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.
‘An absorbing debut – delightfully taut – a tender, gruesome villain at its heart.’ —Joe Stretch
‘4/4 The Bothy is a confident debut novel, exciting and fast paced, an exhilarating read. It is also a very subtle exploration of grief, betrayal, love and loyalty, a thriller with real depth … Shovels, frost bite, guns, gangs, and cracked pipes all feature in this clever ensemble piece. The moorland pub at the dead of winter, hinting at horror, is a cracking setting. Tom begins to realise that it’s out of the frying pan into the fire! He will need all the guile and strength he can muster, and one or two friends, if he is to survive The Bothy.’ —Paul Burke, NB Magazine
‘The Bothy is horribly engrossing: a blackly comic gangster horror that reads like a northern cousin of Ben Wheatley’s Down Terrace. Its cast of strangely ambivalent villains will linger in your mind. And if you've never tasted pickled egg before, you certainly won't want to after reading this.’ —Gregory Norminton
‘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
‘Hiding out in a remote pub from a vengeful gang family, Tom finds his hosts are just as dangerous. Excellent darkly comic rural noir; a touch of Magnus Mills in the escalating body count. Lots to enjoy here!’ —255bookreview.com
‘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
‘The Bothy by Trevor Mark Thomas, published last month, is the tale of an innocent man with a price on his head. He’s stranded in a truly grotty pub on the border of Yorkshire and Lancashire that’s populated by some truly dodgy characters ... What will become of Tom, and how in fact did his girlfriend die, and will her criminal family find him? More League of Gentleman than Emmerdale, but very much its own thing, and most moody - this is a landscape of pickled eggs, damp, dirty horse brasses, second- or even third-hand porno mags, and even more damp: I know pubs like this from my youth. This book really should have been photographed against the background of a very sticky pub carpet. And I’ll never look at someone wearing a boiler suit in the same way again ... It’s a tense and gritty read that provides a necessary alternative to sentimental depictions of rural England.’ —Andrew Wille
‘This debut novel begins with Tom fleeing to a remote, run-down pub called the Bothy. His girlfriend’s family blame Tom for her death, and now there is a price on his head. He is taken in by Frank, the gangster in charge of the Bothy, but even this may not be enough to protect him. By keeping the focus tightly on Tom’s present predicament, rather than the background that led up to it, Thomas gives his novel a sense of urgency and drive which pushes the reader on. The Bothy is a hothouse of character that remains tense to the end.’ —David Hebblethwaite, David’s Book World
‘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
‘Thomas has absolutely nailed the sticky floor of the pub, the muddy yard and its ever-present smell of sewage, not forgetting the temperamental boiler. You can imagine the dankness of the inside of The Bothy and the tangle of untidy rooms in need of redecoration stretching out behind the bar – yet with a roaring fire going, bacon sizzling in the frying pan, even letting the sun shine for a bit, and you do get an illusion of being in ‘God’s country’, (well just about!). I also loved that the lack of mobile signal means that communications are via a proper telephone – it added to the old-fashioned gangster feel and there’s more menace in having to pick up the ringing phone without knowing who’s at the other end.’ —Annabookbel
‘★★★★ 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
‘★★★★★ An original spin on the gangster crime novel and helps makes this book an original and compelling tale. While on some levels The Bothy is a story about gangsters, it’s not a gangster novel in the traditional sense. This is a much slower burn novel than many that feature gangsters, much more about the tension between the people living and working in The Bothy, their almost hand-to-mouth existence, the mounting suspicion and paranoia as things start to go wrong and both Frank’s enemies, and The Conways who have put a bounty on Tom’s head, start to encroach. I thoroughly enjoyed The Bothy and would recommend it highly.’ —James Pierson, Adventures in Crime Fiction Land