When strangers take part in a series of group suicides, everything suggests that a cult is to blame. How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller from the critically acclaimed author of Good Samaritans.
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.
That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.
Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
Will Carver is a genius. Nothing Important Happened Today is brilliant, shocking, unpredictable and totally mind-boggling. And it’s set against a terse, insightful and total indictment of modern life, so that as well as a seriously creepy serial killer story this is an apt and damning social commentary. I was intrigued from the very beginning – this is so entirely different from anything I’ve ever read.
And it’s not only our society Carver rails against – social media, modern day parenting and political correctness all come under his harsh yet witty microscope. (“We are so connected that we have become disconnected.”) He shows incredible insight into the human psyche and I found his observations fascinating and honest.
The story is cleverly crafted. In the first part it’s interspersed with an ‘instruction manual’ on how to create a cult, which gives a fascinating, well-researched and frightening overview of cults from the Waco bunch to the Moonies, Manson and Scientology. In part two, the guide changes, and suddenly the reader is getting lessons on how to be a serial killer. Here again, the references are well-known, from Shipman to Dahmer. Carver tells us, “The real trick to being the biggest serial killer in history is to learn from all the other fuck-ups. No accomplice. No dependents. No mistakes.”
By this time in the book I’m thinking, “OK, I thought we were dealing with a cult, but it now appears we’re dealing with a serial killer”. Just one of the ways in which this book totally messed with my mind.
In a way, Nothing Important Happened Today is a fascinating history of cults and serial killers. It’s also a treatise on the current ills of our society as well as modern-day fears and malaise. But above all it’s an excellent, amazingly sophisticated psychological thriller.
The chronology was interesting. I would read about a (usually horrific) event, and then the author would suddenly take me back a few minutes, or a few hours. An interesting and welcome change from the predictable interspersing of chapters set in the present and the past that are so much a feature of many of today’s psychological/crime thrillers.
There are plenty of red herrings, and it’s genius the way Will Carver misleads his readers about who is responsible.
This book is not for the faint-hearted or squeamish. It’s the stuff of nightmares: raw, extreme and full of graphic detail.
In his acknowledgements, Will Carver relates how he was told his book ideas are ‘batshit crazy’ – I couldn’t have put it better myself and now cannot wait to read the rest of his work.
About the author:
Will Carver spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children.