At first when I decided to turn my blog into a book review column I contacted a ton of publishers requesting that they send me their most recent titles. I was inundated but ultimately left unsatisfied.
Many of the books appeared to be cloned stories of other highly successful multi-award winning novels, purely written in an effort to ride a craze and make a ton of money; this annoyed me. In an effort to seek out originality I turned to the best source of writers and untapped talent that I could find.
Twitter has revolutionised connecting professionals, it truly is excellent. I used the micro blogging tool to locate self published original work that could capture my imagination, and appealed to my ever hungry mind that longs for an engrossing tale.
Months went by and then I found it, finally a story that was original, if not purely for its honest void of the bourgeois musings that litter the worlds bookshelves.
Rhino Hunt is an honest look at the relationships held between modern middle aged men. Just as the success of the Inbetweeners movie is largely down to its realistic take on teenage life, Rhino Hunt exposes many truths of what it means to be a middle aged man, especially the ones blessed with that innate ability to act like a child, and get away with it.
A debut novel from a 56 year old Civil servant. Nick Higgins was dissatisfied with how the publishing industry lacked books that he enjoyed:
"Working at sea I used to read a lot. I found the selection on offer to be mainly ex Special Forces He-Man characters or chick-lit. There were no genuinely funny books out there. So, I decided I could do a bit better and use some of my experiences and recollections to form the basis of Rhino Hunt."
Like many authors before him, Nick decided to draw from his own personal experiences in a effort to turn something bad into something productive.
"I was the victim of a Bulgarian property scam. Having succumbed to all the blurb regarding a fantastic opportunity to own prime beachfront property alongside the Black Sea' I purchased an apartment and waited for the keys. All I ended up getting were spurious emails and the satisfaction that a bogus property dealer was driving around in a top of the range Mercedes. This was one incentive to put pen to paper."
"Trapped in a 43meter steel prison, watching countless DVDs whilst off watch, I felt there must something more productive to do with my time. I was a prisoner of my own choosing. I decided to write a novel in my off duty moments and Rhino Hunt was started. I penned the outline during an hour's watch somewhere in the North Sea and started the novel when I returned to my cabin. One year later the words were there, but not necessarily in the right order."
Nick, like many nearing their retirement have a wealth of experience, all of which offer really insightful and hilarious stories. Publishers however, don't tend to see this benefit. Instead all they want is a early 30's writer whom they know that they can get a wealth of books and generate a ton of cash.
"After a while I felt like the nag at the Grand National. You start off full of energy and enthusiasm for the encounter, only to fall at the first hurdle - every time! I became disillusioned but accepted the fact that there are just so many authors and so few agents. They can pick and choose. Self-publishing was a viable option in getting my book 'out there' with little or no expense involved. At least friends and family had access to my literary foray."
Rhino Hunt had me "loling" ( I never lol) on a 6pm packed out Bakerloo line service to Queens Park. I knew each of the characters having served for a time in the British Army as a private. It was as if I was reading tales plucked from my own past; Full of wit, banter, tons of swearing and riddled with sexism. The estate agent Richie is a foul mouthed pisshead that loves nothing more than to wind up his mates and generally get them in the shit. It's an extremely funny book and can be read in less than a week, as it will rarely leave your hands.
Rhino Hunt is self-published and available to buy from Amazon.