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Blood Relatives

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  31 reviews
‘The milkman found her. On Prince Philip Playing Fields. He crossed the dew-soaked grass toward what he took to be a bundle of clothes, but then he came across a discarded shoe, and then t’ mutilated body. her name wor Wilma McCann.’

Leeds, late 1975 and a body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields. Ricky, teenage delivery van boy for Corona pop, will be late for T
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 26th 2015 by 4th Estate
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  129 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
We first meet the central character of this novel in 1975. Richard (Ricky) Thorpe is sixteen and has just embarked on his first job as a Corona pop delivery driver. This is a coming of age novel, as Ricky is discovering his sexuality and, as the novel progresses, he embarks on a discovery of himself and the Northern gay scene. For Ricky lives in Leeds, with his mother, Mitch and sister Mandy. It isn’t a particularly close family and there are undercurrents and tensions, which are gradually uncov ...more
This is an excellent debut novel set against the real life horrors felt by people in and around rhe Leeds/Bradford areas during the terror of the Yorkshire Ripper.
It is a growing up book; a right of passage for Ricky Thorpe. It is a book about family, how one fits in with them and how you find your own identity.
It is set at a time of change, punk rock, goths, NF and Gay Lib.
What makes the novel so special is the voice of Ricky a teenage delivery boy on a Corona round supplying pop across the are
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
gritty coming of age book based in west yorkshire around the time of the yorkshire ripper where the young ricky realises his sexuality and joins in the gay scene and also at same time is the music undercurrents of punk and that scene effecting the youth of the mid late 1970's ...more
Full review to come!
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
The best book about a gay Yorkshire punk I've ever read. ...more
Lisbeth Davies
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lisbeth by: NetGalley
This book has stayed with me long after finishing it, in part because of the wonderful use of dialect but also because the characters are so vividly drawn I feel as though I've lived with the family and the customers on his round (although in the mid seventies I was a child in the Welsh valleys.)

It's full of wonderful language, for example, describing his grandmother who has just moved into a care home:

"Gran raised her head slowly and her face opened into a wondrous, trusting smile that wor neve
Minka Guides
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Firstly, thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was pretty much drawn to this book because of it's setting in Yorkshire. I'm a little curious about the area and it's history because I have friends and family from there. I didn't know that much about the Ripper but recognised his actual name when it started popping up in the story.

This is one of those quiet, every day stories about a single life set against the back drop of noisy, signif
I won this in the giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

Set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper killings, this is the story of Rick, a young gay man in West Yorkshire trying to navigate life, work and the gay scene. It took me a little while to get into this and that was mostly down to the text being written using a lot of Yorkshire dialect which I know is bizarre considering I'm a tyke myself. Glad I persevered though as this was a pretty good coming of age story.
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The milkman found her. On Prince Philip Playing fields. He crossed the dew-soaked grass towards what he took to be a bundle of clothes, but then he came across a discarded shoe and then the mutilated body of Wilma Mc Cann. There is a small mention of Jack the ripper and about adults that murdered kids like Myra Hindley.
If you remember records and Cheesecloth shirts like I do then this could well take you back in time.
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I heard Stevan talking about this novel at Bradford Literature Festival and I'm very glad I found out about it and read it. I miss Rick now that I've finished it and although it is set in Leeds / Bradford before I came to live here it's good to read about an area you know and love. And I do hope it's easier to be growing up gay today. Not that Stevan let's Rick be too daunted or subdued by the homophobia that was more overt then. ...more
Michael Burge
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It took me back to my year of living in Yorkshire but it was so much more than nostalgia, it was the delight of experiencing the place through the eyes of a young gay man in the first decade after the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. It was far from a perfect world, of course, but the seeds of hope were well and truly sprouting, and Stevan Alcock brings the era to life on several fronts, from the music to the politics, punctuated by the Yorkshire Ripper’s crimes. W ...more
Ian  Cann
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An involving gay coming of age tale set in the Leeds of the mid-late 1970s and very early 80s against the background of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. The novel is written in local dialect which really grounded the story in a sense of place and people as Rick's relationships with friends, family and the world in which he lived evolved as the years went by.

