Source: Review copy
Publication: e-book 14 September 2019 from Orenda Books. Paperback 14 November 2019
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.
That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.
Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
Will Carver has a messed up head, there can be no other explanation. But inside that head is a razor sharp mind; a brilliant and clever wit and a genius writing gene that shines through with sparkling brilliance.
Nothing Important Happened Today is unlike anything else I have read – and all the better for it. Dark, intriguing, packed full of pertinent observations, Carver’s book is literary fiction for crime enthusiasts.
Written in the third person, and from the perspective of the perpetrator of this devilish scheme, Nothing Important Happened Today is a train of thought, rapid railroad ride across the cults and serial killers of the 21st century. Carver’s words are formed like bullets, shot with deadly accuracy by a man with ice cold rage in his heart.
Part satire on societal norms, part scathing condemnation of the sheep mentality of social media interaction, Nothing Important Happened Today is about a cult called The People of Choice. This cult is different. No-one knows they are a member, until they receive their ‘trigger’. Then they know exactly what to do and how to do it. Thus nine people leap to their deaths from Chelsea Bridge. Then two more. And so begins a trend. Some are cult members; members of a cult whose existence they didn’t know of and who never even joined. Some are copycats – does it make a difference? The People of Choice have begun, even if they didn’t choose to do so.
These are nameless people, just numbers. They are the woman who runs up the till in the supermarket, the man who delivers your post. They are No 231 – Ungrateful or N0 232 – Poet. They seem to have nothing in common except for a desire to throw themselves off a bridge.
Yet we do learn things about them; to us they become more than just a number as we learn small details about their lives. Tiny things which mark them out as individuals, living unique lives. Lives that matter to someone, even if that someone is their uncle or their dog.
Det. Sergeant Pace is recovering slowly from PTSD. The People of Choice is not his case, because he is still going through the motions of visiting a psychiatrist so that he can get signed off to go back to work. It’s a process where he tries hard to divulge as little as possible about how he is feeling and the psychiatrist pretends he is co-operating. Their relationship is entirely false, but both go through the motions.
Yet Pace is drawn to this case, perhaps because it chimes with the dark flames and shadows he has encroaching on his well-being at inopportune moments.
As the Police chase their tails trying to work out what is happening and who is behind this global suicidal epidemic, the Leader of the People of Choice, of the people who have no choice, is quietly getting on with planning the next mass murder.
Carver pulls this work together with a deft hand and provides a conclusion that is as twisted as his premise, and along the way he has stunned, frazzled the brain and made this reader think hard about how she sees the world.
Verdict: Original, stark and compelling, this is a beautifully written, coruscating book whose pages dazzle with acute observation and scathing wit. Nothing Important Happened Today is as black as Newgate’s knocker; it is both disturbing and insightful. It is scary and sometimes so black that you can feel it beckoning you to the dark side, but mostly it is a dazzling work of literary fiction that should be on everyone’s reading list.
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.