Samuel Best - Shop Front (3 stars)

A realistic if downbeat picture of aimless breadline existence, with a satisfying and plausible conclusion

Samuel Best - Shop Front

(Fledgling Press)

Ben had high hopes for his future after university, but as this story begins he is on a train heading to Linlithgow, facing the prospect of moving back in with his parents and paying his way with a minimum-wage job at ASDA.

His rut deepens as he starts hanging out with his new workmates, whose ambitions seem to stretch no further than the next Friday night drinking session. Soon the ASDA gang find themselves in too deep after a pub confrontation escalates out of control.

Best paints a realistic if downbeat picture of aimless breadline existence which will ring true to anyone who has found themselves stuck in a town they've outgrown. Although Shop Front has its fair share of incident, the heart of the story is Ben's burgeoning friendship with colleague Niall, who also dreams of a better life but can't see a way out. This results in a few too many 'there must be mair tae life than stackin' shelves'-type conversations, but the message that your situation can improve if you make it happen is pleasingly optimistic, and the resolution is both satisfying and plausible.

Samuel Best: Shop Front

Local author Samuel Best launches his debut novel, which follows an unlucky graduate struggling to find his way amid work, friendship and the A&E.

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