Book review

Carried Away by Michael Harrison (2003)

Dan is easily led.

He gets carried away first though, by Jess. She steals the car, you see, while Dan is lying flat on the back seat, covered with a rug, (as one does, while one's father is fetching the fish and chips).

Now, what would you do? I'll tell you what Dan does - absolutely nothing:

Did you expect me to hit the driver over the head with a spanner and grab the steering wheel before we crashed into the other traffic? Or perhaps you think I should have stuck a packet of Polos into the driver's back and said, 'This is a gun. Do exactly what I say'?

Of course, when he finally sits up and discovers his abductor is a girl about his own age, he feels a bit silly:

'I'll tell you what to say,' she said when she stopped laughing. 'Stick to something like the truth. You were lying down in the car when it was driven off. It was so well driven you thought it was your dad. Then you sat up and the driver saw you, pulled off into here, opened the door and ran off. It was a man, of course, but you didn't see anything of him in the dark except the back of his head.'
As she finished she opened the car door and ran off, laughing.

Well, you can see why he wants to save face, but it is a poor move to do exactly what Jess says - because next time she asks him to do something for her, he obliges, just to keep her quiet. It's blackmail.

And Jess is wild. She just dreams up one mad scheme after another, until she lands them both in serious trouble.

They have a strange relationship, Dan and Jess. It reminds me rather of that love/hate relationship that (apparently) can develop between kidnappers and their victims. Dan certainly hates the hold that Jess has over him, and yet part of him seems to relish their adventures.

Read it yourself and see what you think.

What can I read next?

If you enjoy Carried Away, you might like to look at this one also by Michael Harrison:

  • Facing the Dark

For another good read, firmly anchored in reality, you might like to look at anything by Keith Gray:

Or this brilliantly unnerving story by Philip Gross:

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