Something occurred to me whilst I was reading The Student by Iain Ryan. And that is, more people should be reading The Student by Iain Ryan. If you like your crime fiction dark and gritty, suffocating under the humidity of tropical Queensland, Ryan’s latest book is the one for you.
Nate is a drug dealer, but when his supplies start to dwindle he seeks out his supplier, Jesse. Only problem is, Jesse has gone missing. When a couple of disgruntled bikies turn up looking for a considerable sum of money, Nate needs to find Jesse and fast.
There isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking with Ryan’s story, but what it is a fast paced noir thriller featuring an excellent cast of characters, a few dead bodies and some homemade porno tapes! Set in the mid 1990s, The Student drops numerous musical references, walkmans are cool, and so is this story. Nate is a little bit like Alice in Wonderland. He goes willingly down the rabbit hole and ends up in a world he probably knew existed but always wanted to keep at arm’s length. Initially, Nate seems like just another junkie dealer, but as things progress we become quickly invested in his future, however short it may seem. His family history really adds some depth to his character. He helps out his parents with some cash from his sales, and his internal thoughts lead you to believe that he isn’t such a bad kid, he just got in with the wrong crew.
There are numerous twists and reveals in The Student. Everything plays out realistically, ends are tied up and the last few chapters in particular are excellent. I felt this story got better and better with each chapter. There is always something happening. The pacing is superb, the writing is good and although it feels more like a long novella, there is enough meat on the bones of the characters and depth in the story for you to feel satisfied at the books end.
This book made me realise that I need to get back and read the rest of Iain Ryan’s books on my TBR.
4/5 cones from the Grim Reader.
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