Tom is grieving for his girlfriend. Her powerful family, convinced he is responsible for her death, place a bounty on his head. On the run, Tom seeks refuge in the Bothy, a dilapidated moorland pub run by ageing gangster Frank. Tom tries to keep the bounty a secret, but news travels fast, even in the middle of nowhere.
Trevor Mark Thomas’s first novel is a tense, violent drama involving desperate characters with little to lose apart from their lives. Amid moments of black humour and rare tenderness, buried fears and rivalries rise to the surface, creating an atmosphere of claustrophobia that builds to almost unbearable levels.
Praise for this Book
‘An absorbing debut – delightfully taut – a tender, gruesome villain at its heart.’ —Joe Stretch
Reviews of this Book
‘After his girlfriend dies, and her family of gangsters blame him for the death, Tom goes into hiding in the Bothy, a remote pub on the Yorkshire moors. In the Bothy he finds another group of gangsters, led by Frank, and as the pub is cut off by snow (and food supplies dwindle to crisps past their sell-by date) the bodies begin to pile up. It is a classic set-up and The Bothy is a gripping read, Trevor Mark Thomas embraces the crime novel’s ability to create atmosphere from description: “After a while, Tom put the book down and watched the snow. It fell like ash.”’ —James Doyle, Bookmunch
‘In Mark Thomas's intensely gritty debut, Tom hides out in an isolated Yorkshire moors pub to escape his dead girlfriend’s criminal family, but sanctuary eludes him — what can he do to survive? Grim northern realism painted with heart and humour.’ —Karen Robinson, The Times
‘There's a pervading sense of rot and decay which oozes from the pages and seeped into my pores as I read this one. A fantastic sense of place, one that left me in need of a cleansing shower after each session reading the book. Tom is a sympathetic character, one driven low by events which have now escalated and spiralled totally out of control. He's not quite without hope but his resolve is severely tested. Reading to the end, I was anxious to see what final hand fate dealt him. Setting, character, mood, plot, narrative and outcome – all ticks in the box. The Bothy is Trevor Mark Thomas's debut novel – something I find hard to believe. It's very good.’ —Colman Keane, Col’s Criminal Library
‘This taut and extremely violent thriller, as claustrophobic as a single-setting play, is about characters whose desperation comes not so much from having nothing to lose but from their conviction that they have nothing to gain either. Lean, sharp writing supports a striking talent for uncovering the emotional lives of people who are determined not to have any emotions.’ —Mat Coward, Morning Star
‘★★★★ A compelling nervy tension runs through the back heart of the grity debut novel. Its bleak descriptions are cinematic, from Tom’s “haven” with its picked eggs and sticky carpets, to the moment our lead characte crashes in the snow and has to pick freedom or protection… The tension builds to the final pages, so much so the shocking climax is almost a relief.’ —Alex Lloyd, Daily Express
‘The isolation of the countryside is more complellingly rendered in Trevor Mark Thomas’s The Bothy. The novel’s hereo, Tom, has a price on his head because his girlfriend has recently been killed in a car accident and her father, a notorious gangster, holds Tom responsible. The Bothy succeeds on its own modest terms: there are no strained topical hooks or cod philosophical musings, just plenty of violence and dread. One noteworthy motif is its sporadic allusions to the lives of local strippers and glamour models. These vignettes are understatedly powerful, evoking a melancholic sympathy for the hidden human histories beneath the seedy glamour.’ —Houman Barekat, Times Literary Supplement
‘In reality the most memorable character here is The Bothy itself – the author does an amazing job of bringing the dingy and depressing place to life, expertly conveying the neglect, the assault on the senses and the sense of doom that imprisons the characters. He does a similarly powerful job in describing the rural surroundings and the horrendous weather conditions that only serve to cut it off from reality and civilisation even more. With a tale so explicitly based in a specific location, the characters speaking in regional dialect might have added even more authenticity, but that does not detract from what is a very fine read. You’ll want to find out what happens – but you might not thank your curiosity when you do!’ —Delme Jones, Storgy