Wednesday, 29 November 2017

East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman with extract.

Meet Jay.
Small-time dealer.
Accidental jihadist.
The one man who can save us all?
Javid – call him Jay – is a dope dealer living in West London. He goes to mosque on Friday, and he’s just bought his pride and joy – a BMW. He lives with his mum, and life seems sweet.
But his world is about to turn upside-down. Because MI5 have been watching him, and they think he’s just the man they need for a delicate mission.
One thing’s for sure: now he’s a long way East of Hounslow, Jay’s life will never be the same again.

I'm delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for East of Hounslow the debut novel by Khurrum Rahman. I was slightly hesitant when I was asked to review this book. It is nothing like my usual read and way out of my comfort zone but I'm so glad I said yes.
At first I didn't know what to think of Jay. He was a small time drug dealer always ducking and diving. 
He used bad language, he was violent, irreverent, loyal,funny, he was lost in a life that if you scraped the surface you would find he didn't want. The funniest part of the book is when he realizes that he has actually been asked to work for MI5, no joking around, they have really asked him. 
Although the subject matter of this book is serious it is peppered with humour throughout. At times I was on the edge of my seat, reluctant to turn the page in case what I feared would happen did happen.
The book takes the reader on a journey of how some young men are  indoctrinated into terrorist organizations, sometimes being part of something is better than being part of nothing.
There are other characters in the story we get to know well like, Jay's best friend Idris who is a police officer and Parvez, Jay's childhood friend and neighbour who is the cause of Jay getting into a whole lot of trouble.
There are a few surprises and twists in the book especially at the end when the author pulled the rug from under me and upset me greatly.
I said at the beginning that I didn't know what to think of Jay but by half way through the book I had grown to love him and when you read it you will understand why. It is a book relevant to the times we live in. 
Even if this is not the usual genre you read I recommend you give this book a chance as I'm sure like me you will say it's a really good read and a great debut novel.
The paperback is large and I thought it would take me ages to read it but the print is big and it was easy to read.
I have just read that the author is writing a follow up book to this story and hopes to make it a trilogy.
That makes me happy as I'm now thinking there is another twist to the story....fingers crossed.

The publishers have very kindly sent me an extract from chapter one of the book. Enjoy! 
Published tomorrow in paperback or kindle here and I'm sure all bookshops.

Part One
An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
– Mahatma Gandhi 
My name is Javid Qasim. I am a Muslima British born Muslim. Do you know how many times I have been pulled over by the police since 9/11? Once. And that was because I was nonchalantly jumping lanes without indicating my intentions to my fellow drivers. I got a ticking off from the Fuzz who were quite happy to forego the paperwork and give me a friendly warning. They didnt even search my careven though the stench of skunk was unmistakeable. To this day I am proud to say that I've never had my fingerprints taken.

Do you know how many times I have been racially abused
since 7/7? Not even once. I get called Paki every daybut not in the – what the fuck did you call me? – way. In my circle its a term of endearment. You seewe know who we are. And what some may see as an insultwe see as a badge of fuckinhonour. The word Pak means pure and the word Pak means clean. And if you didnt know thatthen consider yourself educated.
Im not stupid or naïve. I am aware of exactly what is happening around me but youve got to play the game otherwise you might as well carry a big fat kick me sign on your back. Dont walk around wearing a sodding shalwar and kameez with a great big dopey beard and drive around in a fuckinHonda. Thats when you get pulled over and thats when you get racially abused. But not me. Why? Cos I play the game.
I know the plight of my Brothers and I know the struggle of my Sisters and I feel for themevery fuckinone of them. But what do you want me to do about it? Noman. Its not my war. Call it religion or call it politics or call it greed. It all amounts to the same thing: bloodsheddevastation and broken homes. Why would I want to get my head into something like that? Especially since my life has basically been one sweet ride – not too different 
from my latest acquisitiona black BMW 5 series. Its only two years oldless than thirty on the clock and its comfortable as fuck which is essential in my line of workas I spend a helluva lot of time in my car. Its my mobile office. I picked it up for a cool twenty G. I paid over the odds but fuck itI could afford it as business was ticking.
I was sitting in my ride at the back of Homebase car park in IsleworthWest Londonwaiting on a customer. He was late which would normally piss me off but I was otherwise distracted by all the shiny buttons and gadgets on my new whip. The speakers sounded sik and my nigga Pac never sounded so good as he rapped about dying young. I clocked my patron approaching and I couldnt help but frown. This was exactly what I was talking about. Hes wearing a plain white suit shirt tucked into his tracksuit bottomsfinished off with a pair of Bata flip flopslooking like he just stepped off the fucking boat. I know for a fact that hes forever being targeted because he looks like a fucking freshy. No-one likes a freshy. He looked around the car park and I realised I hadnt told him that Id replaced my Nova. I flashed my lights at him and his smile widenedat the sight of my Beemer. He approached and walked around it whistling appreciativelytaking special notice of my customised rims. I slid my window down and told him to get the fuck in. He did and he slammed the doorhard. I bit my tongue.
Youre late‚’ I said.
SorryBrotherI just came straight from the Masjid. Didnt
see you there. Then I remembered its only Thursday. You only ever come for Friday PrayersJavid‚’ he saidlaughing at the unfunny observation.
We shook hands and the deal was done. He left with a fistful of Hounslows premium and I with a fistful of dollars. He slammed my door and toddled off in his ridiculous outfit. I hate that fuckinsanctimonious prick. In the space of a minute he vexed . We shook hands and the deal was done. He left with a fistful of Hounslows premium and I with a fistful of dollars. He slammed my door and toddled off in his ridiculous outfit. I hate that fuckinsanctimonious prick. In the space of a minute he vexed me twice. Firstlyhe took a swipe at me because I dont go the Masjid day in day out. It doesnt make me any less of a Muslim than he is. So what if he decides to grow a beard and I decide to grow marijuana? Im still a Muslim. I couldnt care less if you sit in Aladdins eating your Halal Inferno Burger whilst I sit in Burger King eating a Whopper. I am still a Muslim. Ill drink when I wantIll curse and Ill fuck and Ill gamble and Ill get high. So what!? Read my lips. I. Am. Still. A. Muslim. I believe in Allah and only He can judge me. Not you. Or anyone else who walks this land.
Secondlyhe called me Javid. No-onebut no-onecalls me Javidnot even my Mum. No self-respecting drug dealer is called Javid. No playa is called Javid. Girls dont wanna be giving out their phone number to a guy called Javid.
Seriously. Call me Jay. 

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