First published back in February of 2015, ‘Ricochet’ formed the debut novella for British author, musician, actor and artist, Tim Dry.

DLS Synopsis:
He couldn’t hold back any longer.  He needed another fix.  Another couple of sentences at the very least.  And so he went to the dingy pad where his Word Dealer, Quixotic Clive, resides, so he could get himself a whole paragraph.  It was enough to see him through for a while.  No slapdash badly formed gibberish.  Those words were the good stuff.

Elsewhere and elsewhen, Rupert the Bear is looking down on the still smouldering ruins of what was until recently their beloved and idyllic Nutwood.  So many of their dearest friends lay dead or dying.  They had known for a while that the Chinese Conjuror had been amassing an army of well-trained Goblins, along with an air force of crows.  But they’d left it too late.  And now they were at war with the Chinaman.  Now it was time that Toyland and Nutwood joined forces and fort back for all that they loved and cherished.

Meanwhile, at a different point in reality and time, Johnny Sandovar is in his recently converted block of flats in the new East End, when Trojan Darkly pulls up outside with two of his favourite goons either side of him.  Things are almost certainly about to get messy.  After all, Darkly’s not a man to cross.

Again, in a different time and place, a boy reflects upon the endless days, weeks and months of his incarceration within Her Majesty’s vast palace.  Time that afforded him the motivation to get his own back on her – his mother.  After all, during the fifteen years of her reign she had tortured, imprisoned and put to death countless victims of her displeasure – including him, her very own son.

Similarly in a different time and place, sixty-two-year-old Robert John Meade is now approaching very probably the absolute pinnacle of his career as a well-respected psychic.  He certainly wasn’t a man who used his talents to grab himself some limelight.  But this was now the time when he would enter a whole new existence.  Leap forth into the public eye.  And it would all come about by being filmed sitting on a park bench when a freak storm breaks out.

In direct comparison, twenty-one-year-old Michael Dunham is about to experience an event in his life that will send it spiralling off into a tragically unwanted direction.  All he wanted to do was hitch a lift back to Lingfield.  He never found it all that difficult to thumb a ride.  But you still had to be weary.  Especially when you were a Goth like him.  And so, when the squaddie-looking guy picks him up in his battered old estate car, Dunham is instantly weary.  And rightly so.  Because what this rough-looking fella wants is far more than just conversation on the road at night.  And Dunham wants none of it.

Finally, in a whole other place and existence, fifty-year-old librarian, Jonathan Keeble is sitting on the steps outside the Dissenters’ Chapel on the eastern edge of Kensal Green Cemetery in West London, pondering his mundane life during his lunch break (as he always does).  But today is going to prove to be very different for the lonely librarian.  For today he sees something flickering out of the corner of his eye.  A light that seems to be emanating from within the slightly ajar and broken doors to an overgrown and ancient tomb.  A light that draws him to it.  A light that will ultimately bring about a mind-altering and fundamental change in his very person.  One that twists reality, and like with all these brief glimpses in time, one that seems to waken a life somewhere and somewhen else.  A whole new reality.  And quintessentially, a whole new view on life…

DLS Review:
Things I love – (1) Originality (2) Imagination (3) Having the balls to step outside of the box and really try something entirely new.  So hats off to Tim Dry for excelling at all three of these, and in doing so, creating a novella that not only bursts forth with more barely controlled imagination than you can shake a veritable stick at, but also for delivering it in such a rich and raw way that you can’t help but sit up and pay attention.

In essence what we have with ‘Ricochet’ is a novella that’s constructed from a seemingly random scattering of stories and glimpses of lives (far more than appear in the above synopsis), which together form a patchwork of a fragmented and unreal reality that is as vast as an imagination can allow.  Furthermore, none of the stories are seen to an absolute end.  Nor indeed do they commence in the most likely of places.  Instead what we have is snapshots of larger pictures of life.  Significant chunks of time within significant lives, in a reality that feels somewhat off-kilter with our own.

Sounds a bit weird huh?  Well, it’s not exactly the most linear of reads, I’ll give you that.  However, by the craziness of carefully crafted chaos, and as strange as it sounds, it actually works incredibly and entertainingly well.

There’s some mind-warping harmony in it all that connects with you.  From the very first snippet-of-a-story, you’re unavoidably hooked.  It’s the sheer imagination, the intricately painted details, the flair of energy, colour and magnified abstraction of our own lives, that makes the novella as a whole work so damn well.  It’s like William S Burroughs sitting down with Hubert Selby Jr, both dropping some seriously strong hallucinogens, and then seeing what the hell comes out the other end.

But there’s a hell of a lot more to it than that.  Tim Dry is a man who has experienced life.  He’s embraced both the beauty and the beast of our modern existence, and perhaps through experiencing this, he’s able to paint a richer and more impressionistic (or indeed more abstract) portrait of life.  Yes it’s skewed and yes it’s sometimes hard to recognise at first glance.  But like with an Edvard Much painting, if you allow the colours of the vision to bleed together, and allow the chaos of the presentation to continue with the beauty in its swirling madness, then something more real will gradually emerge.

Sound mind-bogglingly profound?  Well, as I said, it’s far more than just a collection of stories borne from the author’s imagination run wild.  Like a hallucinogenic slideshow across space and time, venturing out into the strange and the chaotic; it’s a thought-provoking exploration and abstract mishmash that somehow comes together with a beautiful harmony that resonates on after the final page has been turned.

Take of it as you will.  There’s a lot in the collection.  And there’s vastly more lurking behind it all.  The only question now is, just how far do you allow your mind to wonder down those weird and wonderful corridors that Dry has opened up for you?

The novella runs for a total of 104 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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