Review – The Rave by Nicky Black

The Blurb

It’s 1989, the second Summer of Love, and Tommy Collins is doing what he does best: organising all-night raves on a shoestring, and playing a game of cat and mouse with the police. But Detective Chief Inspector Peach is closing in on him, and his dreams of a better life are beginning to slip through his fingers.

DCI Peach finds it all a nuisance, a waste of his force’s time, until he finds his teenage daughter unconscious at one of Tommy’s raves. Then the chase becomes personal, and his need to make Tommy pay becomes an obsession.

The Rave is a fast-paced, gritty portrayal of life on the edges of society at the end of a decade that changed Britain forever.

My Thoughts

It’s the summer of 1989, the country has gone house music mad and raves are, well, all the rave. Tommy Collins is determined to change his family’s life from one of poverty, living on the Valley Park housing estate in Newcastle, to one of prosperity by organising all-night illegal raves in the North East. However, his plans are soon to be thwarted as Detective Chief Inspector Peach finds his daughter unconscious at one of Tommy’s raves and he goes all out to bring Tommy down.

To be perfectly honest, when I first started reading The Rave I wasn’t sure that it was going to be for me, but the further I got into the book the more I liked it. The characters really drew me in. Tommy is the likeable rogue, thwarted by the social class he was born into and can’t seem to escape, who wants to succeed to make life comfortable for his family. Despite his illegal activities, Tommy has a good heart and you can’t help but warm to him. In DCI Peach, Black has managed to create an antagonist who is also a well-rounded character. From initial dislike, the reader eventually begins to empathise with him as each revelation about his daughter unfolds. Black has, I’m pleased to say, included the truly despicable characters we all love to see in crime fiction. Again, though, she has ensured they are two dimensional by allowing the reader to understand why they are the way they are.

The Rave does fall under crime fiction but it is different to the majority of crime novels out there due to its premise. Black deviates from the usual catching a killer trope that we see in the majority of crime novels, and if I was to categorise by genre the description of grit-lit would be appropriate given the vivid sense of place, the importance of social setting it stands in and its authenticity. The Rave is unique and refreshingly different which made it all the more enjoyable.

Black’s depiction of life on a northern housing estate is bleak and yet I finished The Rave feeling kind of uplifted.

The Rave is a gritty read that perfectly captures the plight of the North East in Thatcher’s Britain. Black has successfully combined gripping crime fiction, interesting characters and authentic social setting with an original premise. If you are in the need for something different from your usual crime fiction, check The Rave out.

A huge thank you to Nicky Black for the advance copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Published on 14 August 2018 you can get your copy HERE.

About the Author

The pen name Nicky Black is a combination of two writers – Nicky Doherty and Julie Blackie. Julie was a script writer for many years, and Nicky has created two novels based on Julie’s TV and film scripts. Both are stories set on the fictional estate of Valley Park in Newcastle, and the criminal world that inhabits it. 


The Prodigal was a bestseller in 2015 and The Rave was published on 14th August 2018.


Nicky is a proud eighties throwback and cat lady and lives in North Tyneside.

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