At 8 ¾ months pregnant, Tracey Parkes has everything she wants in life. A nice house, even if it is a bit on the small side, a long awaited baby on the way and a reliable husband to boot…
Well, as reliable as a husband can be when he’s keeping a long held secret – a secret she’s desperate to uncover. But with Jonathan continuing to keep schtum over the whole thing, Tracey is forced to turn to his past for answers. And it’s the unfortunate death of his old friend, Malcolm, that provides her with just the opportunity she’s been waiting for – an opportunity she soon wishes she hadn’t taken.
Of course, the last thing Tracey expects is to find both herself and her humongous belly squashed into the back of a classic, little Mini – all in a desperate attempt to catch up with three men on two vintage scooters. But with Jonathan seemingly hell bent on facing up to a past he’s spent years trying to forget, what choice does the mother-to-be have?
Going Underground is the brilliant debut novel by Brit writer, Suzie Tullett, inspired by years of scooter-loving and rallies with her Mod husband, Robert. It is apparent reading the book that there are keen observations of a ‘Mod-wife’ and a behind the scenes knowledge of the scootering fraternity. Plus there is the opportunity to create a fantastic mod playlist of songs, as the author has painstakingly titled each chapter with a song that offers a nod to its content – pure genius!
The story begins with ex-scooterist, Jonathan, paying respects at a late companion’s wake after his unfortunate demise in a scooter accident. His wife Tracey has questions that need answering with regards to a picture of a girl she found in Jonathan’s possession, and she thinks the funeral would be an ideal situation to uncover his secrets. It is apparent from the start that there is more to Jonathan’s past that he wants to keep hidden, but with heavily pregnant Tracey determined to unearth the past it seems unlikely that his skeletons will stay closeted for long.
Jonathan embarks on a road trip with a group of his other scooter compatriots to scatter the ashes at the holy grail of mods that is Brighton, leaving behind his long suffering wife, unaware and about to pop!
The journey is an often hilarious calamity of errors and situations that leave you holding your breath and wincing with either the awkwardness of what befalls the gangs, or wanting to cry along with their bitter realisations and memories. This is all kudos to the way Tullett weaves the tale and why (without needing a spoiler alert) my heart lurched with empathy for poor Jonathan at what he had to pick up from the side of the A428! Everyone’s worst nightmare!
The ending is complete, poignant and finishes off a truly lovely story of old friends trying to end the chapters of their past, ready to begin new ones.