Category Archives: Blair Denholm

Either Way I Lose*

Some choices are easy enough to make. But some are very difficult, especially when both of the options involved lead to very negative consequences. Those ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ decisions can cause a lot of anxiety and tension. And that’s part of what makes them so effective in a story.

When a character is faced with one of those ‘no win’ choices, this can add a layer of character development. It can also add to the suspense, as the character works through the options and has to take a decision.

Honoria Bulstrode is faced with such a choice in Agatha Christie’s Cat Among the Pigeons. She is headmistress of Meadowbank, an exclusive girls’ school. One summer term, the school is rocked by several tragedies. First, the new games mistress, Grace Springer, is murdered late one night. Then there’s a kidnapping. And another murder. As you can imagine, the students’ parents are upset and concerned for their daughters’ safety. Several of them have already pulled their children out of the school, and some have no intention of sending them there again. Now, Miss Bulstrode is faced with a very difficult choice. If she leaves the school open, and tries to run it as usual, she could very well lose all of her pupils. That’s not to mention the fact that she might be putting her students and staff at risk. If she closes the school, even for the term, there’s a good chance that parents might not send their daughters back next term. In the end, Miss Bulstrode decides that the safest and best thing to do is close the school for the rest of the term, and make sure that whoever is responsible for the events at the school is caught. Then, she can start over with assurances to all parents that the school is safe. In order to do that, she’ll need help finding out who the guilty person is. And for that, she has the expertise of Hercule Poirot…

Roderic Jeffries’ Mistakenly in Mallorca introduces his sleuth, Inspector Enrique Alvarez. In the novel, John Tatham is persuaded to spend some time in Mallorca after the murder of his fiancée. He’s hoping that a change of scenery, and some time with his Great-Aunt Elvina Woods, will help him move on with his life. He and Aunt Elvina find that they like each other, and she is very supportive of his dream of owning a successful farm. When she learns that her godfather is on the point of dying, she comes up with a plan. She is set to inherit a large fortune from him, and proposes to give that money to Tretham, to fund his farm. In fact, she’s planning to state those wishes in her will. One day, though, Tatham returns to the house he’s sharing with Aunt Elvina only to find that she has died from a fall off her balcony. Now he’s faced with a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ choice. If he reports the death to the police, he’ll lose his chance at the money, especially since he hasn’t gotten word yet that Aunt Elvina’s godfather has died. If he doesn’t report the death, then he’s potentially guilty of obstructing the course of justice, or at least interfering with an investigation. Tatham decides to hide the body – just for a few days – and wait until the news comes of the inheritance. His plan works at first. The body is found at just ‘the right’ time, and the death does look accidental. But then, Inspector Alvarez notices a few things amiss, and starts to ask more questions. Now, Tatham and Alvarez engage in a bit of ‘cat and mouse’ as Tatham tries to make his plan work, and Alvarez tries to find out the truth.

Barbara Neely’s Blanche on the Lam introduces her sleuth, professional housekeeper Blanche White. She’s in court for writing bad checks (which she’s had to do to take care of her sister’s children). She’s about to get some jail time, and she can’t see taking care of her sister’s children from a jail cell. So, right from the beginning, she’s faced with a difficult choice. If she submits herself to the will of the court, she’ll be jailed, and the children won’t have the care they need, or the money needed to raise them. If she leaves, she’s a fugitive. Blance decides that she can better support the children financially if she’s not in jail, so she takes the chance, dodges the bailiff who’s supposed to be watching her, and leaves. In order to ‘lay low,’ she takes a temporary housekeeping job – and winds up mixed up in the murder of one of the family members.

William Ryan’s Captain Alexei Korolev works for the Moscow Criminal Investigation Division (CID) just before World War II. During those years, Stalin is firmly in charge in the Soviet Union, and everyone knows the consequences for appearing to disagree with him, or the official Party viewpoint, in any way. Part of the Party dogma is that there is no crime in the workers’ paradise that is the Soviet Union. Of course, that’s not true, and Korolev knows it. But he has to investigate very carefully, especially when the trail leads to high places. And it puts him in a very difficult position. If he doesn’t investigate thoroughly, he’s not doing his job, and that could have terrible consequences for him. If he does investigate, that, too, could have terrible consequences, especially with the dreaded NKVD watching everything he does. Korolev’s choices are frequently not easy, and he has to be extremely careful.

