Author Nick Lennon-Barrett’s new book series (Murder for Social Media) has launched. He just finished releasing his DCI Fenton Murder Trilogy (Murder for Political Correctness, Murder for Health and Fitness, and Murder for Social Media) which I missed on publication, so I jumped on the chance to begin this series at its inception.
Reality Bites (Book 1) is a humorous look into the world of reality TV. We get to follow its main character, Daniel, through the ins and outs of being a contestant on Complex Neighbours which is a cleverly humorous jab to some of the popular reality TV shows present and past. Strangers are forced to live and compete with one another for money in a fusion between Big Brother and Hunger Games. Lennon-Barrett has either engaged in some forced research on the subject, or has been a fan of some of these reality shows because he queues up perfectly many of the clichéd characters that haunt these pop culture goldmines without dragging any clichés back into his book.
This is really a character and dialogue-driven book, for the most part. Lennon-Barrett is a sound practitioner of prose and the dialogue throughout this book is engaging and edgy, and is sure to spawn quite a few laughs with his witty jabs between characters and overall viewpoints expressed between characters.
There is a lot to like in this book, especially if you’re a connoisseur of reality TV and want a good laugh. If you’re not, well then you probably wouldn’t have picked up this book to begin with, unless you’re a fan of the author. There are a lot of characters to keep tabs on as a reader; some are not so well developed, as is usually the case with a character count that high.
The premise of the reality show is edgy and brutal and this attracts the more darker humor from the very first “Guvnorship” contest (think group waterboarding for starters) to see which contestants were “executed.” There is a seedy cast of figures behind the scenes of this reality show who have their own hidden agendas. Then there’s also Daniel’s own ulterior motive which is in play throughout the book. With the former, Lennon-Barrett scores big with painting characters in a very over-the-top satirically humorous way. The latter I found myself having issues with, particularly in truly believing the steps and odds it took for Daniel to get to the stage to make his agenda known.
Overall, there were a few other things that detracted from my personal reading experience. The beginning of the book is somewhat slow developing with not a lot of character development, action or intrigue into the plot, so it’s more of a slow-burn towards an avalanche of characters, some relevant and others throwaway. During its development, readers will begin to connect and relate to Daniel along with a few other characters.
If you want a light, humorous read on the subject of reality TV, this book is worth the read. Readers will surely enjoy their time with Nick Lennon-Barrett’s witty skewering of several of today’s reality TV franchises and the social craze that follows.
Reality Bites by Nick Lennon-Barrett
What happens if you survive a gay pub bombing and the world just forgets about it? You remind them by becoming a contestant on the most brutal Reality TV show of all time. Think Big Brother meets the Hunger Games!
DescriptionDoesn’t everybody want their five seconds of fame? What happens if you survive a gay pub bombing and the world just forgets about it? You remind them by becoming a contestant on the most brutal Reality TV show of all time. Think Big Brother meets the Hunger Games! Daniel North believes that he can take on ratings juggernaut, Complex Neighbours, with ‘honourable intentions’ and simply share his story before going back to a normal life. Don’t worry, this reluctant hero isn’t completely deluded, he’s just an incredibly determined young man, and a bit of a control freak. To share his story, Daniel must battle for airtime against a new breed of Reality TV contestant. They have replaced the snowflakes as ruthlessly ambitious, money-hungry, unfeeling blocks of ice. However, the real villain of the series is behind the camera. Felix Moldoon is a media tycoon who will do anything to ensure high viewing figures, even if that involves murder. As well as controlling the media, he also controls the edit. It is for Felix to determine who will be crowned the winner, taking home the one-million-pound prize, and who will be ‘executed’ from the show, with their lives destroyed forever! Buy this dark comedy twist on Reality TV now!