Market Drayton author's debut novel tells tale of vigilante's fight back
A Shropshire author tells in his debut novel a tale of a vigilante's fight back in a crime-ridden Walsall where the authorities have lost control and hoodlums rule the roost.
Steve Jenkins, who lives in Market Drayton now but was born and bred in Walsall where the book, which is fiction, is set, intends it to be a social comment about inner-city crime.
He says some of the horrific incidents in the book are based on true stories, and some of the places mentioned in Walsall really exist.
For instance, he says one of his childhood pals, aged 13, did get his head bashed in by a gang for playing football on the wrong field, and burglars did throw a pet dog over a fence and leave it hanging while they ransacked a house.
His book, called The Nobody Man, poses the question of whether Dan, who fights back when his family are taken from him by violence, is a vigilante, a hero, or is himself a violent criminal.
Steve was a Corporal in the Army before becoming a paramedic in Shropshire. He is now an urgent care practitioner and works for Shropdoc.
"I have always written as a hobby," he said.
"I've had academic articles published in The Journal of Paramedic Practice, and I've written various pieces for motorcycling magazines. Motorcycling is my other great passion and I own a couple of Triumphs, including the one on the back cover of the book."
Steve appears himself on the front cover of the book as a hooded figure with his face hidden.
"It was cheaper than paying someone else," he said.
"This book came about after reading a sad tale of someone having their motorcycle stolen and then it was held to ransom on Instagram. When the owner refused to pay the thieves, they posted pictures of his bike being set on fire on social media. Despite all of this evidence, the thieves were never apprehended.
"I wondered how it would feel if that happened to me, and then linked it to stories of growing up in Walsall, what it's like there now, and other inner cities, and slowly a novel developed.
"I wanted to make a social comment about inner city crime and the use of social media and this is a large part of the plot of The Nobody Man.
"I came to the notice of the publisher, Victorina Press, a Shropshire publisher, after winning first prize in Market Drayton Arts Festival short story competition.
"After chatting to the company owner, Consuelo, I signed a contract for The Nobody Man, my first contractual novel."
The Nobody Man published by Victorina Press (www.victorinapress.com) is paperback and costs £10.