It's a rare person who doesn't need a little advice now and again but if I have any advice for Cape the publishers of 'Advice for Strays' by Justine Kilkerr (also known fondly as 'sniffy jenkins' on twitter) it's this, don't tell us this book is about mystery because contrary to the hype there isn't much mystery for the reader to gnaw at and entangle themselves in within the pages of this 'first novel'. Here is a story about fragility, fear. It bleeds, it weeps, as it weaves the bruised strands and delicate colours of memory into its journey. Marnie's father has disappeared along with the neighbourhood cats, that's quite a bit to chew on but it's no mystery.
You will, dear reader, hover from precipice to precipice as if following a butterfly through some dark and scary canyon, knowing you can only go on. Jessica and Shuilie are 'fronting it out' as Marnie gets lost deeper and deeper in childhood. Jericho is back. Advice for Strays mauls you with its honesty, its loneliness, its need. The world in which you are drawn into is like the safe warm place under the duvet, where you huddle with Marnie occasionally braving the menacing breath of Jericho to peek out and see if daylight has come yet. For me this is a story about Jericho and partly, about damage. Get your trumpets out it's time to storm the castle!