Paperback

Published: Lightning Books (May 2022)

ISBN: 9781785633027

The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock

Kenny Boyle

£9.99

Wendy just wants to be a poet. So how comes she’s on the run after an art heist?

‘May well be the best book I’ve read in years’ – Peter May

An aspiring writer from the Southside of Glasgow, Wendy is in a rut. She tries to brighten her call-centre job by shoehorning as many long words as possible into conversations with customers. But her manager isn’t amused by that and, after a public dressing-down, Wendy walks out.

Jobless and depressed, she finds consolation in a surprise friendship with another disgruntled ex-colleague, wild-child painter Cat, who encourages her to live more dangerously. It’s just what Wendy needs and it’s also brilliant for her creative juices. But a black cloud is about to overshadow this new-found liberation, as well as to put Wendy on the wrong side of the law.

Fresh, insightful and funny, as well as unflinchingly honest about the tougher side of life, Kenny Boyle’s debut novel takes us deep into the psyche of a likeable misfit who treads a fine line between reality and fantasy – and just wants the world to see her true self.

OUT MAY 2022. AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW

Extracts

Sometimes I worry my mind isn’t on my side.

Ugh. No. Start over.


If you’re reading this, I’m already dead.

Sorry. No. Worst start ever. Cliché. I just always thought if I were going to write something like this then that’s how I’d start. Now that I’ve written it, it sounds a little insensitive given the circumstances.

Then again, she’d probably have laughed.

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Extracts

Sometimes I worry my mind isn’t on my side.

Ugh. No. Start over.


If you’re reading this, I’m already dead.

Sorry. No. Worst start ever. Cliché. I just always thought if I were going to write something like this then that’s how I’d start. Now that I’ve written it, it sounds a little insensitive given the circumstances.

Then again, she’d probably have laughed.

If you’re reading this then the chances are I’m probably not dead.

Although that depends on when you’re reading this. Maybe you’ve found this in an archaeological dig in the year 3020. Just a wad of ancient fossilised paper that survived after all the hard drives and supercomputers of the early twenty-first century were destroyed by an apocalyptic electro-magnetic pulse that ended social media forever.

Focus. Sorry. I’ve got a lot of adrenaline just now.

Start over.

I’m wasting too much time.

We only have so much.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

My name is Wendy.

Yes. That’s much better.

I’m writing this from my grandmother’s attic in Giffnock, where I’m hiding. I’m frightened, I’m angry, I’ve still got dried blood on my cuff and collar, and mostly, behind all the adrenaline, I’m sad.

Sadness is tingling all over my skin and poking my eyes.

‘Sad’ is such a pathetic-sounding word, there are so many other words for this feeling. I know a lot of them – knowing stupid unnecessary words is a bit of a hobby of mine – but ‘sad’ seems the truest.

You’re probably asking yourself some questions.

‘Why is she hiding? Is she being hunted by someone?’

Yes. And they’ll probably find me.

‘Why is she being hunted?’

I stole a painting. A priceless work of art. I know that doesn’t really show me in the best light, but I had a good reason, I swear.

‘Does she really think she’ll be safe hiding in the attic of her grandmother’s house?’

I live with my gran. It would be ridiculous to steal a priceless painting and go hide in the attic of your own home – so ridiculous that it’d be the last place people would look.

So that probably buys me some time.

Oh God, what am I doing?

quotes

‘Very different and engagingly unique. Kenny Boyle is bristling with talent, and this may well be the best book I’ve read in years’

Peter May

‘A charming, funny and unique story that tackles tough issues with a gentleness and poignancy that really resonated with me’

Clare Grogan

‘Funny, intelligent and insightful. Kenny Boyle is a singular voice’

Sanjeev Kohli

‘A bittersweet paean to friendship, art and making your mark, with a sharp line in patter and a big heart’

Alan Bissett

‘From the first line, The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock has a kind of gleeful playfulness at its heart, a light sense of humour applied even to heavy material. Immediate and engaging, it will resonate with anyone who ever wanted to escape everyday life’

Rodge Glass

‘Funny, heart-breaking and compassionate. Kenny Boyle deals with difficult subjects with great insight and a light touch. If you have ever dreamed of escape and of living life with no safety harness, this is the book for you’

Catherine Simpson

‘A Thelma & Louise for modern times, where two misfits become something bigger and more forceful when they meet, on a philosophical quest reminiscent of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. A masterful debut novel’

Des Dillon

‘A brilliant, big-hearted book about art, friendship, mental illness and the power of poetry and storytelling’

Maggie Haggith

‘A fresh and fascinating debut novel, full of vivacity and wit. Kenny Boyle is a born storyteller. Prepare to be unsettled and surprised’

Donald S Murray

‘Playful, witty and poignant – a refreshing new voice in Scottish literature’

Kevin MacNeil

‘I fell in love with this book and its main character without even noticing. I loved spending time with Wendy. When it was over, I just wanted to start again because I didn’t want to be parted from her. A cracking read’

Karen Bartke

‘Takes you on an emotional rollercoaster and never lets go. A modern Scottish version of Thelma & Louise that tackles mental health with humour, care and consideration’

Colin Burnett

reviews

extras

Kenny Boyle is profiled in The Scotsman.

The Daily Record reports Kenny’s top tips for American writers portraying Scottish characters.

ABOUT

Kenny Boyle

Kenny Boyle is a writer and actor born on the Isle of Lewis.

He trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and holds a masters in classical and contemporary text, as well as an honours degree in English, literature and theatre studies from the University of Strathclyde.

He is the star, alongside Natalie Clark, of the multi-award winning short film Perfect Strangers (2015) and of the feature-film follow-up Lost at Christmas (2020).

His plays include Playthrough and An Isolated Incident, and in 2021 he received a New Playwrights Award from the Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland. The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock is his debut novel.

Having grown up equally in both the bustling city of Glasgow and the tiny crofting village of Cromore, he likes to write about mental health, isolation, identity and – most of all – hope. He spends way too much time reading comics and playing video games.

kennyboyle.co.uk

Author photo by Mihaela Bodlovic

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