Title: Urban Scarecrows by Jim Chambers
Published by: SilverWood Books
Genre: Political Thriller
The Labour Party election victory of 2019 ushers into power a radical socialist government which swiftly mutates to a British form of totalitarian Marxism in its quest for social justice and equality. Dominic Green, a Labour Party activist and celebrity chef, is caught up in the economic and social crisis as the country lurches towards civil war.
Taunted by the jibes of his volatile Spanish wife, Rosa, he moves from denial to acceptance to opposition and becomes a totemic media figure in the struggles. His marriage is in terminal decline; Rosa cannot forgive his philandering or his support of the government. His family falls apart as Rosa leaves him and one son is incarcerated, whilst the other attempts to liberate his sibling. Labelled a turncoat terrorist he is hunted by the brutal SNPS state police whose attempts to subjugate the population includes ‘urban scarecrowing’.
Who can he trust as he goes on the run whilst assisting the resistance movement? Will Rosa forgive him as she tracks his public pronouncements and his efforts to free their son? Will Dominic escape the clutches of the SNPS as the net closes? Will international outrage translate into military intervention as sections of the armed forces rebel? And can Dominic survive and recover his relationship with Rosa and their surviving son?
Urban Scarecrows is a suspenseful political thriller. Although it’s really intense and creepy at times, it’s definitely worth the read.
The story alternates between ‘then’ and ‘now’ chapters and I really enjoyed how it all played out. It begins with Dominic in a prison and in quite a dire situation. It then goes back to the start so you get to see how he ended up in that prison and how his life fell apart. I liked the sense of urgency I felt during the prison scenes and how, if he didn’t escape, he would likely die. These chapters really helped build the suspense and my feeling of dread increased with each chapter. I couldn’t wait to see how it would end and whether Dominic would find a way to escape. I did like Dominic but it took a while for me to warm to him. It felt like he wasn’t doing much at the start and it was only when his own family was impacted by the events that he started to speak up for people. I did feel sorry for him though because his life is completely turned upside down and it was quite shocking how quickly it happened. He goes from being a beloved celebrity chef to an enemy of the government just for expressing his views and ends up losing everything. It was disturbing to see how easily the government could work to silence people and that everyone was powerless to stop them.
Dominic’s situation becomes increasingly dire as the story progresses. I was shocked that the government managed to stay in power and was able to torment so many people. I kept asking myself at what point has the government gone too far and when will someone finally step in and stop them from going any further? It was also fascinating seeing what role the media played in it all. I feel like they definitely stoked the fire and made Dominic’s situation much, much worse. I couldn’t imagine being in his situation. It felt like he lost either way no matter what he said or did.
It’s such a thought-provoking read and one that I’d recommend if you enjoy political thrillers and dystopian reads.
Thank you to Literally PR and SilverWood Books for sending me a copy of this book for review and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour!