Part murder ballad, part ghost story, part true crime, All The Places I’ve Ever Lived takes you on a gripping journey from the small-town murder of a teenage girl in the 1970s to the recent real-life shootings in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. Are the crimes linked? Fifteen-year-old Barry Dyer may have the answers, but when events impact so horrifically on a town and its people, it always pays to tread carefully when revealing the truth… Quirky, disturbing, and haunting, All The Places I’ve Ever Lived is a moving and tender exploration of a teenage outsider in a small community, as well as being a finely wrought portrayal of the neglected industrial settlements of West Cumbria, where nuclear plants, thermometer factories and chemical works contrast vividly with the desolate beauty of the Lake District. David Peace meets Murakami in award-winning writer David Gaffney’s compelling mash up of Twin Peaks weirdness and peri-urban noir.
This is a very strange book to review, least of all because to reveal too much about the story would deny the reader of some of the wonderful elements that this novel manages to cram together. I’d read a couple of the author’s short stories before, so I was expecting to get some quality writing; however what did catch me by surprise was the perfect blend of 70’s nostalgia, macabre plotting and laugh out loud dialogue. It’s bonkers and surreal and yet completely realistic in a dreamlike kind of way. What more can I say other than to urge you to read it? Recommended.