The Death of Danny Daggers by Haydn Wilks
Cardiff. The last few days of summer. Danny Daggers is about to die. He just doesn’t realise it yet. A Leeds University student with a very popular YouTube channel, Danny Daggers is taking his alcohol-downing stunts on tour. He’s about to find out that not everyone’s a fan.
I really enjoyed this.
Danny Daggers is dead at the beginning of the novel, and Wilks then throws us back in time to show us the string of misfortunes leading up to the event. These are given to us piecemeal, and slowly, creating an untold suspense after Wilks' skilful foreshadowing of the death.
Wilks uses multiple-voice to give us each character's perspective, and the most delicious thing is that they all interweave, connect, and have some sort of bearing on each others' lives, and the plot. What may seem to be an irrelevant, random piece of information will no doubt turn out to be a very important plot point later in the story. The construction is so impressive, and it really adds to the grip of the novel.
The characters are wonderful, the development and back stories excellent. Although difficult to like, they're easy to understand and relate to (dependant on your location and upbringing, I suppose). I enjoyed Wilks' excellent descriptions of Cardiff, and particularly relished some of the Welsh patter. Know what I mean, butt?
I loved the swearing, the violence, the drugs, and the vulgarity; everyone in the book was a representation of someone I've met in my life. I loved how modern-day it all was: iPhones, call centres, Richmond Superkings and two-for-one cocktails.
My only issue was Rory Gallacher. He's a wonderful character, gorgeously flawed, relatable, and admirable in a mental sort of way. His Scottish accent, however, is written badly, and he speaks in a dialect no one in Scotland would use. I felt like I'd met a guy on holiday who was trying to imitate my accent; awkward.
I'd definitely recommend this one. Although Wilks is an up and coming author still finding his voice (he sent me the book and asked for a review), I feel this has potential to be a cult sensation. Some of the humour and the plot points could possibly only be understood by Brits, or those of us familiar with the impact of the recession, however it's such an enjoyable read.
It's pretty special; gritty, harrowing, but disturbingly familiar.