Monday, 30 July 2012
One Man's Opinion - HER LAST CALL TO LOUIS MACNEICE by KEN BRUEN
I love the title of this book. It's a lesson in how to suck a punter in. The link to poetry was a strong pull for me and also the fact that it doesn't give anything away, the latter possibly explaining why it took me 3 or 4 pages to find the rhythm.
It opens with a fast flow, like the floodgates have been opened on a river-of-consciousness.
Once I'd worked out how to surf the waves, a simple case of going with the tide, I was completely taken by the style and the first-person narrative.
Page 1, there's a bank robbery going a bit wobbly. Our man Cooper shoots a cashier in the face with his shotgun.
Next comes the story of how things came to this. Why, after a successful run of raids this is the one that's not gone to plan.
It turns out it's all to do with a woman named Cassie.
Cooper meets Cassie when he saves her from a security guard while she's on a shoplifting spree. She's young and attractive and has an impulsive nature, all of which lead to the pair ending up having amazing sex.
As it happens, Cassie is rather unbalanced. She makes Cooper's headcase of a partner seem sedate. Not only is the woman obsessed with MacNeice, she also walks off with a stash of Cooper's cash and one of his guns before he wakens from a Mickey Finn she slipped to him.
From that point on, Cooper's life becomes rather complicated. Cassie keeps turning up at the most inopportune moments and it's all highly entertaining and unpredictable.
I have the feeling that Bruen had a lot of fun writing this. He's pushed all the angles to breaking point, throwing in poetry snippets (whether they be transparent, translucent or opaque to this reader), lively humour, a marvellous police detective and lots of poking at the British class structure.
This was a real pleasure of a book and I'd heartily recommend it.
Available via these links - Amazon UK US