All the Places I’ve ever Lived is part ghost story, part murder ballad, part crime thriller and explores the themes of outsiders and difference, with a dark edge. People say it has a Twin Peaks feel.
It is set in West Cumbria, a semi-industrial, remote and unloved part of northern England on the edge of the Lake District and on the edge of just about everything else. The action begins in 1976, when fifteen-year-old Barry wakes up one day to find that his body is covered in strange, metallic lumps. Living next to a thermometer factory and nine miles from Sellafield nuclear plant could be an explanation for this, but, actually, something more uncanny is going on. The evening before, a girl from Barry’s school, Philomena May, was brutally attacked and left in a ditch to die. Philomena’s ghost visits Barry and uses the metallic lumps to guide them both into the future, where Barry and the ghost girl’s purpose is to prevent a real-life multiple shooting carried out in the same town.
The book flicks between 1976 and 2010, and explores the effect of horrendous crimes on small communities and the way the gradual accretion of small grudges can drive a person to mass murder. It's a thrilling mash up of Edward Scissorhands, In Cold Blood, and Back To The Future.
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Here are some links to all the music referenced in the novel, with links if you'd like to listen as you read and a youtube playlist too here