Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Motion Picture Teller

The Motion Picture Teller is a standalone semi-mystery and retro slice of life adventure by Colin Cotterill. Released 17th Jan 2022 by Soho Press on their Soho Crime imprint, it's 241 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a whimsical, distinctly odd book featuring a pair of well meaning but generally hapless idiots who are a slice of ham short of a sandwich. Supot is a postman who gets mauled by local canines on a regular basis on his daily rounds. Ali is a video store owner in "Little Bangkok" across the river from the city proper, who tries very hard to be left alone by customers so he and Sunpot can watch the movies from the golden age of Hollywood in peace without any interruptions. 

Colin Cotterill is a wonderful author, and fans of his Siri Paiboun books (HIGHLY recommended) will see glimmers of the same whimsy and warm regard for SE Asia, its culture, and its inhabitants in this book. There's a lot of clever-ish repartee, and subtle nods and in-jokes which fans of classic film will recognise. After that, though, this is quite an odd ride. The writing is way more than competent. The characterisations are well rendered and appealing (if not particularly believable), and the plot is slowly meandering and seemingly equipped with its own agenda. 

The unabridged audiobook has a run time of 6 hours, 40 minutes and is chiefly narrated by Steven Crossley, with scene/background interludes narrated by Amy Scanlon. There is some noticeably odd/uncomfortable phrasing and dramatic timing in the recording which is clearly intentional on the part of the author but which added an extra frisson of tension to an overall odd read. Sound and production quality were high throughout the recording. 

Definitely an odd but worthwhile read; hopefully the start of another series. Current fans of the author will enjoy this offering. Readers who are not yet fans of the author's style will be bewildered, but hopefully entranced enough to give it a fair go. 

Four stars. 

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

No comments:

Post a Comment