2000 Tunes. One summer of love.
Mark Hopton is twenty-four, single, and obsessed with Manchester music. It’s his escape into a better world.
Oh man, he needs that escape. His psycho brother’s on his case and in his face, his dad’s in prison, and the local gangsters are twisting his melons to make him smuggle drugs. Heaven knows he’s miserable now.
His one ray of hope is work colleague Samantha Rees, a gorgeous and chaotic Welsh woman who rocks his world. However, Samantha is living the twenty-four hour party people lifestyle, so would never be interested in a shy outsider like him.
But when a chance encounter leads to Mark and Samantha spending a perfect day together in the city centre, perhaps hope isn’t fool’s gold after all?
If you buy here then more money goes to the author. Yay! But if you prefer to buy from online stores such as Amazon, Kobo, Nook or Apple then here are links to the book on those sites (including print versions where available – or just pop into your local bookshop and order a paperback!).
"2000 Tunes is a beautifully written, perceptive novel about love, belonging and change. This is no fool's gold, it's the real stuff and I loved it! One of "My Top Reads of 2020"."
— Hair Past A Freckle
[At 35:26 in the linked radio programme you'll find a wonderful and extensive review of 2000 Tunes, named their book of the week]
— The Alfred Daily (radio) [also mentioned on Twitter] [text of review here]
"This is an author who really knows how to take his readers back in time with the mentions of different bands and songs.
Mark and Sam, I loved their characters. The story flicks between both of them and their lives and problems. Whilst there is a sense of romance within the story, this has so much more going for it. It’s about two individuals making sense of their lives and how they end up acting on it. So many of us get stuck in a rut and whilst we crave change, never do anything about it. In a way, both Mark and Sam inspired me.
I had so much empathy for Mark. He is a bit of a dreamer when it comes to music and it seems to be his whole life. I loved the little glimpses of courage we get to see.
2000 Tunes was a bit of a time hop read. The vibe of Manchester comes to life through the authors story telling. I was pleasantly surprised at how compelling these characters lives were and I enjoyed settling down on an evening and reading more. The ending is one I had hoped for and would love for the author to do a follow up story as by the end I was so invested in Mark and Sam’s life. A compelling and enjoyable read."
"A novel that I absolutely adored, and not just because it’s set in my hometown of Manchester! I read this and I felt like I was having a trip down memory lane.
A well-spun tale of self-confidence, choices, family loyalty and Mark's place in that. I loved that music was the overriding theme for each bit of the book and I found myself really getting attached to Mark with his love of Manchester and our brilliant music scene then. I loved every second of 2000 Tunes!"
— Beyond The Books
"This was a brilliantly written story that you follow Mark and Sam through their highs and lows, traveling the streets of Manchester. The characters are well developed and I enjoyed the flow and twists in the story that makes this a compelling read."
— P.Turners Book Blog
"I am a big fan of Karl Drinkwater. I’ve never been disappointed by his novels, and 2000 Tunes may be my absolute favorite.
The characters feel so real, it is as if I know them in real life. I love how deep we are taken into the lives of Sam and Mark. They are people I could empathize with and I felt compelled to keep reading because they were so well developed.
I absolutely love the way music is used in this novel. Karl Drinkwater has crafted a unique narrative that merges with music, and kept me hooked to this novel from start to end.
This is one you’re going to need to read for yourself but I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Highly recommended!! Rating: 5/5☆"
— Jessica Belmont
"I really enjoyed getting to know Mark and Sam. They’re both very deep, complex characters with their own histories, but Mark definitely got to me the most. Such a lovely guy, despite his upbringing and family, he wants to do well in life but has no confidence. At times I really felt like he may have a slight learning disability; he finds it hard sometimes to interpret people’s comments, manage certain situations and is very sensitive. It’s heartwarming to read and I just wanted to hug him. He just wants to do the right thing, but struggles with knowing what that is, especially when it comes to family. His love and knowledge of music is extraordinary and helps him to get by. He also has some cute aspects about him (his alternatives to swearing) which I found adorable, and made me chuckle at times.
The other characters in this are also fab.
The story of Sam and Mark is brilliant and will reel you in. It will bring out a lot of emotions, especially if you adore Mark like I do!
You’ll enjoy this if you’re a fan of a gentle and unhurried romance, wonderful, in-depth and complex characters with back stories and literary fiction/sagas. So if this is you, check this out!"
