2000 Tunes by Karl Drinkwater #BookReview #BlogTour

Mark Hopton is twenty-four, single, and obsessed with Manchester music. It's his escape into a better world.

Oh man, he needs that escape. His psycho brother's on his case and in his face, his dad's in prison, and the local gangsters are twisting his melons to make him smuggle drugs. Heaven knows he's miserable now.

His one true shining ray of hope is Samantha Rees, a gorgeous and chaotic Welsh woman who rocks his world. She is the only good thing about his dead-end job. However, Samantha is popular, living the 24 hour party people lifestyle, so Mark assumes she'd never be interested in a shy outsider like him.

But after a chance encounter leads to Mark and Samantha spending the day together in the city centre – such a perfect day – perhaps hope isn't fool's gold after all?

It's such a pleasure to be opening the blog tour for 2000 Tunes today. Many thanks to Karl Drinkwater and Sarah from Books on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

Earlier this year I read and loved Cold Fusion 2000 so couldn't wait to read 2000 Tunes. Karl Drinkwater describes the two novels as 'partner books' and although they are both set in Manchester in the summer of 2000, each is a standalone story and can be read in any order.
2000 Tunes is perhaps a more straightforward novel but that doesn't make it any less involving and though a fairly long book, I read it in little more than a day. I was born in the same year as Sam and so as well as enjoying what is an engaging, deceptively complex love story, I also loved the sense of nostalgia I felt remembering a time when we drank Bacardi Breezers, downloaded Windows 2000 and discovered that Sunny Delight could turn your skin orange. Of course, with a title like 2000 Tunes, it's inevitable that music should have a hugely important role to play and I loved that each chapter is also the title of a song, with little notes demonstrating the links between bands - or the Manchester Music Association (MMA) to use Mark's terminology.
Mark is obsessed with music from Manchester, although his interests are narrowed to the 90s indie Madchester scene. He still mourns the closing of The Ha├žienda and uses his impassioned knowledge as a crutch, working out connections between bands to calm himself when he becomes stressed or anxious. He's a bit of a tragic joke figure at first and it's impossible not to pity him particularly when it becomes obvious that he is very different from his violent father and brother. As he begins to realise that he can be different and to make tentative steps towards recognising his self-worth, I grew to love this gentle, kind man. 
He works for the same company as Samantha - Sam - Rees who initially appears to be a very different person to Mark. She seems to be as confident as he is shy and forms a formidable double act with her best friend and drinking partner, Emily. However, as the book progresses it soon becomes evident that her life is more chaotic than it first appears and that she is as lost and confused as he is. Emily is seemingly fearless and unapologetically herself; she doesn't always give the best advice to Sam but she is a fantastic character.
A series of mistakes, misunderstandings and missed opportunities follow as they both try to discover what it is they really want from life. There is a striking contrast between their respective families, while Mark has been dragged up and is constantly mocked and threatened by his dad and brother, Sam comes from a close, loving background. However, she came to Manchester to escape the sense of claustrophobia she felt back in Wales but since the death of her beloved Mamgu (grandmother) she is increasingly drawn back to Neath. Both have potentially huge decisions to make about their future and there are some deeply poignant moments as they reach their respective crisis points. 
Although I'd say that Cold Fusion 2000 is the more ambiguous of the two stories, there is a really touching scene later on in 2000 Tunes which reveals that not all quite as it seems here either. Manchester is almost another character and those who know the city well will love the affectionate yet realistic depiction of the place. This is a book with real heart and so it is entirely right that the beat of music is felt throughout its pages; we all know how songs have the power to bring us together and to transform us and so it is that 2000 Tunes is a beautifully written, perceptive novel about love, belonging and change. This is no fool's gold, it's the real stuff and I loved it!

Purchasing links for Karl Drinkwater's books can be found here but please consider supporting independent bookstores if possible.

Don't miss the est of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.


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