I am delighted to share my review today for Tick Tock by Simon Mayo. I have not read any of his books before, but if his latest one is anything to go by I will be reading them.
It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.
Before you know it, it spreads. Elsewhere across the globe, it emerges, small outbreaks at first, contained groups of people, young and old, and suddenly it’s a plague – and ten days later it’s killing people. The hospitals are overflowing and there is no cure. There is a paranoid panic which sets friend against friend, neighbour against neighbour. Where does the world go from here?
In the north London school where it is first discovered, head of English, Kit Chaplin is struggling to understand what he is witnessing. Even eminent bacteriologist and his partner Lilly Slater can’t help him. But as the virus rips through the school and into the outside world, the world starts to take notice. Kit is more concerned about his students – and his young daughter, Rose – but little by little he gets sucked into where this mystery illness might have come from. And how it’s going to threaten his world.
Tick Tock is the compelling new novel from master storyteller and legendary DJ, Simon Mayo. It tells the story of a different kind of pandemic through the eyes of three people at the heart of the storm. Utterly exciting, urgently contemporary, piercingly insightful, it more than confirms the promise of his bestselling and acclaimed first thriller, Knife Edge.
I had seen this book getting some good reviews and decided it was one I really wanted to read. I mean the first paragraph in the synopsis – “It starts quietly enough. A tick tick ticking you can hear in your ear. Tinnitus, you think. It will pass. But it doesn’t. It gets worse – and then you pass it on.” that really was the hook for me!
This is a big story but one that has a small amount as far as the cast of characters goes. They are father and Daughter, Kit and Rose and Kit’s partner Lilly and her daughter Jess. The story focuses mainly on Kit, Rose and Lilly, as circumstances and events mean they come together for various reasons further in the story.
It has not been long since the Covid pandemic and this is referred to in this story as something that has happened and the world has moved on. The ticking can be heard not only by the person who emits it but also heard by those close to them. For me, this is a step forward from a cough or sneeze that we were all distancing ourselves from over a previous couple of years.
The author does use some of the reactions that we saw from Covid in this story and then elaborates on others. Pandemic and panic, social media and public opinion are something that goes hand-in-hand with this story. It adds to the tension and especially when the clicking then turns into deafness and then death.
I liked how the author brought things to a quiet presence, where people didn’t wear headphones and music playing loudly and while it sounds peaceful it came across as very ominous and quite a scary atmosphere. You need to be able to hear if people are clicking and therefore if they are infected. So this was a great move within the story.
The characters come across as trustworthy, Kit is a Head of English, Rose is a student and Lilly is a known virologist. This adds a credence to the feel of the story as such because we are talking about two adults who are educated and having the daughter involved means they have access to the modern generation’s use of technology and social media.
This was a gripping story and one that I really enjoyed. It was a tense read and one that I read easily over two sittings. I have not read any of this author’s previous books so I am looking forward to changing that.
This is one for those who like a story that is tense, well-paced and has a lot of theories that are discussed. I like how the characters are forced together to search for their own answers and this again is where the choice of characters and their roles come into play so well. This was one that had quite a few twists and I wasn’t entirely sure where the author was going to go or how it would end, definitely kept me hooked and I would definitely recommend it.
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