was most reminiscent of Greene, as the ominous sentry-go of Hale is meticulously drawn through in Brighton Rock and, albeit with a modern updating, is the near exact style of writing that Rory Gallagher (no, really) of Celtic Media Group finds himself stomping in.True to form with most stories, Journalism is depicted as the very essence of sloth and disgrace, albeit with different flavours than tales of old. Whereas something like Brighton Rock or Scoop showed the cynicism of hacks being fuelled by mindless self-indulgence, the rats depicted here are the last to leave a rapidly sinking ship. The world is going to hell and this bunch is riding first class.Even the victim is far from sympathetic – I mean, really, who has never fantasised about running over a group of simpering product shills with a lawnmower? The event itself is no less grisly for Mr. Daggers, but that really has to be read to be believed.The style, whilst resembling Greene, is also strangely reminiscent of other Noir mainstays like Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac and James Elroy – especially in the depiction of the inherent corruption of institutions from the police to newspapers to corporations – but ran through a filter of contemporary bestsellers like Ben Elton. This is slightly unfortunate because, whilst the drive and potential is there, the technique is some way behind. At times, Wilks’ reliance on by turns heavy-handed and oblique similies and thick stretches of dialogue (and, in the case of ‘optimeuphamistically’, impenetrable words) serves to nag. Realistically, there is a lot of ink that could have remained unspent.Don’t get me wrong, though – the writing, even at its most excessive, is not an author patting themselves on the back, but a vigorous enthusiast going hell for leather. When compared with the horrific conveyer belt fiction of Lee Child and James Patterson, Haydn Wilks stands tall and is, all things considered, a potential successor to Anthony Horowitz. This all will come in time, however, so one may relax and immerse oneself in a sneering, enjoyably nasty opening effort of a bright talent.

  • Sam
    2018-11-22 06:13

    Well I absolutely loved this book, and anyone who is a fan of the movie Twin Town will too. This follows the (mis)fortunes of three main characters and a plethora of additional side characters as their lives collide on an epic and entertaining scale as the rest of Cardiff plods on its usual way. First we come across the body of Danny Daggers, internet sensation, before heading across to meet Ji Eun as she tries to build a bit of work experience at a local paper, where outspoken Scotsman Rory ends up teaching her the grittier lessons of journalism. We then move back a week to when Danny first arrived in Cardiff and follow his misfortunes from there along with Ji Eun journalism education. Thrown into this mix we have Tom and Joseph, a couple of nice lads just trying to make their way in the world...and to have enough money to enjoy their weekends (and week nights) properly. Add to that the three Amstel brothers and their somewhat forthright approach to getting what they want the scene is set for a series of mishaps that would've worked out fine anywhere else but in Cardiff there is something in the air to make things go from bad to FUBAR before you know it.The writing is superb and as a Cardiffian extremely recognisable, familiar and surprisingly homely, as are many of the locations and travels made by the characters through the city. The characters themselves are also excellently written, developing well as the story does. Granted you don't necessarily like them all that much but then how many people do you really like in real life (now be honest to yourselves here), for me this reflected many of the characters that can be seen about town of a weekend (in fact I'm sure I've met a few of these people...). Granted there was a minor overabundance on some of the description but I didn't find this too problematic as the story was so engrossing it just became part of it. Also I wouldn't call this dystopian in the usual sense but it does have a certain otherness about it that nudges it in that general direction. Kind of like Twin Town in the sense that the series of events are so random and the results so unbelievable it just leaves you stunned for a moment or two, questioning whether it could really happen and how likely it would really be.So while there are a few little niggles (which I'm sure will be ironed out with practice and experience, this is a first novel after all), this is an excellently vulgar small-scale catastrophic story that you just need to read to believe. Go on, you know you want to (unless you don't like swearing or vulgarity then really don't...).

  • Guillem de Valles Ibáñez
    2018-12-07 13:24

    The author sent me an epub copy of the book in exchange of an honest review, so here I go...Usually I read books from well known authors, so in the beginning of the reading I was more focused on the writing style, trying to find something to justify my semi-unconscious prejudice against novel authors. After a few pages this bullshit faded and I began to actually enjoy the book. The story flows through a few characters, mostly male, none of them seeming a principal character at the very start (the title suggests that this role is given to Danny Daggers, but until more than half the book it doesn't appears so). The time lime is skewed like something from a Tarantino movie, but more or less you get to it relatively quickly. Some of the characters have strong personalities , and in general they tend to have a rather sarcastic voice with good humor points. The dialects are well represented (a big toast to Irvine Welsh!), and Ji Eun's difficult grasp to it is something that non-English readers will completely understand. The plot keeps getting stronger through the book, and with few exceptions (I will comment some of them in the next paragraph, SPOILERS ARE COMING) it makes good sense. Drugs have an important role in the story and many of the shitty decisions that some of the characters made are influenced by them, like it happens in real life. In general it's a good noir mistery book and I will recommend it to everyone that likes this sort of narrative. I found some things that doesn't make sense, specially ones related with technology. When Tom is telling his friend how he dumped Claire, he says that he had Claire's cell phone in his coat for several days and he discovered it when she calls to her own phone. Incredibly long battery charge. Also I found hard to understand how the Amstell brothers can follow Danny (mistaking him as Joseph) through all the city thanks to a cell phone that Joseph has used only one or two days. They never make the impression to be computer geniuses, the Amstell brothers.I am aware that this review may contain several mistakes related with my writing skills in English. I encourage to anybody reading this review to tell me about them!

