Image: T by Alan Fyfe Bookcover (via Goodreads)
What determines a five-star rating? It has to be well-written, that's a given. The story has to be great too. It has to be fresh - not just a riff on an existing trope. These factors combined could get a book a four-star rating. The magic factor that tips my reviews to five stars is what I call the persistence factor. Not the persistence of the writer, though this is clear in this work, but persistence in the mind of the reader.
Image: Mandurah (tourist photo via Grayline)
'T' is all of these things. Gritty, raw and honest without being unnecessarily graphic. It tells the story of the meth-epidemic that has made Perth and in the case of 'T', its satellite city of Mandurah be awarded the dubious title of 'Meth Capital of the World'. 'T' leaves the reader thinking about things way beyond completing the novel with tremendous persistence.
Fyfe tells a grim story of stark reality without glorifying or demonizing the issue. The work centers on T's (short for Timothy) story of meth user to addict, dealer and more.
This is not a story that would feature on the Mandurah Tourist Association's must read lists. Mandurah, a tourist and retiree focused seaside town 60 km from Perth would probably be known for many other things. 'T' illustrates the scourge of meth can permeate every society, particularly those where too much time and money can set some on an unsavory path.
Image: Meth pipe (via Hubpages)
The blurb compares Fyfe's novel with that of Helen Garner's 'Monkey Grip'. Even with the generational (and drug of choice) difference factored in, Fyfe's book is far superior.
I look forward to Fyfe's future works with relish. Highly recommended.