howling at the moon



I picked this up for the kindle quite some while ago, but only recently got round to reading it. At first I was a little concerned that it was trying way too hard to be quirky and there are passages and phrases which have been worked to within an inch of their lives and shoe-horned into the book. One could almost suspect that the author had been collating his thoughts for quite some time prior to stringing them all together under the banner of this story.

The story concerns “Harry Christmas”, a conniving, deceitful, charming, parasite. His life has led him via a rollercoaster of misfortune into taking a trip to escape from the fact that he is on the run. He is on the run from the son of a woman from whom he conned a large sum of money.

Slade is that man and he is on a mission. The story quickly moves to Venezuela. It is there where we start to see the other side of Harry Christmas. True to form he continues with all the character faults but we also see that he harbours another side. It is the gradual extraction of this story which provides the subtext which makes the book so much more interesting than it appears from the surface of the story. His redemption is in Emily and her story. It is to be reconciled to her story which gives him a full character.

The book is full of shallow humour but this reflects Harry Christmas as we see him from the surface. There are one or two slightly unnecessary illustrations of the depths of brutality that Slade will run to in order that he might advance his quest. I found these unsettling and felt that the descent of his behaviour did not need to include those elements. Descend he does though, and it is a wry look at the madness that can ensue in the obsessive pursuit of a single aim.

The book is littered with many characters and each of them has a  role to play. There are none wasted. The style is almost that of a “road trip” only not quite. I liked it very much.

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