Candy – Kevin Brooks

“It’s hard to imagine life before Candy. Sometimes I sit here for hours, staring into the past, trying to remember what it was like, but I never seem together very far. I just can’t see myself without her. Abut the best I can manage is the last half-hour before we met, the last few moments of my pre-Candy existence, when I was still just a boy…”

When Joe makes his way into London centre for a doctors appointment he doesn’t realise it will change his life. While he’s trying to work out which way to go a girl calls out to him, and from that moment he’s hooked. Candy is not just any girl though, she’s amazing, she’s beautiful and she’s dangerous. But joe doesn’t know that whilst they chat over coffee, he thinks she’s incredible. However as joe finds out more about Candy and finds himself being dragged deeper into her world and soon he must decide if love and hope are worth fighting for. 

***
Whilst I knew the premise of Candy before I started reading, I really didn’t expect to find myself pulled into the story as much as I was and definitely didn’t expect to be overwhelmed with good feelings towards Candy! 
It’s fairly obvious that Candy is a prostitute as soon as you meet her… Or at least it was to me. I found myself telling Joe to back away quickly but she soon won me round, until Iggy turned up of course. When we meet Iggy his presence on the page is just incredible, he jumps out at you and he terrified me more than any horror story ever has and I just wanted to get away from him. When Joe leaves Candy and Iggy in the restaurant and eventually gets home he still can’t stop thinking about her and life turns into a blur.
 I loved the fast pace of the first few pages but things were a little odd with the pacing after that, things would go fast then slow than so quick you could blink and miss something! I suppose this kinda helped in a way though because the book is mainly about falling in love and things do get messed up like that when it comes to love. The books also about crime, prostitution and drugs though and I think it was handled quite well. Mental health also comes into play and I thought that the topics Candy deals with were quite shocking for a book that is so highly commended. 
I loved Joe as a character but his voice was quite strange, it was all told from his point of view as if he was looking back at it all which was great but confusing in places because it went from present to past and back again. I loved Candy’s presence and how she seemed so alive and loveable even though a lot of the life came from drugs and she wasn’t in such a loveable industry… There aren’t many characters of note other than Iggy, who was awful and scary, but Gina, Joe’s sister, and Mike, her boyfriend, were incredible and I particularly loved Gina and Joe’s relationship. Joes parents were pretty vacant, especially his mother who we don’t even meet, and I think that might have been why joe was so messed up about a few things, he did seem a bit immature but grew up fast when he needed to and made the right choices when it mattered.
I was really impressed with Candy and the way Kevin Brooks handled everything. This was my second Brooks novel and I will definitely be picking up more in the future, he’s an author who everyone should check out.

Candy was published in 2005 by Chicken House Books. My copy was given to me as a Christmas gift. 

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  • I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Kevin Brooks is a master of gritty contemp in my eyes 🙂

  • I read this last year and enjoyed it. Great review.