— Curled up with a good book
"A fun and fab read!
I loved that the author took me back in time! I turned 18 in the year 2000 so I remember the music, etc. so well and this was such a great read to make me reminisce to and I loved the names of the chapters too!
It has some fabulous characters. They are really well developed and the interaction is great.
I was hooked by the storyline within the first few pages and thought that it was a really addictive read and I flew through the story – it was one that really held my attention from start to finish and honestly I can’t wait to read what he releases next!
Highly recommended and another great book from this author!"
"I adored this read! I was completely pulled in from early on, I didn’t want to put this book down.
This is well written and detailed, the author has brought the characters to life.
This book has definitely made me a fan. I cannot wait to read more by this author."
— Little Miss Book Lover
"An engaging and compelling tale about finding yourself, self discovery, hope and new beginnings, Karl Drinkwater's 2000 Tunes is a brilliantly layered and wonderful written tale readers will find themselves completely gripped by.
2000 Tunes is a fun, thought-provoking tale about the strange twists of fate, finding happiness and trusting your instincts that is witty, compelling and full of Mancunian grit, character and charm. As somebody who knew next to nothing about Manchester music, I enjoyed this well drawn aspect of the story and I couldn’t stop from cheering Mark on and kept my fingers firmly crossed that he would get his much-deserved moment in the sun.
Witty, heart-warming and enjoyable, 2000 Tunes is a love story with a difference I highly recommend."
— Bookish Jottings
"This book has elements of more than one genre with New Adult, coming of age-finding oneself, and romance as easy picks but it is all of those and then something more.
What I liked:
* Mark: a good person who made more of himself than either his brother or father. His interest in music sustains him in ways that are intriguing.
* Samantha/Sam: a woman that seemed to have lost her true self in a city far from home working in a job that did not enrich her life. She had potential she could not realize until she was able to embrace a much-needed change.
* Bazzy: Intriguing character that reminded me a bit of a movie I once watched (Drop Dead Fred)
* The writing, story, and how it all came together
* That both Sam and Mark made positive decisions by the end of the book
* The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter
— Cathy's World
"I loved that the chapters are entitled with song titles. It led me to tracks I didn’t know by bands and artists I knew. Books are my passion but I’ve always loved music so discovering new artists (both established or new in the scene) or tracks is a treat. As I read the book, I downloaded the chapter tracks to create my own 2000 Tunes playlist to enjoy.
Mark’s musical stance is brilliant. He is a proper Oasis follower in the BritPop fight. Back in 1994, you were Blur or you were Oasis, South or North. Me being a Midlands teenager at the time, liked them both – I was more in the Blur camp (Damon Albarn 😍😍😍) but I am partial to Oasis too. And the whole BritPop scene to boot!
But 2000 Tunes isn’t just about Mark’s obsession. It’s about relationships. Mark’s a man with divided loyalties on the home front. He wants to be part of his family but he wants to be a good person and put on by his family puts him in an awkward position. But it’s not just his family he has to deal with. He’s got his eye on a girl at work and everyone knows that relationships are never an easy path to take, particularly one with a work colleague. I felt sorry for Mark. I was willing him to come out on top. I wanted him to get the girl and be happy, to stick two fingers up to his controlling dad and brother.
Drinkwater has written a great book about a young man finding his place in the world. It’s not an easy journey he takes and he’s got tough decisions to make. The story has a northern feel to it, don’t ask me exactly what that is but it felt northern. I might just have to treat myself to the counterpart book of Cold Fusion 2000."
— A Knight's Reads
"Earlier this year I read and loved Cold Fusion 2000 so couldn't wait to read 2000 Tunes. Karl Drinkwater describes the two novels as 'partner books' and although they are both set in Manchester in the summer of 2000, each is a standalone story and can be read in any order.
2000 Tunes is perhaps a more straightforward novel but that doesn't make it any less involving and though a fairly long book, I read it in little more than a day. I was born in the same year as Sam and so as well as enjoying what is an engaging, deceptively complex love story, I also loved the sense of nostalgia I felt remembering a time when we drank Bacardi Breezers, downloaded Windows 2000 and discovered that Sunny Delight could turn your skin orange. Of course, with a title like 2000 Tunes, it's inevitable that music should have a hugely important role to play and I loved that each chapter is also the title of a song, with little notes demonstrating the links between bands - or the Manchester Music Association (MMA) to use Mark's terminology.
