Thursday, 11 March 2021

#BlogTour The Takers and Keepers by Ivan Pope

Today it's my turn on the BlogTour The Takers and Keepers by Ivan Pope.

About the Author

Ivan Pope is a writer, artist and long-distance cyclist who lives in Brighton. He graduated from Goldsmiths College Fine Art BA with the YBA generation and was involved with a number of early internet developments in the UK and across the world. 

He invented the cybercafe at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts and founded the world’s first web magazine, The World Wide Web Newsletter. He has taught at art colleges in London, Newport and Brighton. He is now a writer of fiction and creative non-fiction. He is currently undertaking a PhD in creative non-fiction at Plymouth University.

About the book

Where do the disappeared go? The girls and women who vanish, seldom to resurface. Allen Kimbo, a freelance reporter, believes there is a network of men who guard their "taken" and keep the silence that surrounds such deeds. 

An email lures him to Eastern Europe, to a meeting of the Takers and Keepers. His girlfriend, Emily, pleads with him not to go. In Belgrade more is revealed than he had thought possible. Back at home, Emily is missing.


What will stay with me about this book is a certain element of authenticity - the kind that makes you wonder about the source and whether there is some truth in this fiction. Firsthand knowledge - that's how real some of this feels, and I don't mean just really good at writing a plot. So kudos to Pope for that.

The perspective is given from that of a man eager for a story and yet the reader can't help but wonder how much he secretly enjoys the insight and window he is given into the dirty world of fear and pain. Is it really just all about helping the victims?

It's fair to say that this is a crime read that will make you feel uncomfortable at times, it has a voyeuristic vibe and most definitely shines a light on the dirtiest underbelly of crime. Well organised rings who take women and children and use them until they expire or are no longer of any use. The dark world of abduction, sex trafficking - the unknown number of the invisible, the disappeared, the forgotten. 

Part of the story is what happens when one of the taken reappears and tries to deal with the fallout of being subjected to the worst kind of treatment. The damaged mind that is too splintered to regain some semblance of normality. One wonders whether death isn't the easier solution - the easiest way to lighten the burden.

It's a short read at about two-hundred pages, but definitely a powerful and uncomfortable one.

Buy The Takers and Keepers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Hookline Books pub date 8 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. HiveWaterstones

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