Author: Terry Tyler
Terry Tyler's nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller set in a dystopian near future - the UK, Year 2028.
Blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer live and work online, seeing life through soundbites, news TV and social media. Keeping the outside world at bay in their cosy flat, they observe the ruthless activities of the new PM and his celebrity fitness guru wife, Mona (hashtag MoMo), with the mild outrage that can be quelled simply by writing another blog post. Meanwhile, in the outside world, multinational conglomerate Nutricorp is busy buying up supermarket chains, controlling the media, and financing the new compounds for the homeless: the Hope Villages. Lita and Nick suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, until the outside world catches up with them - and Lita is forced to discover a strength she never knew she possessed.
We don't notice our world changing around us, because those little shifts take place so gradually. Attitudes are altered one decision, one blind eye turned, one 'I accept' at a time, until a situation that would have seemed unthinkable ten, twenty, thirty years ago, becomes the norm.
I've been pondering this a lot over the past few days, since I walked past the usual mile-long queue outside our local food bank, and thought, hang on a minute. When did this happen?
When I was a kid, I knew food banks existed but had never seen one. The UK's first opened in 2004; I googled it so you don't have to. Now they're in every town, as normal a feature of our urban landscape as Nu-Mart and BettaBargains, but still they're not government funded. They rely on charities, and people like me who dump a packet of Nu-Mart Pasta 'n' Sauce in the donations basket when we do our weekly shop.
One ponder led to another, and 'why so many food banks?' got me thinking about Hope Villages.
Since the first one, four years ago, they've popped up all over the country.
Sounds cosy, doesn't it? Hope Village. Rosy-cheeked kiddies and lovingly tended gardens. A smiling vicar walking his dog, and pots of jam with gingham covers over the lids.
The reality is somewhat less appealing. The 'Villages' are estates of warehouse-like structures to house the homeless, with nary a jar of apple and blackberry preserves in sight.
Not so long ago, the less fortunate of our nation―of which there are said to be over two million―were part of the scenery in any town. You'd see them slumped in shop doorways, sitting blank-eyed on park benches, begging outside supermarkets and cafés.
Queueing outside the shelters.
There are two shelters near us: Horizon, and a Roof. Roof Charity has opened many, all over the country, in the past decade. I walk past and try not to stare at the bewildered faces of those who have only recently fallen this far and are trying their best to cling to 'normality', alongside the long-termers, their dead eyes staring at the ground.
Over the last four years, however, most of the homeless have been tidied away into Hope Villages.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
It’s set in the UK in the near future, and features much about social media obsession, and the difference between online and ‘real’ life, as well as reflecting some of the changes in the world that we are seeing today, though it was written in 2018. Hope has many reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, from the reading public and book bloggers alike, and almost all are very positive.
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Winner will be drawn on March 3, 2021.
Terry Tyler is the author of twenty-two books available from Amazon, the latest being 'The Visitor', a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as her popular Project Renova series. She is currently at work on 'Megacity', the third and final book in her dystopian Operation Galton series, after which she may decide to write something a bit more cheerful. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team. She lives in north east England with her husband.
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