Mark is obsessed with music from Manchester, although his interests are narrowed to the 90s indie Madchester scene. He still mourns the closing of The Haçienda and uses his impassioned knowledge as a crutch, working out connections between bands to calm himself when he becomes stressed or anxious. He's a bit of a tragic joke figure at first and it's impossible not to pity him particularly when it becomes obvious that he is very different from his violent father and brother. As he begins to realise that he can be different and to make tentative steps towards recognising his self-worth, I grew to love this gentle, kind man.
He works for the same company as Samantha - Sam - Rees who initially appears to be a very different person to Mark. She seems to be as confident as he is shy and forms a formidable double act with her best friend and drinking partner, Emily. However, as the book progresses it soon becomes evident that her life is more chaotic than it first appears and that she is as lost and confused as he is. Emily is seemingly fearless and unapologetically herself; she doesn't always give the best advice to Sam but she is a fantastic character.
A series of mistakes, misunderstandings and missed opportunities follow as they both try to discover what it is they really want from life. There is a striking contrast between their respective families, while Mark has been dragged up and is constantly mocked and threatened by his dad and brother, Sam comes from a close, loving background. However, she came to Manchester to escape the sense of claustrophobia she felt back in Wales but since the death of her beloved Mamgu (grandmother) she is increasingly drawn back to Neath. Both have potentially huge decisions to make about their future and there are some deeply poignant moments as they reach their respective crisis points.
Although I'd say that Cold Fusion 2000 is the more ambiguous of the two stories, there is a really touching scene later on in 2000 Tunes which reveals that not all quite as it seems here either. Manchester is almost another character and those who know the city well will love the affectionate yet realistic depiction of the place. This is a book with real heart and so it is entirely right that the beat of music is felt throughout its pages; we all know how songs have the power to bring us together and to transform us and so it is that 2000 Tunes is a beautifully written, perceptive novel about love, belonging and change. This is no fool's gold, it's the real stuff and I loved it!"
— Hair Past A Freckle
"It would be easy to consider this novel a romance, it certainly has all the best elements of one. The will they won’t they scenarios and the draw of life pulling them apart and together for example. But this really doesn’t do the book justice. The characters are beautifully layered and flawed, certainly not your usual romantic heroes that you would expect. There is a wonderful depth to them that the author has created as well as growth through the story, which doesn’t culminate until the end. But in equal measure this story is a literary work, utilising nostalgia and music from Manchester as a main character in the novel. Leading us through the arc of the character driven story with a fresh tune in every chapter. It only added a beautiful flavour and gave it a personal touch I hadn’t expected. Add to this the wonderful readability and you have a story that I highly recommend."
— Sarah Northwood, Goodreads
"It’s like taking a trip back in time, revisiting old friends and old haunts. I’ve never been to Manchester, but the way he pulls you into each setting, you feel like you’ve lived there yourself. The characters are so well written, so well developed, so realistic, that you feel as if you’re there with them, living their lives with them.
Sam and Mark are two completely different people, leading separate lives, the only thing in common is the place where they work. And the fact that they are two deeply vulnerable people, struggling to find their place in the world, despite everything that keeps knocking them down. We’re pulled into their lives right from the start, as Sam mourns the death of her grandmother, and Mark mourns the demise of The Hacienda, and walk beside them as their lives slowly entwine.
And there’s the music, which weaves itself around the threads of the story, evoking memories from those long-gone years. Even if you weren’t into the indie groups of the time, Mark’s passion (and the author’s) for his music gets into your soul.
The ending doesn’t disappoint either – not too long and dragged out, not so short it leaves you wanting more. It’s just perfect.
There are so many wonderful parts to this story, so many little scenes that keep popping into my head even after I’ve finished reading it, as if they’re my memories now, not something I read. It’s going to stay with me for a long time. Highly recommend!"
— Pink Quill Books
"It is a gem of book, beautifully written. A book about life, love, opportunity lost, misinterpretations, social awkwardness, work relationships and the experiences of a few common folk. Highly recommend it."
— KHB, Goodreads
"I have a penchant for empathetic literature that casts outsiders as gentle heroes - and gangly protagonist Mark Hopton is a perfect example of such a character. When we first meet Mark he seems to jar with the world around him, but as Drinkwater peels away the layers of Mark's character, we get to know someone who is as caring and sensitive as he is socially awkward. It is impossible not to warm to him - and it's heartwarming to watch his workmates follow suit. At first, anything developing between Mark and Sam seems unlikely. But, again, Sam develops before us on the page - and the more we get to witness her fragility, the more obvious it becomes that Mark is just the sort of someone who could make her happy. As well as Mark and Sam, there are two other important characters in this book - music and Manchester - and Drinkwater does nostalgic justice to them both. It was like being back in the Manchester of my teens!"