And then there’s Blair Denholm’s Sold, which is the story of Gary Braswell. As the story opens, he is a sales representative for the Gold Coast’s Southport Euro Motors. He’s unfortunately gotten himself into debt to an illegal bookmaker named Duncan ‘Jocko’ Mackenzie, and he’s smart enough to know what will happen to him if he doesn’t pay. He thinks he finds a way out of the situation when a wealthy Russian property developer named Ivan Romashkin buys several cars. Baswell’s commission is enough to pay Mackenzie back, and it seems the problem is solved. But it’s not. In one plot thread, Mackenzie now says that Braswell has to go on a drugs-running trip to Bali, and bring the money back, or Braswell’s wife will suffer the consequences. Now, Braswell’s caught in a quandary. If he takes the trip, he’s a drugs-runner, and quite likely to be arrested, if he even survives. If he doesn’t take the trip, his wife is in peril. As the time gets closer for the trip, he’s going to have work out what he’s going to do.

Sometimes, people are faced with a situation where neither of two options is a good one. In those ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situations, it’s hard to find a way out. And that makes for interesting tension in a story.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Van McCoy.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Barbara Neely, Blair Denholm, Roderick Jeffries, William Ryan

With a Little Bit of Luck*

If you’ve ever had a very lucky thing happen to you, then you know that sometimes, luck really does happen. And lots of people believe in luck, too. They carry ‘lucky’ charms, wear ‘lucky’ clothes, and so on. And there are many people who are just waiting for that one lucky break that will make all the difference to them.

In reality, of course, luck doesn’t really work that way. Sometimes, lucky things happen; sometimes they don’t. And it can be extremely frustrating – and limiting – for people who are just waiting for their break. The way people feel about luck can add to a story. It can provide interesting layers to a character, and it can increase the tension in a plot. We can see how this works, just from a quick look at crime fiction.

In Agatha Christie’s Death in the Clouds, we are introduced to Lady Cecily Horbury. She’s a former chorus girl who’s married Lord Stephen Horbury, and now lives a life of luxury. The problem is, though, that she is fond of gambling – very fond of it – and has run up a great deal of debt. It doesn’t help matters that she is also a cocaine user. She’s convinced that all she needs is one lucky break, perhaps a huge win at the tables, to set things right. Still, her husband has made it clear that he will no longer be responsible for her debts, so she is desperate for money. She borrowed from a French moneylender who does business as Madame Giselle; and, at first, that worked out well. But everything went wrong when she couldn’t pay what she owed. Madame Giselle’s form of ‘collateral’ is to collect compromising information on each of her clients, and reveal it only if the client doesn’t pay. And she’s got evidence that Cecily Horbury has been unfaithful – evidence that she’s planning to send to Lord Horbury. One day, Madame Giselle happens to be on a flight from Paris to London. At the end of the flight, she suddenly dies of what looks like a heart attack, but turns out to be poison. Since she is on the same flight, Lady Horbury becomes a suspect, and a ‘person of interest’ to Chief Inspector Japp and Hercule Poirot.

Gene Kerrigan’s The Rage is, in part, the story of Vincent Naylor. He’s recently been released from prison, but he’s been in and out of trouble with the law for some time. Now, he’s determined that he’s not going to take a big risk any more unless the payoff is worth it. But he and his girlfriend, Michelle Flood, want to get out and start over. And for that, all Naylor needs is a bit of luck – a payoff that will set them up. So, he, his brother Noel, and a few friends, plan an armed robbery. Their target will be Protectica, a security company that transfers cash among banks. The robbery goes off as planned, but then, things start going very, very wrong, and the whole thing ends in real tragedy.

