Rhodes returns with a soldier's tale that delivers a late, and startling, ricochet.
Short on hope and love alike, young Glaswegian Scottie takes a well-trodden local path and enlists. Rhodes does the urban listlessness that drives his naïve hero to the colours with an unaffected grace and low-key empathy. When Scottie finds himself (inevitably) shipped out to the desert, sweating and shaking in an unfathomable war, the horror and confusion call up Rhodes's strongest prose.
Soon Scottie has crossed a hideous threshold – "He was 18 years old and he had killed another human being". Then, shockingly, he becomes a casualty himself. With his solitary retreat to Glasgow comes a drastic lurch in genre and tone. This shift will divide critics, but may endear a grittily lyrical story of squandered youth to readers of its hapless hero's age - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
It's about life and death, life-changing decisions, coming of age, and the relationships we have with our family and friends. It's about the places we grow up and the people we know. It's about coming to terms with grief. Soldier Boy is written with good pace, emotional honesty and a clear-sighted and humane view of people, and I thoroughly enjoyed it - The Bookbag
What I find most appealing is the way that Rhodes is more than capable of making a social or political point without ever neglecting the actual storyline or sacrificing the relationships between his characters. Scottie's journey and experiences are genuinely moving... - Steven Harris, Open Wide Magazine