The world definitely felt real with talk of National Front Nazis, Gay liberation front members and meetings and prostitues all coming across as
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Was never quite sure what this book was about - was it Rich coming to terms with his sexuality in turbulent times? Thought some of the description a little too graphic for me in places, perhaps I’m more prudish than I realised. Probably Not a book for a book club, perhaps that’s why I’m a bit hard on it as it was a book club choice. Nevertheless despite my negative review I looked back to the nostalgia at some of the things from the 70s especially remembering how people used to hit the top of th ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very impressive for a debut novel. A dark, gritty and slightly melancholic coming out and coming of age story set in the North of England at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. A bit meandering at times but still a solid, gripping read
Tracy McArtney
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Mm still not sure about this book even having finished it.set around the Ripper years in Leeds. Narration in a Yorkshire accent made it quite hard to make the book flow.
Levonne Goh
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not being able to relate to the slang used in the book is definitely an obstacle for readers outside of the United Kingdom
Helen J Altshul
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
T' writing style of this book wor very irritating! Would have been four stars without that affectation. ...more
Christopher Jones
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable read ❤️❤️
Sid Nuncius
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
In the end I thought this was a good book, although I found the first half a struggle.

Set in Leeds between July 1975, when Peter Sutcliffe ("The Yorkshire Ripper") killed his first victim and January 1981 when he was arrested, this is the coming-of-age story of the narrator, Rick. He is a delivery lad on a soft-drinks van: poorly educated, disaffected, rebellious and gay. The story is told in episodes, each at a time of Sutcliffe's attacks, and headed with the name and date of the victim and nar
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what to expect of Blood Relatives, other than references to the Yorkshire Ripper, who went on a killing spree in the late 70s. HE does feature prominently in this story, by slathering the local population in fear and uncertainty, but this book is not solely about him.

Rick, our 16-year old main character, works as a Corona van boy, but that is not all that defines him. His coming of age tale is centered around the usual (and unusual) family of four dramas, the gay scene of the Nort
Vicky-Leigh Sayer
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
If you are looking for something a little bit different to read this year, then this novel is definitely the one for you!

Written in what can only be described as a broad yorkshire dialect, for a southerner like me it did take some getting used to the narrative, but it makes the novel even more real.

Set against the backdrop of the 'Yorkshire Ripper' murders, Blood Relatives is a brilliantly woven coming of age tale.

Ricky Thorpe is a delivery boy for Corona, but he would much rather be famous.
Kate Riley
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read! I give this book a 5 star rating with no hesitation.
The story is set in Leeds in the late 1970s. Main character Ricky’s life as a Corona delivery boy is vividly painted as he comes of age and finds his way through the grimy politics of the seventies in the shadow of the Yorkshire Ripper. The fictional story is punctuated by real events of the time and each chapter heading is the name of one of the Ripper’s victims.
I relished the language and could hear Ricky speaking as the story
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-kindle, net-galley
Blood Relatives is a very rare kind of book. A very English debut novel. No, more specifically a very Yorkshire kind of story.

Ricky is 16 and living in Leeds. It is 1975. Yorkshire in the mid seventies became synonymous with the Ripper and the brutal killings of prostitutes. Each of the chapters in the book has the name of one of the Yorkshire Ripper's victims. These don't define the story though but merely set it firmly in a time and a place.

While i did struggle a little with the local dialect
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book set in the late 70s and during the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. This is a story about Rick, a young gay man who is trying to find his way in life, the murders happening alongside other events in his life. Rick works as a corona pop delivery boy and he meets interesting people along his round. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was an easy conversational style, written with the Yorkshire dialect, you get to know Rick and his family, and what life was like living under the ...more
Sue Hunter
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
A woman has been murdered, and it is the talk of the neighbourhood. Young lad, Rick, is on the deliveries for Corona in the Leeds area. Relationships build up with some of their customers, and Rick helps the lonely elderly who regard his visits as much more than the delivery of their drinks. Deliveries are slowed down by such momentous news, but also by washing strung across the roads.

Fascinating characters, and a clever building up of tension as events unfold.

Definitely worth the read.
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Received free through GoodReads First Reads.

I wasn't sure about this book as it's not my usual reading but I kept going despite the difficulty of understanding the written Yorkshire dialect. Set in the 1970s it is a quick paced gritty contemporary novel of a coming of age young gay man set against the background of the Yorkshire Ripper. Wouldn't read it again though. Loved the cover - bright, in your face colours.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Cannot read much beyond first chapter because of the irritating attempt to render dialect. It is relentless and impacts on the fluency of the read. I get the language - I don't need it to grasp the setting/mood etc. Who edited this and thought it was a good idea to let the dialect take over? ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A really good read, I found it most enjoyable after my initial annoyance at the dialect style of writing.
Lucy Mac
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this! Was just packed with energy. Felt swept up in it!
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a coming-of-age story set in Leeds during the riegn of terror by the Yorkshire Ripper. Rick is matter of factly gay, working on a soft drinks delivery van. He gets involved in the local gay scene and the anarchist scene also (they are intertwined). The Ripper's murders are woven into the story, they are not really significant but put the scenes in context of the time. The book is written in a yorkshire dialect which I found distracting at first but I either got used to it or it was used ...more
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