  • Devon
    2018-11-13 10:17

    I received this book free through GoodReads FirstReads.I was super excited by the premise. I spend a lot of time watching Youtube videos so I was extremely intrigued by the description of the book. Also it’s set where I live. When I received my copy I was extremely disappointed right off of the bat. The cover was stretched and pixelated, but I can deal with that, it’s only noticeable on the words and I’m not that much of a book snob. It’s overall a pretty cover in my opinion. Then I noticed my spine seemed a little weird. The book has next to zero glue binding the cover on. I know this is a manufacturing problem. But the copy I got had a tiny amount of glue at the bottom of the spine holding the cover on. The top was completely void of it. There was also some glue in the middle so it stayed on. Well, it fell off the second day I had it. I’m so sad that the actual quality of the printed book dampened my opinion of this. But onto the actual story. Which most people read these for. So I was extremely disappointed with this book within the first 8 pages. Some of the writing and excessive commas threw me off. “His eyes then sat there, two big shameful balls, like two big shameful balls” For an example. But also the complete and utter butchery of how police procedure is handled. Refusing a client time to talk to his lawyer is actually an offense within itself, and you would definitely be struck off for the way these two cops act.This is my usual type of book, so the violence, drugs, swearing etc didn’t even phase me. But this book was over vulgar. There was so many things I absolutely hated about this book and I’m sad because I really wanted to like it. Also it’s supposed to be a dystopian? I didn’t see any of that. I did however not finish this book. I hated it. I stopped because the way it was heading I just had a feeling it was about to get pretty racist and I’m definitely not one for those types of books. Sad that I hated it. But if it appeals to you, enjoy it.

  • Colin Murtagh
    2018-11-24 13:33

    I got a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I'm in two minds about this book, a 3* review seems a little harsh, but 4* seems a little generous. The plot revolves around the death of a youtube celebrity, found killed in Cardiff. With the exception of one character, the majority are mid 20's, either out of work, or in dead end jobs. The one exception is Rory Gallagher, an old Scottish journalist, the problem I have with Rory is I can't help comparing him to Jack Parblane, and he doesn't quite stack up. Course I can't think of any journalist that does. Lets hit the high points first. The book is not chronological, it skips backwards and forwards a lot, it's got the possibility to be confusing, but it works out well. Likewise the view points change from character to character, and it does have a fairly large character list, which is just kept the right side of confusing. The characters all feel like real people, well rounded out. On the topic of characters, Cardiff itself is as much of a character as any of the people. I don't know if the depiction is accurate, but it does feel genuine. The plot itself rattles along at a fair pace, and the writing flows so you can easily lose an hour when you just meant to read a couple of chapters. On the other hand, there are a couple of pieces that annoyed me. The final showdown between Amstel and his ex is completely unbelievable, and out of character. By the time you get to the end, where you discover who actually killed Daggers off (and to be fair, I hadn't worked it out myself), you really just want it to be anyone. I'd do it myself given the chance, he really is that annoying. This is a very strong debut, there's some bits of editing that could be done to make it tighter, but that's the sort of thing that will come with experience. He is only going to get stronger, and it's going to be interesting to see where he goes next.

  • Shelby
    2018-11-12 10:07

    I got a free PDF of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review.I almost didn't make it past the first two chapters of this book and it was the type that I had to force myself through. The Death of Danny Daggers is a crime novel with converging timelines set in Wales. An Internet sensation is found dead and the rest of the book chronicals his last day, his acquaintances, and the press at various times during the 48 hours surrounding Danny's death. Although the premise is readable and the dialect interesting for those who enjoy a good accent, the novel itself is just too much. Too much dialect and slang, too many characters, too much unnecessarily elevated language, and a plot gimmick too ambitious for the current state of editing. As is, the story is one long inebriated haze with characters stumbling from drunk to drunk. This could all be wrapped up in a neat little package if the characters were fewer and more developed and the timelines truly ended in the same place. Instead the author lets Danny's storyline reveal the ending in gratuitous detAil and the result is less than satisfying. Promising, but needs significant work.

  • Lucy Shiels
    2018-11-28 12:10

    I was given this book to review by the author and I have to be brutally honest and say that I did not particularly enjoy it. From reading the blurb, the plot sounded really interesting but it has not been well executed. The storyline jumps around the different characters too erratically and the sequence of events was hard to keep up with - I found that I had to frequently go back and check what day/time the story had now moved to. The overall quality of the writing was good however, the use of vernacular language was very much in tune with the likes of Irvine Welsh. There were a couple of spelling mistakes but I have seen this before in other PDF review copies before. Overall, the author shows promise and I would be interested to read future works because I think with some more work/experience the novels will get better, but as for 'The Death of Danny Daggers' I do not recommend it.

  • Balthazar Lawson
    2018-12-03 13:09

    This is a chaotic book in desperate need of a good edit, both in the story and the actual text. There are many printing errors. As such, I also found it a frustrating story to follow as there were so many characters and events that didn't seem to be connected. The narrative jumped around too much. Of course they, mostly, came together but some seemed to be at a tangent and were perhaps given too much time and effort as there was little return for the investment.There is much potential in the story but it's questionable if it's worth the journey.Things are not what they seem.Note: I was given this free by the author in return for a review.

  • Stargazer
    2018-11-27 11:17

    What is the welsh equivalent of Tartan Noir? Well, that's the section you'd find this book in! Believable characters, enjoyable plot, but would have preferred it in book format rather than onscreen as i like to cosy around a book in bed. As a Scot i found the scottish and welsh parts easy to read, hardly noticed them (other than the term 'butt' which i was unfamiliar with) but it may interrupt the flow for some readers. I look forward to reading more of Haydn Wilks.