There’s a different sort of luck needed in Belinda Bauer’s Blacklands. Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb lives with his mother, his brother, and his grandmother in a small Exmoor town. But it’s not a happy family. The family hasn’t really been whole since Steven’s Uncle Billy Peters went missing nineteen years earlier. He was never found, and the family is suffering. Steven wants to help his family heal, so he decides to at least try to find Uncle Billy’s body. All he needs, he thinks, is a shovel and some luck. But, of course, it’s a large area, and he finds nothing. Then, he gets another idea. The man long suspected of killing Uncle Billy is Arnold Avery, who’s in prison on other child murder charges. Steven decides to try to get Avery to tell him where Uncle Billy’s body is. So, he writes to Avery. Avery responds. Thus starts an increasingly dangerous game of cat and mouse between the two.

In Patricia Melo’s The Body Snatcher, we are introduced to the unnamed narrator, who is a former telephone salesman. He’s recently moved from São Paulo to the town of Corumbá, not far from the Bolivian border, where he’s settled down. What he and his girlfriend, Sulamita, would really like is a chance to move away, get their own land, and start their lives together. But neither has the money to do that. All that’s needed is some luck, but neither has had much of that. Then, one day, the narrator happens to witness a small plane crash. He rushes to the site, and discovers that the pilot has been killed. But, he’s left behind a backpack and a watch. The narrator takes those things, and returns home, where he discovers to his shock that the backpack contains cocaine. He decides to sell the cocaine – just this once – to get the money he and Sulamita will need to start over. And that’s where the trouble starts. Before long, everything spirals very badly out of control.

That’s also what happens to Gary Braswell in Blair Denholm’s Sold. He’s a car salesman who lives and works on the Gold Coast. He’s gotten himself into some debt to a dangerous (and illegal) bookmaker, and now needs money desperately. All he needs is some luck – some big sales – and he’ll be all right. It seems that al will be well when a Russian land developer arranges for some expensive cars for himself, his wife, and his daughters. And, in fact, Braswell gets the money he needs to pay off his debt. But then, things start to go very, very wrong. He gets drawn into an illegal drug deal, a money laundering scheme, and more. And now, he will need an awful lot more than luck if he’s going to survive and get out of the mess he’s in.

Sometimes, all you need is a little luck. And there are plenty of people, both real and fiction, who are just waiting for that lucky break. But, as crime fiction shows, it doesn’t always work out that way…

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Belinda Bauer, Blair Denholm, Gene Kerrigan, Patricia Melo

We Each of Us Protect Ourselves*

Most of us have an instinct for self-protection. People do all sorts of things to avoid being embarrassed, or to avoid getting into trouble with family members, or the law. There are other reasons, too, that people have for protecting themselves.

And there are many ways that people go about self-protection. Each of us is different, so each of us has a different way of covering ourselves, so to speak. And if you look at crime fiction, you see how characters go about it. That self-protection can add interesting character layers, tension, and even plot points, to a story.

One way people protect themselves is to lie. Sometimes, those lies aren’t very important; they’re more of a reflex action. Other times, the lies people tell to protect themselves are much more than just ‘little white lies.’ Agatha Christie’s Sheila Webb, whom we meet in The Clocks, is like that. She is a typist/secretary who works for the Cavendish Secretarial and Typing Bureau. One day, she’s sent to the home of Miss Millicent Pebmarsh. When she arrives, she goes into the house, as she’s been directed to do. There, she finds the body of an unknown man on the sitting room floor. She screams and runs out of the house – and straight into the arms of Colin Lamb, a British agent who’s on a case of his own. He gets involved in the mystery of the dead man, and gets his father’s friend, Hercule Poirot, to investigate. One thing Lamb finds out as the story goes on is that Sheila protects herself by lying. She doesn’t do it all the time, or about everything, but it’s a weakness of hers.

