Mark’s fifteen. His friends call him Psycho. He hates school and has a burgeoning career in house-breaking. His dad left when he was just a kid, and now he’s stuck on a mountain-top estate with the worst reputation in Wales. His best mate Daniels - if you can call him a mate - sniffs glue. Emma’s always hanging round trying to straighten him out, and now his Mum’s got a bun in the oven and rat-faced Humphries - the father - has scarpered.
Just when Mark thought things couldn’t get any worse they promptly do. Is there any hope when the police come knocking and Mark is swallowed by the young offenders system? The recriminations, the child psychologists, the screws, a family crisis: it all feels too much for a young loner like Mark. There’s no escape. Or is there?
Status Zero is the story of an adolescent starting from a perilous position in a society which couldn’t give a shit. Provocative, moving, it is also the story of a boy becoming a man, challenged by responsibilities the action films don’t tell you about.
Status Zero was the best novel I'd read for some years
I came across Status Zero whilst browsing in a bookshop. I noticed the book had been out for a while , but I liked the cover blurb, bought the book, took it home, and forgot about it for a few weeks. When I next picked it up , having a few minutes spare, that was it for the next six hours! I really could not put Status Zero down. It's a great story, full of twists and turns with a fantastic, fulfilling end.
The main character is Mark Richards, a teenager running amok in a south Wales valley. Mark has had it rough and his life gets steadily worse as the book develops. Mark is a burglar, amongst other things, delighting in robbing the houses of the rich, and making fools of the police. Mark's life gets darker when his baby brother disappears-for good it seems, a mystery which burns throughout the book without ever being solved. Mark ends up in prison where, given a book about the sea, develops a fascination for whales . This takes the book to another place altogether. The closed in valleys change to the wide open spaces of the Shetlands, where Mark is sent on a rehabilitation course. It's a change that took me by surprise but was really effective. Granelli's descriptive powers seem to be able to cope with anything, his prose is spare, never over elaborate, but somehow rich also. I don't think this guy is very well known as a writer, which is a shame, for Status Zero was the best novel I'd read for some years