Publication Date 05 08 2021
Shirley Steadman, a 70 year old living in a small town in the North East of England, loves her volunteer work at the local hospital radio. She likes giving back to the community, and even more so, she likes getting out of the house. Haunted by the presence of her son, a reluctant Royal Navy officer who was lost at sea, and still in the shadow of her long dead abusive husband, she doesn't like being alone much.
One day, at the radio station, she is playing around with the equipment and finds a frequency that was never there before. It is a pirate radio station, and as she listens as the presenter starts reading the news. But there is one problem - the news being reported is tomorrows. Shirley first thinks it is a mere misunderstanding - a wrong date. But she watches as everything reported comes true. At first, Shirley is in awe of the station, and happily tunes in to hear the news.
But then the presenter starts reporting murders - murders that happen just the way they were reported.
And Shirley is the only one who can stop them.
I adore most novels that include speculative aspects in their narratives so when I first saw the premise for Half-Past Tomorrow I just knew I had to read it.
At first glance it reminded me of an old film called Frequency with Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel, Shawn Doyle and Elizabeth Mitchell. In Frequency an accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father's life, but then must fix the consequences. I loved that film and you can see how the radio link in this novel made me think of it.
However Half-Past Tomorrow is richer in its characterisation and has much wider implications for those around our main protagonist Shirley. I loved how it started off with small predications like a baker having an accident, then slowly got darker. I wondered how on earth she would help anyone without sounding crazy. The conversations with her daughter made me smile.
Shirley is a brilliant character, there were times when I wanted to rescue her and give her a cuddle and others when I laughed out loud at her actions. Such a great balance to the dark subject matter of marital abuse and murder. But Shirley is no push over and she is determined to find out what is going on. Her caustic wit on doing so had me in stitches.
Once again Chris writes beautifully with a narrative that is almost poetic and a plot that is imaginative and expertly crafted.
I really didn't enjoy The Thursday Murder Club with older crime fighters, it was too cosy murder genre for me. But make no mistake this is nothing like it. This is real, raw, funny and full of so many twists and turns that you wont be able to put it down. You should read it.
About the Author
Chris McGeorge studied MA Creative Writing (Crime/Thriller) at City University London where he wrote his first novel as his thesis. His interests are broad - spanning film, books, theatre and video games. He is a member of the Northern Crime Syndicate, a supergroup of writers from Northern England. He lives in County Durham with his partner and many, many animals.