  • Earthman ZeroHeaven
    2018-11-24 07:35

    The Death of Danny Daggers was given to me by the author himself, for free in exchange for an honest review. I did a half reading and then later a full reading, and the novel is fun, engaging, and a clusterf*** of a ride full of intertwining characters and storylines that converge into a point at its most taut and anxious.The Death of Danny Daggers follows a YouTube celebrity as he becomes lost far from home on his journey to party professionally. The book starts with his death and alternates through past, present, and future to find his killer, track the journalists also working to break the story, and happenstance characters that collide with one another along the way.Academically, the novel assumes the position of commentary on modern youth, the elevated status of entertainment and social media celebrity, debauchery, and the post-modernesque misunderstanding of what it means to be ourselves and how to achieve knowing thyself. Further, as a way to illustrate the priority of entertainment over education and formality, the novel is riddled with typographical errors that are in themselves not wholly distracting; in fact, they are there--perhaps--purposefully, as if to say that the narrator is within the realm of this modern youth that values proper social media entertainment over diligent and focused education and traditional formality.I highly recommend this novel. However, I suggest a two-part reading experience: once at a half reading and then at a full read. The characters and situations, along with colloquial dialogue that is masterfully articulated, requires a bath before jumping into the pool head first.

  • Denny
    2018-11-19 09:08

    NOTE: The author gave me a free copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest review. After the first several pages of The Death of Danny Daggers, I came very close to giving up on it. In fact, I put it down for several hours and had to talk myself into giving it another shot. Even after re-reading the beginning with which I was so disgusted, I had to argue with myself vehemently for another several hours before allowing my gentle, caring, inner reader, the one who lives to give budding young authors the benefit of the doubt, to win out. I’m glad he did. The introduction became less objectionable on my third read-through, I very quickly became absorbed in the story once the frame was established, and I ended up enjoying The Death of Danny Daggers far more than I initially thought I would. As is my habit, I’ll dispense with the greatest of the unpleasantries before I lavish the praise. The introduction of the book, which sets up the frame of the narrative, is revoltingly offensive, involving nothing but flat stereotypes for characters: 2 brutish, bullying, close-minded constables who’ve already convinced themselves, absent investigation, that their suspect is a murderer; an unnamed appointed attorney identified only and repeatedly as a “weedy little ginger lawyer”; a clueless, hapless, homeless and very likely innocent suspect; and an ill-tempered, blustering, abusive Chief Superintendent. Throughout the introduction, several inappropriate sexual innuendoes are employed to compare the interrogation process to foreplay, but the controlling metaphor falls flat given the absence of any sexual tension between the participants and given that one of the metaphors is patently ridiculous, comparing the suspect’s eyeballs to testicles, specifically to “two big shameful balls beneath the loincloth of a medieval guardsman attempting to ingratiate himself with a sect of treasonous eunuchs.” What?!? I think you can see from that alone why I was almost tempted to give up on the book. Finally, the introduction ends with a misspelling of and absolute mischaracterization of the Sword of Damocles. So that sounds pretty bad, I know, but as I hinted, things quickly improve from there, beginning immediately with the introduction of one of the major characters, investigative reporter Rory Gallagher, a washed-up, past-his-prime, reflective, philosophical “boozehound newshound” from Scotland, who turns out to be a much better investigator and decent (despite his numerous major flaws) human being than most of the police and authority figures in the book.Wilks has a gift for characterization, and the book is filled with colorful, rounded, complex characters, far too many to attempt to name here. Wilks’ portrayal of his characters, as living, breathing, struggling people doing their best to survive and forge meaningful lives in a post-industrial, second-rate, dehumanizing minor city of a failed or failing welfare state, is the book’s greatest strength. In fact, that’s the true theme of the book. Yes, ostensibly it’s about solving the murder of the titular character, and that end is finally achieved, but more than that, The Death of Danny Daggers is about how mind-numbingly, discouragingly difficult it is to build a worthwhile life in modern society.It turns out that Danny Daggers himself is a vapid, spineless, selfish vagabond who gets exactly the ignominious and meaningless end he deserves. But just as the investigation into his death serves as the frame for the larger story, Daggers serves as the connecting thread of the discrete characters he encounters, however tenuously, throughout the tale.Several times as I read the book, the thought occurred to me that it would transition well to the small screen, maybe as a 3- or 4-season drama. There are certainly enough different and interesting characters in it, and enough connections between them given Daggers and the investigation into his death, to sustain a series for several years. It seems the author may think so as well, as becomes evident near the end, in one of the funniest moments in the book, when several characters who are brainstorming about an office presentation they have to give notice a news bulletin on the television about the current outbreak of murder and violence and the recent discovery of the bodies of two constables. One of the characters quips, “They’ll probably make a TV series about it, a gritty police drama.”! Just a little nitpicking before I finish: the ebook is badly in need of some copy editing. It is rife with errors in spelling, grammar, and usage. Wilks always uses “passed” when he should use “past”. He frequently uses “360⁰” turn when the context appears to indicate “180⁰” is meant and occasionally uses “quite” instead of “quiet”. There was also one cultural reference that seemed particularly jarring to me, when a character makes reference to the FBI not being likely to be eavesdropping, and it’s not likely the characters are going to be robbing the Pentagon. Given that the story is set in Cardiff, Wales, it would seem much more likely the character would refer to MI5 and Thames House rather than the FBI and the Pentagon, unless Wilks is making a statement about the pervasiveness of American t.v. shows airing in the UK, which he very well may be. And although it’s not a deterrent for me, the harsh language and pervasive graphic violence may be offensive to some readers.This turned out to be a really long review, but I felt like I owed it to Mr. Wilks, in exchange for the free copy of his ebook, to fully explain what I liked and disliked. The nitpicky errors I list in the prior paragraph are rarely more than mildly annoying and distracting. And despite my initial dislike of the introduction, I was finally able to make sense of it by deciding that Wilks is making the claim that the idea of the crime drama, given its tendency to portray events and motivations as black and white, is relatively absurd whereas the stories, in endless shades of gray, of unrelated but interconnected people are of far greater importance.

