Synopses & Reviews
In her stunning debut, Nicola Monaghan lays bare the gritty underbelly of life in Nottingham, England.
Very early on, Kerrie-Ann begins to dream of the world beyond the rough council estate where she lives. Her father is nowhere to be found, her mother is a junkie, and she is left to care for her little brother. Clever, brave, and frighteningly independent, Kerrie-Ann has an unbreakable will to survive. She befriends her eccentric, elderly neighbor, who teaches her about butterflies, the Amazon, and life outside of her tough neighborhood. But even as Kerrie-Ann dreams of a better life she becomes further entangled in the cycles of violence and drugs that rule the estate.
Brilliant, brutal, and tender, The Killing Jar introduces a brave new voice in fiction. Nicola Monaghan's devastating prose tells an unforgettable story of violence, love, and hope.
"The thrills and horrors of life as a young drug dealer play out against a backdrop of suburban decay in Monaghan's sharp-edged debut. The narrator, Kerrie-Ann, nicknamed 'Kez,' lives in Nottingham public housing with her heroin-addicted mother. By the age of 10, Kez is working as a drug courier for her mother's dealer boyfriend. By 13, she's had an abortion and is dropping Ecstasy; when her mother leaves, she's making enough money on her own to take care of her younger brother, Jon, and to save money for a better life. In the meantime, she shacks up with another dealer, Mark, whose tenderness transforms into violent possessiveness as his heroin addiction gets the better of him. Though Kez's lifestyle involves her with crimes worse than dealing drugs, her principled discipline and vulnerability are what make the reader root for her. Monaghan writes in a heavy but readable dialect ('any normal gell'd of talked to her mam about it'; and a liberal spattering of 'owt,' 'summat' and 'wi') that fans of Irvine Welsh will recognize. This novel could have easily fallen into clichs of juvenile delinquency and teenage disaffection, but the stark material and unsentimental prose make for a wrenching look at devotion, crime and violence." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Gripping, mile-a-minute British debut....What could have been just another vapid novel about sex, drugs and violence is rescued by Monaghan's evident familiarity with the culture she depicts and her gift for nuanced observation. Enthralling." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Utterly gripping reading about a 'dead stormy' coming-of-age." Booklist (Starred Review)
"The Killing Jar
reads like Hermione Granger's post-rave walk through the streets of A Clockwork Orange
....You should read it because there's enough chemical punch to leave you pleasantly buzzed. You should read it because sometimes a shot to the face isn't such a bad thing." John Burgman, Esquire
(read the entire Esquire review
About the Author
Nicola Monaghan grew up in Nottingham, England. A career in finance took her to New York, Paris, and Chicago, but she gave it up to pursue an MA in creative writing at Nottingham Trent University. She lives in Nottingham.