Review of ‘Lost in Manchester, Found in Vegas’ appeared in The Bolton News, written by Nick Statham
The novel, which is available in paperback and e-book, was fittingly launched at at Manchester 235 Casino earlier this month.
It now boasts a five-star rating on Amazon and has been described as a ‘firecracker of a read’ and ‘incredibly witty’ among other plaudits.
The 35-year-old, who has a ‘day job’ working as merchandising analyst for JD Sports, says he is delighted at the reception the book has received.
He said: “It was nerve-wracking in the run up to it being released, but the reaction has been absolutely fantastic. I’ve had some really good reviews on Amazon and one or two on Twitter.
“And I keep getting messages from people saying ‘I’m half way through and really loving it, I really feel like I’m in Vegas’.”
And the talented author, who writes as NJ Cartner, admits the wild but emotive tale is somewhat semi-autobiographical.
He said: “It is kind of related to a trip I went on seven years ago. The baseline of the story is quite similar to those events.
“I had the idea to write a lot of fiction around it, to create this story where can guess what happened and didn’t happen.
“Going to Vegas was something me and my friends had wanted to do and talked about it for 10 years or so and we finally had the money to do it.
“The main character is based around me and the friends are an amalgamation of various people, but there’s a lot of fiction in it too.”
Mr Cartner says his literary inspirations include Fever Pitch author Nick Hornby and Rex Picket, who wrote the novel Sideways, later adapted for the big screen.
“That’s the one side of it, they capture that emotive side of coming of age,” he said.
But the storyline is also influenced by the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas author Hunter S Thompson and underground American writer Charles Bukowski.
“That’s the more crazy side of things, although I wouldn’t put my writing on that level,” added Mr Cartner.
But the Middleton-raised author, who moved to Little Lever six years ago, believes his work retains and authentic northern voice.
“I would say it’s a recognisably northern book,” he said. “There’s the humour, which obviously comes from my roots in the Manchester area, but I think people throughout the UK can probably relate to it.”
And he believes the combination of humour and emotion is what is most appealing to readers.
He said: “I think that’s the key strength of the book, it mixes the two. It’s funny and light-hearted, but also quite serious at times as well.”
Mr Cartner is also a freelance music journalist and broadcaster, and his love of rock ‘n’ roll finds its way into the book.
“It’s definitely on my personal taste,” he said. “There’s a lot of classic rock in there as well as Manchester acts. AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and The Doors are thrown in alongside Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses.”
Mr Cartner will be signing Lost in Manchester, Found in Vegas at WH Smith in Bolton on Saturday, November 11 between 10am and 4pm.
Read the original write-up here