  • David
    2018-12-09 06:26

    Haydn Wilks has caught the squalid nature of much of modern life very well in this brutal story of a young man's death. I've not given anything away as the death is flagged up almost immediately in a Tarantino-esque multi-time layered plot; think Pulp Fiction, or you haven't seen that film, do. If Haydn is going for the title of the Welsh Irvine Welsh, he's a long way there, but I seem to remember the same was said of Niall Griffiths, whose excellent book 'Sheepshagger' I now regret letting go. Haydn's writing is much more direct than Welsh's, some might say crude, but it fits the violence tinged nature of his characters' lives. It also doesn't have all the stuff about philosophy, which Welsh tends to use to show how sophisticated he is and how three-dimensional his characters are.After reading a Philip Roth novel immediately before this, the writing and particularly the dialogue did seem immediately poor, but things soon settled down. Roth is a genius, but he's not that easy to read, so Haydn's writing was a relief for me. An opening scene of two policemen trying to fit up an obviously innocent vagrant did not set off any of the characters particularly well. Much more sympathetic police characters ie. like the ones we want to have, are introduced later. Haydn carefully introduces all the characters in turn and even gets some of them to have brief encounters with each other, in a sub-Dickensian manner. Likewise, a key plot hinge depends on a coincidence worthy of Oliver Twist. It's good to see strong female characters used to good plot effect.The characters do the most stupid things, but they are often drunk or stoned on some pretty heavy pharmaceuticals and let's face it, most of us have or would have done stupid things in that condition. The two police do something incredibly stupid under the influence of nothing, but I know from a former teacher who'd been a policeman previously that he'd witnessed a very similar incident. These are the things that drive a plot forward. In this case the plot is fairly unrelenting and it does achieve the state of the 'un-put-downable' cliche at times. These characters are well-formed and convincing as real people, rather than crude stereo-types. Even the most vile are shown to have vulnerabilities and heart; although that would be little consolation to their victims. The plot is not actually that incredible - compare it with the unfortunate Raoul Moat incident - but it is convincing. Many of the incidents will be occurring to people across the country, right now as I tap out this review, which means people will relate to this story, if they read it.One slight criticism is that while Haydn's Welsh characters come across very naturally, the same can't be said for the Aberdonian reporter, Rory Gallagher. Using the name of everyone's favourite Irish guitarist (deceased) also jarred with me slightly. Naturally as a heavy Irvine Welsh fan, I have the contrast with the latter's characters whose Scottish voices get into one's head, which non-Irvine readers will not have.Perhaps it's not such a good idea to use the names of various mobile 'phones quite so much, as these will date the plot and then detract from it as people forget about these devices entirely. Quite a few brand names get some promotion, which they may or may not be happy about. There is a lot of gross out stuff in this book, but personally I wouldn't have gone for the Lost Prophets reference, which is in poor taste plus it won't be long before no-one knows who the hell the Lost Prophets were.Being pedantic, has that hideous Americanism 'gotten' been adopted into vernacular Welsh speech, because it does pop up in the narration at a couple of points? I did pick up a few proof-reading things here and there, so it might be worth having a look through for future editions.Keeping track of a fairly large cast can be tricky, as the plot swings along and switches between time-zones. Don't worry about this, it comes together. Close to the end, I realised that character Tom had effectively played little part in the plot, apart from showing us all how shit it is to work in a call centre, if you have a brain: but then he did take his crucial part! I want to know what happens to him next.Four stars for this, which is generous for me. A strong, entertaining, while occasionally gut-wrenching story, with a strong sub-text of well-observed social comment. I'll be coming back for more.

  • Matt Dalton
    2018-11-26 08:28

    There are some benefits to being an avid reader, especially if you use sites like Goodreads to keep a log of your activity. It was due to Goodreads that I received a message from Haydn Wilks suggesting that I may like his debut novel as he had noticed that I had also read Ways to Die in Glasgow by Jay Stringer. In reply for an honest review, he was kind enough to provide me with a downloadable version of his book.Danny Dagger is everything that is wrong with modern society. You know the type; he has a YouTube channel on which he uploads videos of him generally being an ass and makes money from the sponsorship. He takes his “act” on tour, and we are introduced to him in Cardiff where his latest “event” is about to take place. This isn´t a story only about Danny Dagger however. There are several more threads to the story, intertwining a varying mix of characters into his demise.Ji Eun and Rory Gallagher work for the local rag. Rory is an alcoholic has-been and Ji Eun is a hopeful young Korean girl doing work experience. Their thread is an interesting one, but struck me as being pretty far-fetched. Daily disappearing acts and drink binges whilst on the job are the staple of their diet in the search for the next big scoop.Working in the local call centres (which is pretty much the only thing that I think happens these days in South Wales) are Tom and Joseph. Tom hates every moment, but knows that this is his lot. He's constantly late, regularly underperforms and only ever thinks about the next pub session. Joseph is just happy to finally have a job after a period of unemployment; he now has a way to provide for his girlfriend, Jodie and her son, Daniel.The Amstell brothers are linked to Joseph by way of Jodie. Simon, who is currently in prison, is the ex-boyfriend and also father of Daniel. He has a history of violent offences and his brothers are not exactly model citizens either. Due up for parole in the near future, it is strange timing when he absconds from prison and ropes his brothers into a plan to abduct his son and flee to Spain.As a debut novel, it´s a pretty decent effort. Some of the storylines are a little far-fetched but this does not detract from the enjoyment. The characters, although all pretty limited, are developed nicely and the interactions are regularly amusing. The plot is a little predictable in places but the delivery keeps it interesting.The individual threads were well constructed and each kept me interested in their own different ways and, as the story evolved, intertwined well. The pacing of each story was done fairly well and this helped to build tension and intrigue.The centre story itself was probably my least favourite one. Danny is a train wreck in so many ways. He acts like an idiot, makes decisions like an idiot and he is generally, well, an idiot. And that is the problem. He is so much of an idiot that I couldn't really believe that anyone could really be such an idiot. I´ve met some idiots in my time, but he really took the biscuit. Unfortunately though, he just had to be an idiot to allow the other threads time to develop whilst we waited for him to die.That is not to say that I could not connect on any level; I could. I felt some empathy for him. We´ve all been naive at times, although I struggle to believe any of us could have been as naive as Danny. Knowing from the off that he was going to die actually magnified the idiocy of his decisions, but by the end I had stopped feeling sorry for him - you make that many stupid choices, eventually it´ll catch up with you!My favourite thread was probably the one following the Amstells, strangely for similar reasons! Like Danny, the Amstells are pretty dumb and they make just as many dumb plans and decisions as Danny does. IT might seem strange to you that I would dislike Danny´s story yet enjoy the Amstells´ one for the same reasons, but there is some logic here. The Amstells were dumb. Like, inherently. It was always their destiny to be dumb, therefore their dumbness is entertaining. Danny, on the other hand, clearly has at least 5 brain cells and I just couldn´t get away from the fact that he should have known better.All in all, I enjoyed the book for what it was: the opportunity to escape reality for a few hours and be mildly entertained by the idiocy of idiots. It´s never going to win any awards, but it will make you chuckle to yourself from time to time.

