Review published on May 16, 2018.
Gosh, Tubing is quite a book. Polly is a character who is damaged. She’s bulimic, she picks at scabs until they’re more like deep gashes, her relationship with her parents is complicated and she lives with a surgeon, her boyfriend Oliver, who ought to be a stable influence on her. But Polly wants more. So a late night sexual experience with an enigmatic and handsome stranger on a tube gives her the thrill that her life needs. But it’s such a dangerous game, more than Polly could ever realise.
I didn’t take to Polly at all. She’s selfish and rude, pretty much to everyone she meets. But it didn’t stop me being scared for her and wondering what the hell she was playing at, chasing these encounters on the tube. It also made me wonder if tubing is a real thing and, if so, how on earth the people who do it manage to keep themselves fairly well hidden. It’s very voyeuristic and from a reader’s point of view it’s all quite exciting, but I also had almost an urge to put my hands over my eyes at times as it felt like I just didn’t want to read what was going on.
The first half of the book was about Polly getting pulled further and further into the murky world of the underground, arranging assignations via Twitter. But then, the direction changed and it became much more sinister, when something quite horrible happens and Polly witnesses it. I had my hand over my mouth as I read this bit.
I have to say that I didn’t like any of the characters, not just Polly, apart from maybe Oliver, who was the best of the bunch. But this is a compulsive read, I couldn’t leave it alone as I witnessed Polly’s self-destruction in horror, leading up to an ending that I couldn’t see coming but which was perfectly pitched.
Tubing is an accomplished debut novel and I’m looking forward to book two from this author, which I imagine will be just as hard-hitting and just as addictive.
Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes, 4/4
Tubing by K.A. McKeagney
RedDoor Publishing Ltd 9781910453568 pbk May 2018
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