Sunday, 3 December 2017

Zombie Park

Set in the mid 1980s in a rundown psychiatric hospital facility against a backdrop of the massive socio-political changes that were washing through Britain this debut novel from author Simon Marlowe, Zombie Park tells the story of a young, idealistic and somewhat naive student psychiatric nurse Roland Cauldron as he commences work at the aging and fairly grim Wellington Park Hospital.

But what happens when the lunatics really are in charge of the asylum?

Eager to please and equally eager to learn, the young and very earnest Roland suddenly finds himself plunged into a bewildering maelstrom rather than a place of healing and nurturing.

He meets a range of characters such as the temporary Chief Executive Officer Morten Slaney who is an out-and-out psychopath, Fitzpatrick, the martinet of a nursing manager and the medical doctor who was the third part of the management team, Doctor Caldwell who was oleaginous and self-serving.

They have one concern, the preservation of the reputation of Wellington Park Hospital, at almost any cost.

One of those costs might be nurse Annie Buchanan who, after challenging Morton Slaney somehow ended up stripped of her job and trapped within the hospital as an inpatient. 

Already feeling under pressure and facing his own difficulties with the management, this ramps up his anxiety.

As if things weren't complex enough, Roland meets and falls in love with fellow student Sophie Smith. Who issues Roland with a challenge. Prove his mettle by teaming up with her and battling the management and taking them on.

It's not easy and the day-to-day tragicomedic events at the hospital do nothing to help Roland.

What should he do? Battle against the management or join the doped out Pothead Pixies, colleagues who have decided that the best thing to do was to self-medicate themselves into oblivion?

Ultimately Roland finds himself endangered and defeated in both love and his professional life, betrayed and bereft.

However, when all looks hopeless for Roland a mysterious patient at the facility, Alan Starr steps forward and acts as a guide for Roland to help save him from himself.

It's a somewhat dark and disturbing novel written from the point of view of someone who has seen such a facility from the insides.

It's published by Matador at £9.99 and will make an interesting Christmas gift for the reader who likes their fiction gritty and realistic.

You can buy it here

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