  • Hana
    2018-11-15 09:27

    (I was sent a PDF of this book in exchange for an honest review)I am tentatively putting this book down after reaching around page 38 (157 of 963 in the pdf). I may try again in the future but for the time being i can no longer continue. This review will come in two parts: my reaction as a creative writing student, and my reaction as a reader.As a creative writing student, I have been taught to be aware of such things as grammar and sentence structure, linguistic choices and perspective, etc, as I read which, as anyone can imagine, can get really annoying as it takes a lot more to fully immerse myself in a story. In addition it stops me from enjoying books that I used to love, ones that are perhaps not as well written as they could be but are still good reads, as I am too busy deconstructing the writing.Within this book, the first thing that struck me was the use (or perhaps overuse) of strange metaphors and similes. Now, these can be genius as they create strong images for the reader in a unique way which can leave a lasting impact. However, they must be relevant, cleverly worded, and (most importantly) not drawn out. The image of the hobo's eyes as 'two big shameful balls' was funny, although the following description was a little abstract (unrelated to the overall story), and the fact that this image was drawn out and repeated over the next couple of paragraphs did not add to the writing, but drew attention to its oddness. There was a lot of repetition, not just with that simile. Describing a character as a 'weedy ginger lawyer' instantly brought him to my mind, but constantly, repeatedly referring to him as this simply becomes irritating. There was also a lot of telling and not enough showing, the author really needs to trust her audience more to get what she is trying to say without spelling it out. Related to this is the characterisation. I found each voice very similar, due to how detached the perspective was (and also, I suspect, because I haven't spent much time getting to know them). Whenever the author attempted to describe a character, whether physically or through some characteristic, it was very rushed and dense, much like an 'info-dump'. I understand that perhaps, because there were so many characters, the author wished for the reader to be able to see the differences early on, but it lead to very unnatural reading. I did not feel like I was getting to know each character, but rather reading a rather inaccurate character bio.The use of nonlinear storytelling is something very common in crime novels, and usually I find it a cliche trope that lazy writers use as they do not know any other way to create narrative tension. As I only read 38-ish pages of this book, I cannot tell you if this is the case here, but its use was an irritating discovery. The jumps between each character, and each time period, were too quick and made me feel rather seasick, especially when added with everything I complained about before. I could not get a sense of where i was, nor who i was there with.I was told that this book was similar to Sheepshagger by Niall Griffith, and yet it isn't. All the stylistic choices that made Sheepshagger so enjoyable were not present, neither was the 'gritty'-ness advertised. And while this was set in cardiff, it was not the same 'wild' wales that was the setting for Sheepshagger, it simply felt like any rundown city in britain. Other than the phonetic speech and 'butt', there was nothing distinctly welsh.As a reader, I found the amount of characters to be confusing and jarring. It would perhaps be a better idea to stick with the three main characters, rather than adding all the extra minor ones. In addition, the non-linear story telling, rather than create tension, simply took away a lot of the mystery (that build of suspense and tension, the whats going to happen next?) and left me very bored and uninterested with the story. I pushed as far as I was willing to go but, unfortunately, I couldn't bring myself to read any further. Despite all of this I think, with some improvement, Haydn Wilks could potentially be an excellent writer. This story also has potential, although I did not enjoying it as it is now. However, as I only read around 38 pages, please take my review with a massive heap of salt.

