The Truants

cropped-truants-demy-cover-v2-for-site9.jpgPraise for The Truants:

Named as one of Kendall Reviews Books of the Year, 2017 [see full list]
Dracula Society’s The Children of the Night Award nominee, 2017 [see full list]

‘Invigoratingly fresh… brutal and touching… an extremely smart, talented first novel’
Jack Ketchum, author of Off Season

‘…do we really need another urban bloodsucker novel? Well, perhaps not – unless that novel is The Truants by Lee Markham… A relentlessly brutal, nihilistic read, told in stripped-down, staccato prose, The Truants uses the metaphor of the vampire to portray society’s true victims and shines a despairingly honest light on areas not usually illuminated by genre fiction.’ [read full review]
The Guardian, best recent science fiction, fantasy and horror novels

‘The Trainspotting of supernatural prose’
Liam Sharp, DC comics’ Green Lantern (with Grant Morrison) and The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Womanco-founder of Madefire Comics and Motion Books

‘…some very rich writing that gives this novel a lift towards poetry… and the end is just so bloody good… I don’t want to be too specific about what happens, of course, but how it ends is a surprise – indeed, several surprises – from a real writer’s imagination.’ [read full review]
The British Fantasy Society

‘A unique, modern and very British take on the vampire genre’
Hammer Films

‘This novel is prime material for a possible TV series. There are enough split narratives, character arcs, and subplots that could very easily be explored or expanded without losing the overall direction or vibe of the tale… The Truants is a welcome and memorable addition to the vampire subgenre, full of original ideas and some nightmarishly vivid imagery… told with all the confidence and finesse of a veteran writer, it marks the beginning of a promising career.’ [read full review]
New York Journal of Books

‘A twisted vampiric read. Ideal for a summer scare.’

‘This is a brilliant novel, told with a real adeptness of touch…equal parts horror, crime thriller and social commentary [The Truants] breathes new life into the genre… and is a brilliantly written, entertaining read. There are parts which will have your hair standing on end, parts which are brutally violent, and then there are moments of touching poignancy. In short, this is something special and I can’t wait to see what the author writes next.’ [read full review]

‘The best vampire story since Let The Right One In[read full review]
Neil Martin,

‘This is something very different, a rare and beautiful treasure… great beauty within its message and beauty within how it has been written and constructed. It hooks you instantly and holds you there, in its unrelenting claws until the final page, leaving you spent (in a good way), its message lingering within you… Strap yourselves in. One of the most intelligent and erudite books I’ve read in a long while.’ [read full review]
Tarn Richardson, author of The Darkest Hand trilogy

‘Every now and then though, a novel will come along where the supernatural protagonist takes a back seat to the everyday horrors that we are so used to, we don’t even blink as we pass them by. A novel that pulls no punches at all in showing us a broken society that we are all at least partly responsible for. How the darkness in all of us feeds off, and in turn is fed on, by otherworldly horror. The Truants is that very novel. For such a short book, Markham does an amazing job of balancing key themes (abusive relationships and gender fluidity to name but two)… The Truants is a book that feeds evil off evil and somehow manages to end on a note of hope. Evil can be defeated but The Truants is no regular horror story and makes it clear, through its setting, that defeating evil is the responsibility of the reader… ‘Social Horror’ may not be a sub-genre but if Lee Markham carries on writing books like The Truants then it will be.’ [read full article]

‘A sharp and powerful new voice, Lee Markham has written an intelligent, visceral novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives… very dark, real, gritty and truthful about what happens in the world…’ [read full article]
Me and My Books

‘Lee Markham is a genius… undeniably one of the best books of the year.’ [read full article]
Bloody Good Horror Books

‘Every so often, a book comes along that is almost something familiar, but is also, simultaneously, something completely unexpected. Such is the case with Lee Markam’s debut novel The Truants… The Truants is not simply a novel about the horror of monsters, but it is also very much a novel about the monstrous horrors that are almost institutionalized within Western culture [and] illustrates how, generally, we ourselves build the cages that hold us back while also showing that we are the only ones that can free ourselves from those same cages… a fascinating, challenging and enjoyable read, the type of which there simply aren’t enough.’ [read full article]
Evil Book-Pusher Overlord Reviews

‘Vampires are back on the streets of London in Lee Markham’s visceral debut The Truants. Just when you thought the vampire mythology could not take another go round, Markham takes this corner of the horror genre and gives is a shake. His stated aim is to create some discomfort for readers and he succeeds. There is a deeper mythology here [and] Markham manages to breath some new life into a long-running horror trope that is visceral, often poetic and sympathetic to many of its characters.’ [read full article]
PS News/Pile By The Bed 

