JAY QASIM is back home in West London and in pursuit of normality. He’s swapped dope-dealing for admin, and spends his free time at the local Muslim Community Centre or cruising around Hounslow in his beloved BMW. No-one would guess that he was the MI5 spy who foiled the most devastating terrorist attack in recent history.
But Jay’s part in sabotaging Ghurfat-Al-Mudarris’ hit on London didn’t pass unnoticed.
IMRAN SIDDIQUI was trained to kill in Afghanistan by tthe terrorist cell who saved his life after his home was destroyed by war. The time has finally come for him to repay them – throwing him headlong into the path of Jay Qasim.
Now, they must each decide whose side they’re really on.
Wow. This was epic. Brilliantly epic.
So we met Jay in last year’s “East of Hounslow “ a novel I devoured with it’s heady mix of action, social issues,thrills and thought provoking realities. Jay, after reading Home Grown Hero, is now definitely one of my favourite fictional characters ever. Rightly so too I think given his ability make me giggle into my cup of tea whilst learning something very important.
In this most excellent of sequels, Jay longs for the quiet life after his previous adventures. But MI5, Jay’s terrorist Father, his friend’s and seemingly pretty much the world obviously didn’t get the memo…
This is a whole lot of fun, but equally it is a book like the last that can show you through it’s characters, their actions and their inner thoughts, the realities of being termed a minority -The devastating impact of assumption, of almost casual racism, of our current social and political situation, it is an eye opener in so many ways.
What this author does so beautifully is show us all the shades of grey, not falling into the trap of “this is good this is bad” but layering the plot with all the nuances, all the possibilities between A and B. How actions create reactions, one thing escalates, how easy it is to fall into all the dark places before you even notice. It’s extraordinarily clever and done in a hugely absorbing and entertaining way.
Then we have Immy, who just encompasses the lot – a new character who I found highly engaging and divisive, an equal and an opposite for our reluctant hero Jay, between them they’ll drive you positively crazy but you’ll love every minute.
No real plot details in this review because you should just take the journey as it comes, Home Grown Hero is a wild ride of hilarity and horror – I spent the final pages reading madly and clutching my head, it is fast, intelligent, gorgeously real and intricately woven.
That ending though…..