  • Kate
    2018-11-17 08:19

    ~I was provided a free copy of this novel by the author (thank you!), in exchange for an honest review. I will do my best to provide what I promised. There may be the occasional spoiler here to explain my points, but I'll try not to get too specific.~- This is really 3.5 stars for me, rounded up because such is my way. - The novel is pensive, which I loved, strung through with beautifully lonely philosophical passages. I was also impressed by the narrative's strong sense of empathy for even its least redeemable personalities, explaining people and considering their natures without actually condoning what it is they do. The book does an excellent job painting the oppressive, claustrophobic state of its characters' lives, too, which may have been my favorite bit. Everyone in the novel is trapped somehow, be it by a perpetually drugged-up mental state, a frustrating job or by being forced to literally skulk around a single house hiding from the police. Mr. Wilks did a wonderful job capturing both paranoia and hopelessness, here - each in plenty of flavors. I would say the story gets particularly strong near the end, during the inevitable tumble downwards to witnessing Danny's actual death. I was a little put off by the first few scenes - which seemed to be trying over-hard to shock me, and kept repeating descriptions - as well as by the sheer number of characters I had a difficult time keeping apart, but I think it was worth it to witness the novel's self-destructive, consuming melancholy. - Unfortunately, there were several distracting typos and grammatical errors throughout this book... Nothing a good once-over by an editor couldn't solve, though. I was mostly frustrated by incorrect word choice ("quite" instead of "quiet," for example), and in one instance a sentence that cuts off and then starts again, as though the whole thing had been supposed to be edited out. I feel the story's potential was hindered somewhat by inconsistent editing, I guess, as I sometimes found myself thinking things like, "And maybe a comma there, and maybe another comma thereeee...." As you can tell by my rating, it wasn't enough to throw me totally out of the story, but it happened frequently enough that I'd say it's worth a mention. - Some of these characters are nicely complicated - I particularly liked Joseph, Bruce, Simon and Ji Eun. I wasn't sure what I thought of Danny at first, but by the end I think his claustrophobic, panicked mind turned out to be one of the most interesting things in the novel. He's restless and trapped, spiraling, for most of the story... This flitting, battered personality is represented by a lot of creative means, like through the way he wears a name he can't explain when questioned instead of his original name, and the way he seeks "art" in fleeting internet sensation, through daredevil stunts and drunkenness... Everything comes together to create a haunted, broken man. Very nicely done. - This may just be me, but I was distracted by some of the dramatically written character accents, as well. Rory was a neat character, but I think I would have appreciated him more if his voice had been written the way he heard it in his head. It's funny to have his be the only accent written so dramatically, in my opinion. - I liked a lot of the grimy concrete details given here - someone's gasping throat sounding like a stopped-up toilet, for instance. Just a note. The haunting factor of violent descriptions can make or break a novel for me, but I think there were a few really good nasty scenes in this one. ALL IN ALL, I found this novel hard to get into but very heartfelt and lingering by the end. The futility and claustrophobia here is a little kafkaesque, the obsession with brand names perhaps part of the social commentary. If you're in the mood for something quick that includes lots of drug use, cussing and smashed skulls, I'd recommend giving it a go. If you're turned away by dramatically written accents and scattered pacing, this may frustrate you. I liked this more and more as I went on. So if you don't like the beginning.... In my opinion, it gets a lot better. THANK YOU again for the book, Mr. Wilks!

  • Rosie
    2018-11-27 13:23

    I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.SummaryWhen I first received The Death of Danny Daggers, I was excited to read it. The premise sounded interesting and a lot of fun to read. However, it is a long book and I was worried I might not get past the first few pages – they are full of very crude and over-the-top descriptions, so much so that I could not really take what I was reading seriously. Once I got past that, however, the book turned into something very different and I was very much taken by it.PlotThe plot of this book revolves around, as the title suggests, the death of a YouTube star known as Danny Daggers. The book begins with his body being found, but then steps back a few days into the past, intertwining the lives of a plethora of characters as the events leading up to his death are explored.I really enjoyed the way the book’s conclusion was built up. While I did think that it could have been a little shorter in length in some places, I found myself completely intrigued as to what happened. I did have my suspicions, but in no way do you never know for sure given the wide variety of characters and the jumping timeline.CharactersI did find that, while the plot was present throughout, this book was very much about the characters. Wilks did a fantastic job of making the large cast distinctive and developing each of their individual stories until the different threads got tied together. None of the characters were in a particularly good point in their lives, each with their own demons, so it was great finding out about them and seeing how they fitted into the over-arching plot.However, some characters were more relatable and enjoyable to read than others. I had two favourite story-lines because of the characters involved. The first of these was the Amstell brothers due to their violent nature and family dynamics – you could never guess what they would do next. My favourite was that of Ji Eun, a Korean girl who is going work experience at the local paper, and Rory Gallagher, the journalist who takes Ji Eun under his wing. Their friendship is developed beautifully, the characters are a delight to read and I ended up looking forward to their part of the book the most.World/SettingThe Death of Danny Daggers is described as being set in a dystopian Britain. I, however, could not see where the dystopian description came from. Instead, the book seems to be set in modern day Wales. The items on the news, references to popular culture and Danny Daggers being a youtuber seemed to be proof of this modern day setting.Despite that, the setting really captured the dark, despondent feel of the book. With murder and a large number of down-and-out characters, you find yourself completely drawn into the world that is depicted in the pages. I also really enjoyed how it was set in Wales as I have never been there before, and it is not often that I come across a book set in the country.Final thoughtsThis is not a book for the faint of heart, or those who are disturbed by heavy alcohol and drug abuse and/or swearing. It is, however, a book that really captures the darker side of humanity and introduces the reader to a large number of interesting characters. It is sadly brought down by the first part of the book as I can see how that can turn a number of readers off, but the rest of the book is a fascinating read.Rating: 3.5/5

  • David Kenvyn
    2018-12-03 05:07

    To begin at the beginning: if you are deeply offended by swearing and bad language, especially if it is done by an authority figure like a police superintendent, then you should not read this book. If you expect a police procedural to be written as an Adam Dalgleish investigation, conducted with the beautiful manners that he exemplifies, then this is not the book for you. If on the other hand, you are looking for the Welsh equivalent of Tartan Noir, you may well have found gold dust. [I wonder what they call the Welsh equivalent of Tartan Noir. I could suggest Iechyd Noir, except the Saesneg would never be able to pronounce it, which rather undermines the idea of a genre name for selling books.]Anyway, this is a romp through the Cardiff underclass. It centres around Danny Daggers who has become a YouTube sensation because he ate a piranha on video. If that does not give you an idea of what you are in for, then I will try to do so without giving too many details of the plot away.The story begins with the body of Danny Daggers having been found in the River Taff, and the assumption that a tramp has committed a murder. But Rory Gallagher, a local journalist, whose career trajectory has been from Aberdeen to Cardiff via London, is able to corroborate the tramp's alibi by finding a dead, gutted seagull near the crime scene. The story then sets out to explain how Danny Daggers came to be found dead in the River Taff. The first thought of the local police is to blame the Amstell brothers, a family of not very intelligent Cardiff lowlifes, who have been on a murderous rampage through the city since Simon, the eldest, escaped from prison a few days prior to the murder. Rory Gallagher and Ji Eun, a Korean student on work placement as a journalist, get caught up in all this, as do various others. And it is the interlocking of these various stories together that forms the basis of the plot.The problem I had was that I was not able to sympathise with the characters, which is not to say that I did not want to know what happened next. This book is a real page turner. You might not like the characters, but you do want to know what disaster is about to fall on them. I suppose that Rory Gallagher and Ji Eun could be sympathetic, if Rebecca Brooks and Andy Coulson had not destroyed the idea of the investigative journalist as hero. Joseph could be sympathetic except for his ability to deliberately start fights. The Amstell brothers are just thugs, even if they do not deserve what they get. And so it is possible to work through the whole range of characters until you come to Danny Daggers himself, an amoral hedonist lacking redeeming features. And, of course, you know he is going to die because that is where the story starts.The story however is told with a verve that will carry you forward. You will be caught up in wanting to know what happens next. The stupidity of the central characters will leave you breathless. The situations in which they find themselves will make you gasp. You will probably feel sorry for them even though you do not like them. You will worry that this is an accurate vision of a society created by Thatcher and Blair over the last 30 or so years, a society based on consumerism with nothing of substance to consume.And you will end up feeling sorry for Tom, who is caught up in the maelstrom, and who will probably have to take the blame.

