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On The The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Phillip Michael Shirley’s chilling and innovative debut novel, The Rivers That Run Through Us has evil Ike Killerman in the centre of this dark look deep into the outer limits of the human condition.
The Rivers That Run Through Us
Delving deep into the human psyche, new malevolent thriller, The Rivers That Run Through Us by Phillip Michael Shirley almost transcends its genre, with a nuanced and almost poetical narrative which delivers one of the most chilling twists of the year.
After a woman is drowned in a river following a desperate escape from an evil monster, her two young sons search for redemption and their estranged older brothers in and around the disappearing world of East London’s Isle of Dogs. This story of five estranged brothers, abusive and violent upbringings and the disturbing impact of misogyny on family and society is a twisting adventure beyond dreams and reality.
Henry, Jack, Paul, Ray and John Killerman lead messed up lives, each one dealing with the struggle of his own; all lost in a labyrinth of troubling preoccupations. The madness progresses to another level when their paths cross with the wildly enigmatic Sunny, unleashing a chain of events that defy belief. This unputdownable novel bursts with multi-dimensional, hateful and flawed characters woven into an unpredictable plot that has moral ambiguity at its core.
Phillip Michael Shirley
With biographies on horse-trainer Mike Heaton-Ellis, rugby phenomenon Jonah Lomu, and the life and death experiences of Formula One drivers making up his published repertoire thus far, The Rivers That Run Through Us is a literary departure for Phillip Michael Shirley. But, on the strength of the critical praise garnered from those reviewing before publication, if you’re looking for a read that takes you to the very edge of depravity (and aren’t offended by vulgar profanities), The Rivers That Run Through Us is the book for you.
Philip Michael Shirley is the author of The Soul of Boxing (longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year), Blood & Thunder: The Unofficial Biography of Jonah Lomu, and the universally praised Where is the Winning Post? The biography of Mikie Heaton-Ellis, which was published in 1998. He lives in London.
The history of this novel is littered with fragments, layers of ideas and stories that have travelled through time, their context and integrity affected in one way or another. The Killing Of The Swan, Killerman’s Run, The Gift, Valley of the Gods, and other assorted seemingly ill-fated pieces of work came together as streams of narrative debris from otherwise motionless pools of thought, forming what would become The Rivers That Run Through Us, largely constructed in a former dock workers cottage a stone’s throw from the River Thames on the Isle of Dogs in East London over a three year period between March 2020 and April 2023.
-Phillip Michael Shirley
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