— the dissociated voice, Amazon
"The best literary novel I've read this year. 2000 Tunes is a subtly-crafted work for readers who enjoy characters with depth. To label it a 'romance' would be a gross over-simplification. 2000 Tunes is so much more. It is a meandering, gentle tale about self-awakening, confidence, family and place. The characters are fantastically layered and nuanced - a joy to read about - but it's not until the end that the reader can truly say they understand their motivations. This makes for an intriguing and satisfying conclusion. The most accessible literary work I've read in a long time and book that deserves a wider audience. Read it."
— Amy Kitcher, Amazon
"An excellent book which captures the Manchester music scene at the start of the century so brilliantly. I adored all the music references. However there is much more to this book than music cultural references. The characters are so well developed and the story is engaging. A joy to read."
— izzy here, Amazon
"I started to read it and was so impressed I decided this was going to be my holiday reading. Not just any holiday, it was to be my honeymoon reading. I'm not sure what the guests around the pool thought when I gave myself an asthma attack laughing at one passage - it is safe to say I will never be able to look at my aunt Myfanwy with a straight face. Brilliantly written, it engages from the start. The dialogue has a 'real' feel and it is as if the characters are people I know. I love the music references at the start of each chapter (I'm the right age to remember). It has become one of my all time top five reads."
— Jen, Goodreads
"Dialogue that nails the metre and manic exuberance of the Manc tongue. Perfectly realised rudderless 20-somethings stuck in empty jobs and flats. A dash of magic realism. Manchester music holds this book together as it holds Mark's life together. But dig deeper into this seeming love letter to the Manchester music scene and starts to read like an obituary. All the good music gone. The Hacienda closed. The Conti faded, captured here before the lights go out for the last time a year later. Mark makes endless connections between the music he loves But these patterns form a web as sticky as that woven by his family that fixes him in the past so he can't see the future. He is 'Lost in music'."
— Jaimella Shaikh, Goodreads
"All good books have a magic moment - not the one that grabs you, that's the job of covers and blurbs, but the moment that hooks you in and turns a 1 chapter fling into a full-on commitment. 2000 Tunes - Karl Drinkwater's lovesong to Manchester, music and the madness of families - did that with a simple line about Manchester's iconic music venue The Hacienda: "It had been a surprisingly small place compared to its size in his memory." It was like someone had defined far too many of my conversations since 1982. When he followed that with a description of Manchester that captured the city's accent and its crazy contradictions and echoed the musical beat that runs through the novel - "Carrier bags and kicked-in teeth, short skirts in winter, tall tales with bitter, a brew and a lager, shaved heads and shopping on red brick and grit, endless suburb houses, long roads and alleys, gorillas and galleries, Salford scallies" - this music fan's soul was caught. Drinkwater positions the novel as being about music - the famous Madchester sound - and it is, but it is much more than that. This is a novel about families and how they trap, or save, you; it's also about relationships and the inarticulate nature of love. Music-obsessed Mark Hopton and Welsh Valley girl-made-good Samantha are trying to create lives that will at least let them glimpse the stars - Drinkwater lets them stumble and doesn't accept cliched pathways, his characters are far too real for that. I couldn't put it down, I want to know what happens next - if there really is a light that never goes out..."
— Catherine Hokin, Goodreads
"One thing about Karl Drinkwater is that he never disappoints and 2000 Tunes is Classic Karl. Reading this well-written and detailed novel we are drawn into a world in Manchester, UK that is certainly new to me. Music references, personal and work relationships mixed with various levels of lifestyles-this book has it all. I embraced it fully. I was especially taken with the characters Mark and Sam. Mark uses his vast knowledge of the local music scene to emotionally carry him through the rough times. I liked the way Mark gradually started changing his appearance to change his life and Sam had a few changes on the go also. Did their story end in the way I hoped it would? You'll have to read 2000 Tunes to find out! Our author doesn't pander to the expected. Expect surprises. 2000 Tunes is a novel whose characters and situations will stay with you long after you have finished reading it."
— Patricia, Goodreads