  • Lizzy Baldwin
    2018-12-07 07:23

    This book just sang to me from the blurb I thought yes this will definitely be up my street. The book follows the death of Danny Daggers as he staggers through Cardiff half drunk, half stoned. We meet a plethora of different characters; Ji Eun an intern at a local paper and her mentor Rory Gallagher a drunken journalist who’s intriguing take on life was a brilliant comedic tale to watch play out. Tom and Joseph who work at call centres, trying to make a life for themselves and the terrifying Amstel brothers. As more and more characters are woven in (Jodie, Danny, Frank and co) the lives of all the characters start to interweave; at the same parties, pubs, gigs whilst the author holds back just how Danny Dagger, internet star finally comes to a grizzly end.That’s the boring bit out the way onto the good stuff. The writing is brilliant, it has a Cardiff tone and the links to the city and the lifestyle/language/landscape were spot on. You can tell the author has really gone to town here, making sure everything is just spot on. The characters are well written and extensive; even the smaller roles such as the Amstel brothers are really worked to make sure they have characteristics. It’s really well done and although you’re unlikely to like almost any of them (Ji Eun and Rory excluded) for me it works because you become invested in their lives and the stories being woven about them. The writing is fresh and loaded with expletives, and words such as mun and butt which you do get used to after a while. This author has really dabbled in making you feel like you’re wandering through Cardiff and as a reader I really appreciate that.The language is at times overly done, for me I like that, but I can see that some might find it over heavy on the description. Sometimes it feels a little like you’re wading through toffee but that’s how I like it. Dystopia? Maybe not quite the right word, it doesn’t quite sit with the books I read that feel like a dystopia but I understand the feeling of the tales being unbelievable and the shock factor is done with skill. The ending for me lacked a little clarity, I would have liked to have seen Ji Eun’s and Rory’s stories tied up a bit more because she was one of the only characters I liked. Additionally I thought the last few chapters were a bit rushed; we build so extensively towards the ending and it falls a bit flat. There are more loose ends than I would like but with so many characters maybe I’m asking too much. There are a couple of spelling and grammatical errors but they can be easily tightened up.However I bloody loved this novel, it held me in a way that only certain novels do. There was book about year ago that I read called Remember to Breathe by Simon Pont (I mention this book all the time) and I haven’t found anything like it since. THIS IS IT, MY NEW BOOK TO IMPLORE TO GO GET A COPY NOW MUN. It’s dark, foreboding and chilling, it has angst, terrifying characters and real life stories told in a way that transports you to the gritty ketamine fuelled streets of Cardiff. Go and read it, unless you hate swearing (maybe) but go, add to your TBR’s and let me know if you found it as brilliant as I did.*I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Max
    2018-11-18 10:23

    I came to read THE DEATH OF DANNY DAGGERS when the author, Haydn Wilks found me on Goodreads. Haydn thought I might enjoy the book, based on how I had reviewed some other offbeat UK crime novels. I was offered a free copy in exchange for an honest review. DAGGERS started off feeling a little over-written, but quickly found its voice and rhythm. I confess that it was a little difficult to get into the dialogue at first, so heavily laden it is with Welsh slang spoken by many of the characters, and the phonetically written, thick Scottish dialect spoken by one of the main characters. This soon became a point of charm, constantly being reminded of the small-city Wales locale as I was. This is a crime novel, but in a roundabout way. The crime begins the story and is present throughout, while some other crimes come in and take a more center - though never fully center - stage. Instead this book lives and breathes through its characters, marinating in the relationships and conversations, wandering with them through their days. There are many characters; at times I felt there were too many, as I lost track here and there of who was whom, at least by name, but Wilks balances the large cast well. Some characters become more central as things unfold, some come in for a short period and fade out of the story very naturally, while leaving their mark for the time they are around. I often felt this was more a long series of vignettes over the course of a few days in this small Welsh city, but generally, when this would happen, the plot would come back to the forefront to move things along. As the book unfolded, I could see the complexity of plot - or, perhaps more aptly, the series of events - that was lurking below this extended stay in the various characters' lives. Even though these characters were all terribly flawed, they have their distinct voices and charms, and I enjoyed the time I was spending with them. The story unfolds in two time periods, starting off after the titular crime and then going back to several days earlier so we can see how we eventually got there, while returning to the afterwards on several occasions to reveal something that continued to make the main "before" story more compelling. This was a challenge at first, because the time jumps back and forth are denoted by dates and time stamps, which my reader's eye generally skips over - this caused me some confusion at first, though I did figure it out and adapt. I enjoyed DAGGERS much more than I expected to and I am throughly glad that I got the chance to read it and meet a new author with a compelling style and voice. I am reminded a great deal of Charlie Williams and his Mangel series in the heavy, heavy use of regional slang and very offbeat, bottom-feeding cast of losers, which I say as a compliment. I recommend DAGGERS to anyone who enjoys Charlie Williams, Douglas Lindsay or the great UK crime films of Guy Ritchie (SNATCH, or LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS).

