Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Delivery Girl: Tony McAndrew - A review by Diana

Tony McAndrew and Wild Wolf Publishing are generously giving a Kindle copy of this stunning book to one really lucky reader. Believe me, it is worth reading!
To win this book, comment on the blog itself or on the Review post. All the names will be assigned a number and go into the random number generator and on 16th February the winner will be chosen.

I have often read good books and fairly frequently read brilliant books, but it is rare that I read a book that I can genuinely say is great. It is no surprise that this incredible author comes from the same literary stable as R Glenn, Poppet and CW Lovatt. Wild Wolf Publishing seems currently to have more astounding talent among its published contributors than most publishing houses acquire in their publishing lifetime. What is even more astounding is that this little masterpiece is Tony McAndrew’s first novel.
The tough, uncompromising story is set in a run down burnt out city. If you need drugs, money, a gun, nine year old Anna Ramanova is The Delivery Girl. Foreign, precociously bright, abused by all around her she is the one all the other children hate. Hers is a world of casual brutality, gangsters and goons, drugs and booze, prostitutes and paedophiles, where the ugly sisters of self-harm and suicide wait to show her the only road out of a miserable existence. That is until a grotesque but strangely endearing old hunchback enters her life. As impeccably gracious as he is ruthlessly violent, deliverance, it seems, comes in many forms.
The story speaks of violence and sadistic bullies in a way that is so natural that it gives us a small glimpse into the ‘naturally accepted’ habitat in which Anna now exists, accepting pain and humiliation as the normal state of things, but longing for the outlet of death and the feel of her dead mother’s arms around her. Anna is both worldly wise and innocent. Without giving too many spoilers, Anna takes an opportunity to steal a nail varnish without guilt or thought, as would a much older and hardened criminal, but paints the nails of an angel statue with the stolen pink polish like any small girl would be tempted to do. Despite the vicious acts she has witnessed and experienced, she still retains an innocence and a heart of pure gold for people who are worse off than she is.
The language and the vivid pictures that this book conjures in the minds of the reader give an intimate immediacy to the whole beautiful, tragic, hopeful, hopeless scenario. The characters are so brilliantly presented and portrayed that we can see them, at times even smell them, hear them and feel Anna’s reaction to them; the whole thing gripped me from page one right until the finish, both the horrific and humdrum becoming truly beautiful by means of McAndrew’s exceptional story telling ability and the descriptions beyond the usual. I kept page after page turning to see this world he painted so well...
This book deserves to be read a hundred years from now as a vivid social history portrait of the underbelly of England in the 21st century. The story telling genius and vocabulary of the author will ensure that it is.

What other people said:

Kindle Customer: Sue Dawson on 16 July 2016
A dark journey into the life of Anna , who slipped through the network of support all children should be entitled to but sadly has holes as large as a string vest. The book keeps you drawn in as her life unfolds, hoping for a good result . One of many children who live a life unimagined by adults living in a comfortable world. Well done Mr Mcandrew. Can't wait for the next book.

Goodreads reader Ruty B
...The writer created a solid and believable world where cruelty is as normal as breathing. The writing is really good and the characters are well built. The action is non-stop and the rhythm is intense ...

About Tony McAndrew:

Having what little education thrashed into him by nuns caned out of him by grammar school, Tony kept a promise to himself to begin writing when he finished doing tedious stuff like working full time.

After a wander through psychiatric nursing, the Met Police and almost thirty years as a frontline paramedic the time seemed about right. He still works now and again in Primary Care somewhere in Wales and lives happily on the Gower indulging in writing, reading, talking, drinking beer and floating in the sea with his wife.

The Delivery Girl is his first novel; an unapologetically dark and brutal story, part wish fulfilment for, and part homage to, all the abused children he saw fall through the cracks.  And still fall.

He is currently working on a prequel after finishing a lighter second novel – Mad Cat, Franz and The Bomb.

The Delivery Girl is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

© Diana Milne (aka d.arcadian) January 2017


  1. Commenting on behalf of Karen Vaughn, who is unable to comment in person.
    "Sounds interesting"