Let’s start with one of the best
By Ralph McAllister
Mick Herron is a spy thriller writer of huge talent, right up there with Grahame Greene and John Le Carre, but with a voice of staggering originality.
Slow Horses is the first of four, so far, about the ineptitude of spies sent out to pasture.
We all reach our sell by date and Jackson Lamb supervises his gang of failures by consuming large quantities of whisky, smoking endless cigarettes and farting with deadly punctuation.
His team is Keystone Cops with English idiosyncrasies.
Desperately funny, yet somehow managing to succeed despite the odds, this crazy gang makes you glad to be alive, unlike some of the nasty victims who suffer some revolting endings.
But don’t be fooled. This is writing of the highest order, extremely funny and chillingly violent.
I read all four of Herron’s books as soon as I could get my hands on them over the holidays. Spook Street is the fourth in the series and and I await ,impatiently, London Rules, the fifth.
Impressive young writer in Yorkshire
Elmet by Fiona Mozley was shortlisted for the Man Booker, the youngest writer ever to be recognised this way, and well deserved it was.
This is a great story set in Yorkshire with a very strange threesome, Daddy, son Danny and daughter Cathy, who try to live a self contained existence while being hounded by the prejudices of neighbours.
Gothic in its violence with terrifying climaxes and not for the faint hearted, but a writer to be watched.
Alex Miller’s latest is beautifully realised
Alex Miller offers a gentler tale in The Passage of Love.
This Miles Franklin Australian author chooses to write a fictional autobiography, yes, it is a mixture of truth and fiction.
We travel with the would be writer from poverty stricken England to desolate Queensland over a period of sixty years, suffering all the joys and despair of the creative artist.
Peter Carey: impressive until the end
Staying in Australia, Peter Carey’s A Long Way From Home, is, finally, a disappointment.
I say, finally, because much of the story is vintage Carey as we set off in 1953 at the time of the huge Redex Trial for cars round part of Australia.
The characters particularly Irene and her car salesman, are brilliantly realised, funny, touching and infuriating.
Unfortunately the final part of the novel meanders and becomes somewhat preachy.
Many fans will, nevertheless, enjoy this addition to the Carey oeuvre.
Enjoy the sunshine.