Follow the Money

Armed criminals are hard. Well, not always. When stolen money goes missing three men attempt to balance their lives - mixing humour, a contemplation of suicide, and a desire for a better life with the all-consuming chase to recover the money. Follow the Money is a novel which explores working-class masculinity, the bonds and fallouts of male friendships, and the conflict between greed and family life, as the characters attempt to leave their criminal pasts behind them. Using many of the tropes of crime fiction and ‘the buddy story,’ the novel is both funny and poignant as the characters struggle to avoid their inevitable fates. Each of the men are brutalised and troubled in their own way, but they also know their salvation rests in traditional family life. They may behave like criminals, but at heart they long for loving family support. They admire women who offer them this, and the strength of the woman in the novel is keenly juxtaposed with masculine fragility. Each character offers their own complexities. HARRISON, an aspiring actor, wants revenge. His security guard father was injured during a bank robbery led by the crime boss, SONNY MCGUIRE. Harrison wheedles his way into the McGuire family, hooking up with Sonny’s daughter, RACHEL, who has spent some of the stolen money entrusted to her by her imprisoned father. Harrison offers her a way out of her dilemma as her father’s release date looms. He fakes a house robbery, taking what remains of the money, planning to return it later. Harrison buries the money in the woods, but he has an eerie sense that he is being watched. In the morning the money is gone. While Sonny is in prison, his wife, CHERYL, has been having an affair with another member of the robbery gang, GABRIEL. Now Sonny is home she must decide between them. She chooses Gabriel, but everyone’s life changes for the worse when NIGEL, the psychopath who shared Sonny’s cell, turns up unannounced. Suddenly, too many want a share of the money; Gabriel, Sonny, and the scary Nigel. The hapless Harrison has tracked the re-stolen money to an art gallery in Chester. What he discovers there will shock all of them – the fifty-pound bank notes have been withdrawn from circulation and are worthless. He returns to the McGuire house, intending to tell Sonny, where he is confronted by chaos. Nigel is wielding a gun and demanding all the money but Sonny has other plans. Gabriel realises he is in too deep. He wants a better life. He wants out. The novel conclusion offers different endings for each character. Sonny ends up dead, but he leaves behind a surprising legacy for each of his co-thieves and family members. The psychopathic Nigel walks away with nothing. Gabriel, after the death of his daughter and being dumped by Cheryl, is sectioned into a mental institution. While Harrison receives an offer from Hollywood, making the journey alone. The novel offers an intense exploration of family, friendship, and criminality, as the three men struggle against their working-class identity. Sonny can’t escape from the despair of his suicide attempt in prison, Nigel has been brutalised by his criminal lifestyle. Gabriel wants a loving relationship with Cheryl and a stable family life, and Harrison, an unwitting member of the crime family, dreams of an acting career in the spotlight. The novel asks whether escape is possible for any of them. The money, the one thing they have all been striving for, may be safely within their grasp, but in finally getting it, they all lose something more important.
ISBN: 9781803029030
Type: Paperback
Pages: 308
Published: 1 September 2023
Price: $12.95

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