The Truants is decidedly different, in a good way. Twisted, and filled with some remarkable imagery, and a creep factor which is exceptionally high.’ [read full review]
Cemetary Dance

The Truants is alive. You can feel the fear and fret and failure. You can hear the cacophonous discordance of strangers in the background. You can understand the metaphysical importance of each decision. You can become one of them, a truant, a juvenile drug addict, a visceral truth.’ [read full review]

The Truants is a tale of the social underclass, of knife crime, drug abuse and poverty  with a clever new interpretation of the Vampire mythology woven between the rat infested tower blocks. It’s beautifully written, almost poetic at times, there were several passages that literally stopped me reading for a moment it was so powerful. The way Markham details the grief of a murdered childs mother were stunning, the vile descriptions of poverty and abuse in a small flat where drug addled parents fester whilst their dirty, lice ridden child is in another room desperate for love and attention is simply heartbreaking… a remarkable piece of work that demands to be read.’ [read full review]
Gavin Kendall, Kendall Reviews

The Truants does its work… with elegance and singing prose. The flow is such that putting down the book is difficult, and reading too fast, a mistake… the images evoked are both familiar and strange, forcing a slower perusal. Multiple readings would be enriching. Anyone interested in the varied tapestry that vampire fiction has become since Bram Stoker first popularized the genre should find much to enjoy—and ponder—in The Truants.’ [read full review]
Forward Reviews

‘An innovative twist on the traditional vampire narrative. In this startling, noirish tale of immortality, bloodlust and rage that contaminates London’s youth like a virus, Lee Markham interweaves the unconventional with the haunting folklore of the underworld to create a slayer of a novel! ‘ [read full review]
Better Read Than Dead

‘…despite the bleak atmosphere, there are moments of hope and love. Danny is one of the most heartbreaking characters, a young boy who is on his way home to his mum, looking forward to her bolognaise and watching Harry Potter on TV. Except he never makes it. I loved following him as he goes from a regular kid to a reluctant vampire… Many of the most powerful moments in the story involve grief, and the lost opportunities between two people… The Truants isn’t an easy read, but [its] beautiful prose tells a horrible story, and that’s not easy to pull off well. For readers who are willing to take a trip to the dark side, you won’t be disappointed. I loved it for its originality and grittiness… [it’s] so original… I’ve never read anything quite like it!’ [read full review]
Books, Bones & Buffy

‘This story told from many points of view explores the value of hope-versus-despair and touches on issues of addiction, child abuse, and class conflict. Markham’s grisly descriptions and nods to Stephen King, make this a fresh take on horror, and his thought-provoking consideration of social topics and the power of the subconscious create a unique vampire story.’ [read full review]

‘An absolutely stonking good read… the Tarantino-esque timeline gripped from start to finish’
Russ Williamson,

‘By the end of chapter two my coffee was untouched and cold beside me. This wasn’t about vampires at all. It was about the emerging social underclass in the UK. It was about knife crime. It was about the London riots. It was about the social neglect that led to the murders of Baby P, James Bulger and Damilola Taylor. And it stirred me’ [read full review]
Vanessa Austin Locke, The Latest

Truants Demy Cover v2

Following his lover’s suicide, the last of the ‘old-ones’ – ancient immortal beings, as clever as they are ruthless and unable to withstand the light of the sun – has had enough of this world gone to ruin and decides to end his immortality. As he waits for the burning dawn on a bench near a council estate, he is held up at knife point by a youth and stabbed.

While the old-one’s body turns to ashes with the rising sun, his assailant scurries back into the estate with the knife in his pocket. The old-one’s blood is still seared into its sharpened blade, and when it draws blood again, his consciousness is awakened in the victim from the depths of the afterlife. And so, as the knife does the rounds, one by one the young are taken over by the old one’s mind. Determined to die, he must find and destroy the knife before his soul becomes irrevocably dispersed in the bodies of the city’s children, trapped for ever in its feral underbelly. But someone is out to stop him…

Inspired by the murders of Baby P, Jamie Bulger and Damilola Taylor, and by the London riots during the summer of 2011, The Truants is a visceral, intelligent, gripping novel which uncovers the fragility and hopelessness of Britain’s social underclass – and the horror of their everyday lives.

Available from:
waterstone's      blackwells      amazon
wh smiths      foyles

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