"I didn't ask any questions. Everything I wanted to know was written in tortured phrases across the desolation of her face."
John Fante - Ask the Dust
THE JOHN SISSONS TRILOGY
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Two boys. John and Kenny. One streetwise and football mad, the other cold and unfathomable.
It's 1975. The heart of London's East End. As John celebrates the Hammers beating Fulham in the Cup Final, Kenny tumbles out the door of the new people's house across the street having taken a beating of a different kind.
When the new school year begins, John befriends Kenny, defending him from the ridicule of his classmates. But when you become mates with someone as odd, as downright terrifying as Kenny, nothing is ever straightforward. Amidst the turbulent years of late seventies London, the lives of John and Kenny spiral out of control. They meet again, years later, and local villain, Ronnie Swordfish, is after Kenny's head. All John can do is watch. Kenny, he ain't saying a word. He never does.
So when Ronnie gives the order to fetch his three foot Samurai sword, John thinks the game's all but up. Thing is, he don't know the half of it...
Abide With Me is a story of football, friendship, and hope. And gangsters.
A story of how two boys walk blind into the darkness... and emerge as men.
Sometimes, you don't know what sort of man you are until you are called upon to protect your family.
Bethnal Green, East London, 1991.
John Sissons is out of work, out of friends, and out of luck. Fortune soon smiles upon him, though, and he gets a job in a door factory.
It's not much, but it's something.
But as the days go by in the factory, and the layers are peeled away, John realizes he didn't get this job by accident.
His past is exploding in front of his eyes. And when you have a past like the one John has, he knows he'll be lucky if he makes it out alive.
Every fiber in his body is telling him to run. But John's had a lifetime of running. Running is no longer an option.
When his sister goes missing, John knows it's only a matter of time before they come for him.
But he won't be going down without a fight.
Not this time.
With his mum seriously ill, and never having gotten over the death of his dad, ex-con, John Sissons is in a dark place. The only people that matter to him are his girlfriend, Tracey, and best friends, ex-con turned youth worker, Keith, and Thommo, incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital for the last ten years.
All John wants is for the world to leave him alone.
But sometimes, the world comes knocking.
When Tracey leaves him, and someone starts blackmailing Keith over a murder he committed in prison, and Thommo is left broken and smacking his head off the wall after a visit from persons unknown, John knows if he doesn’t pull his socks up, he’s going to lose everyone he’s got left to love.
And what of the mysterious homeless man John has become obsessed with? Where does he fit into all this?