  • Karin Montin
    2018-11-18 05:35

    I read a review copy of this new novel, which appears to be self-published. As a fan of British noir who hadn’t yet read a book set in Wales, I was predisposed to like it—and I did. The plot is just convoluted enough. The coincidences don’t strain credulity. The characters are well drawn and the dialogue sounds authentic. Cardiff and surroundings are well described. The humour appealed to me. There was just one scene that I found overly violent, when one character goes beyond self-defence in a way that seemed very unlikely.There are a few problems, though. The first is the confusing time line. The story starts with Danny Daggers being found dead, then we have a flashback to when he arrived in Cardiff and start working forward. Each chapter is headed with the time of day and sometimes the date, which is theoretically useful because there is a lot of back-and-forthing with several sets of characters whose interwoven stories eventually converge. But a print version would be better than an e-book for anyone who, like me, can’t retain that info for long. I found it really hard to keep track. The second problem is the lack of copy editing. Commas are important, and they’re not always where they’re needed. For instance, it took me a long time to realize that “butt” was a term of address and not a tag word like “eh” or “like.” Commas would have helped. A number of butts could have been deleted to good effect, as well, because there are rather a lot. The word whence is overused and occasionally misused. In fact, there are a lot of mistakes in need of correcting.The third problem is the lack of structural editing. I’ve already mentioned the confusing time line, but there are also long anecdotes thrown in that are actually interesting (local colour, youth culture), but superfluous to this particular novel. The author should have saved them for another book or short story. I felt like I was wading through them to get to the next point on the story line.YouTube sensation Danny Daggers represents the stunt-loving, binge-drinking, phone-dependant youth increasingly common now. He travels around, but it doesn’t really matter where he is, because he seeks basically the same experiences everywhere. Of course, things go seriously awry in Cardiff. Like a typical noir antihero, he makes all the wrong choices. Unfortunately, he’s not a character I really cared about.On the positive side, I enjoyed following Rory Gallagher and Ji Eun around. They bring their journalistic curiosity and objectivity to the developing crime stories and as a Scot and a Korean, they have an outsiders’ perspective on life in Wales. Overall, Haydn Wilks can write and he has a unique knowledge of Welsh, English and Korean culture. I look forward to his next novel, which I'm sure will be even better.

  • Jeremy S
    2018-11-15 13:11

    Read more hereThe Death of Danny Daggers is as close as I have ever come to reading an Irvine Welsh book without actually reading Welsh. And this is not a detriment to Haydn Wilks, but a compliment. Wilks creates his own style, crafts his own, original yet strangely familiar book, that I lapped up voraciously. The foul-mouthed characters are all lovable, even the dim-witted Danny Daggers. The amount of hell he goes through in the book, well I'll leave the specifics for you to discover, but frankly, you can't help but feel sorry for the guy, even if he is the manifestation of what we hate in our "Vine/Youtube Sensation" era.At times, I wondered to myself if there were too many characters, too many people that I was supposed to care about and follow, but the beautiful thing was, all of these people brought a new flavour to the book. They brought stories that made you laugh or cringe. They create connections meaningful to the plot (and not), and they were well rounded. There were no filler characters in my opinion. If you remove one person from this hoard of players, the book may not have worked as well as it did.The theme throughout the book that stuck with me the most, over and above the violence, language, sexual nature of it, was that Cardiff seemed like this void, this black hole that no one wanted to be a part of, but were drawn toward without a thought. It was like the book was perpetually rubbernecking a bad car accident, not being able to turn away. Between the mocking jabs at someone coming to study English in Cardiff, to the fact that no matter how many times Danny Daggers tries to leave, he somehow ends right back up in the center of town, right down to a journalist who left and worked elsewhere in Europe only to return and hate his publisher and the city he lives in. It was strange to read a book that made you feel trapped yourself, like every time you moved on to the next break in time, you were hoping you might escape, that someone, anyone, might just escape Cardiff.All in all, I will say that if you are a fan of Irvine Welsh or a fan of debauchery and foul-mouthed characters with crazy lives, you will love The Death of Danny Daggers. I would highly recommend you read it.***I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

  • Matias
    2018-11-16 10:34

    First and foremost, thanks to the Author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.Overall, it was a good reading, especially considering it's Wilks' first novel. The characters look carefully designed, although a little bit stereotypical, as I suppose was the author's intention to exaggerate the underlying dark comedy feel of the main story. Among them, downfallen national press journalist Rory Gallagher definitely steals the scene from antihero protagonist Danny Daggers, and I wish I could read more of the former's (mis)adventures, as I got a glimpse of some of them throughout the book. The main character himself is outlined in a way that makes you really grow to hate and, by the end of the novel, it makes you perfectly clear why he died in the first place, even before knowing how.Out of my 4-star rating, I gave one just for the backdrop, set in contemporary Cardiff and its environs, so beautifully detailed and displayed by the Author: he sketches a few modern landmarks at the very beginning of the book and then expands it gradually to encompass the whole scene, without overwhelming the reader with too many names and locales she may not be familiar with, but, on the contrary, intriguing her to learn more of the urban area where the novel is staged.The main story arc would be your quite typical mystery murder case, if not for the reversed, or better altered, timeline of events, constantly reminded by meticulous date counters throughout the book: I confess I didn't take particular note of this time-tracking technique, but it actually didn't break or otherwise hurt the pleasure of reading this genuine work, so I guess it's just an added level of enjoyment for the most detail-oriented readers.The language style is just fine, not particularly literary, but nevertheless, as the everyday encounters depicted in the book demand, full of small talk and colloquial speech. The sporadic use of vernacular accents wasn't surprisingly hard for me to understand, at least for the Scots dialect, since I already chewed some of it from I. Welsh's novels: it's a another layer to this book, but one that shouldn't refrain the reader from perusing it.