More than you can say by Paul Torday

A few years ago, a new author had a best seller with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.  His name is Paul Torday, and I’ve realised that I have to stop wanting him to produce another Salmon Fishing.  Every book of his I’ve read since, has left me slightly disappointed, which is really unfair.  Salmon Fishing was funny, improbable, but made to seem likely with it’s Yes Minister public service shenanigans, and was thoroughly delightful.  It must be terribly frustrating for an author to be reminded that  his best work is behind him.  However, I have pursued each book, with varying degrees of enjoyment, and with this new one, I realised I had to stop looking for the whimsical humour that so appealed in his first book.  Having done that, I started to enjoy More than you can say for it’s own sake.

It is about Richard Gaunt, ex army, with a big of baggage from his tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as is common, he is having difficulty settling back into civilian life.  He has become good at shutting people out, and manages to upset or become estranged from those who care about him.  One evening, after an unsuccessful gambling stint, he finds himself being abducted, and offered a strange proposition.  He goes along with it, for the money, but becomes embroiled in a terrorism plot.   Richard discovers the best and worst in himself as his complicated relationship with the enigmatic Nadine develops.  You have to suspend belief a bit and just go along for the ride.

Contemporary London is the setting, with all the sensitivities of terrorism and police and special branch behaviour.  It isn’t a great book, but it has it’s moments.  Just don’t expect to laugh out loud.  Paperback, $33.

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