Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Shot in the Dark

A Shot in the Dark is the first book of a new series set in 1950's Brighton.  Based on Lynne Truss' BBC Radio 4 series with some of the same characters, this novelization is a decidedly odd & farcical lampooning of post-WW2 police procedurals.

Released 6th Nov 2018 by Bloomsbury, it's 304 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, ebook and audio formats.

The author has an unerring ear for dialogue and setting. The book really reads exactly like it was written contemporaneously for the time in which it's set. The pacing is superb and it moves along at a good clip. I never found my interest flagging.  Ms. Truss has a deft touch with characterizations (she's been writing these characters for a while for audio plays, and it shows).

That being said...  for an almost cozy read, there is a prodigious amount of violence (much of it gratuitous). People are constantly being stabbed, slashed, shot, throttled, flung out of amusement park rides into the ocean, run over, and otherwise mutilated.  There is a disconcerting amount of *glee* in the descriptions. There is a bizarrely psychotic Punch & Judy man who is both hysterically funny and scary in about equal measure.

The language is way over the top. The violence is omnipresent. I personally loved the denouement, but readers who need everything to be tied up in a neat bow with the good guys the unequivocal winners by page 298 are going to be driven nuts by the end.

Four stars. Worth a read, but definitely different.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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