Closely related to lying is what you might call bravado. That’s what we see in Blair Denholm’s Sold. As the novel begins, Gary Braswell is a car salesman for the Gold Coast’s South Port Euromotors. He’s good at his job, but he’s made the mistake of borrowing money from an illegal bookmaker, Duncan ‘Jocko’ Mackenzie. He has trouble paying the money back, and he knows full well what will happen to him if he doesn’t pay. He thinks he finds a way out when a wealthy Russian land developer arranges to buy some expensive cars for his wife and daughters. But that’s only the start of Braswell’s troubles. First, Jocko changes his terms, and now requires that Braswell do a drug smuggling trip to Bali. Then, it turns out that his new Russian colleagues are not exactly involved in legal businesses. As he gets in deeper and deeper, Braswell keeps making promises he can’t keep, pretending he’s done things he hasn’t, and so on. He tries to keep up his bravado to save himself and his wife, even as he finds himself in more and more danger.

Some people protect themselves by going into what you might call a full retreat. That’s what happens in A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife. Jodi Brett and Todd Gilbert have been together as common-law spouses for twenty years, but they’ve never legally married. The state of Illinois, where they live, does not have common-law marriage provisions, and this proves devastating for Jodi. Todd begins an affair with a young woman who becomes pregnant. She wants marriage and a family, and Todd tells her that’s what he wants, too. But in reality, he wants to keep his options open, as the saying goes. In fact, Jodi doesn’t even know his intentions until she gets an eviction notice through his attorney. Because she and Todd are lot legally married, Jodi has no legal claim to the couple’s home. As this news sinks in, she begins to retreat from the world. She doesn’t meet with her clients (she’s a psychologist) or leave the home more than she absolutely has to do. Then, Todd is killed in a drive-by shooting incident. Was it random? Was it a paid killer? And if it was a paid killer, who did the hiring? It’s not an easy question, as it turns out that more than one person might have wanted Todd dead.

Some people protect themselves by, if I can put it this way, going on the offensive. For those people, it’s a case of ‘hit before you’re hit.’ That’s what we see in Mark Rogers’ Koreatown Blues. Wes Norgaard is a Los Angeles car wash manager, who gets drawn into a feud between families when he witnesses a murder in a bar that he frequents. The dead man was set to marry a woman named Soo Jin, and Norgaard learns that he was killed for that reason. The Doko family is feuding with the Nang family, and has determined to prevent that family from propagating. So, they kill the husbands and fiancés of all of the Nang woman of childbearing age, of which Soo Jin is the last. Norgaard agrees to marry Soo Jin, using the logic that the Doko family won’t kill a non-Korean. But that’s not how it works out, and Norgaard soon finds out that he has become a target, and so has Soo Jin. Instead of giving in, he goes on the offensive, and looks for a way to stop the feud, and, of course, stay alive.

Some people find it easiest (and safes) to protect themselves by simply saying nothing. In David Whish-Wilson’s Line of Sight, for instance, Superintendent Frank Swann returns to Perth after some time away. A friend of his, Ruby Devine, has been shot, and he wants to find out who killed her. It’s not going to be easy, though. Swann is already a ‘dead man walking’ because he called a Royal Commission hearing into corruption in the Perth Police. And the police officers he’s accused – the so-called ‘purple circle’ – are ruthless and influential. No-one wants to cross them. And, since they may be involved in Ruby’s death, very few people are willing to talk to Swann about that murder. He runs into a ‘wall of silence’ more than once before he finds out the truth.

There are certainly other ways that people protect themselves. And those can make for interesting layers and plot threads in a crime novel. These are just a few examples; I know you’ll think of others.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Mick Jagger’s Too Far Gone.

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Filed under A.S.A. Harrison, Agatha Christie, Blair Denholm, David Whish-Wilson, Mark Rogers

Unintended Consequences*

Not many years ago (true story!), I went to the doctor because I had a slight ear infection. Nothing serious, but it needed treatment. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic, I took it, and the ear infection healed. But there was a major unintended consequence: it turns out I’m allergic to the medication I was given. And that led to some real unpleasantness for me. I didn’t blame the doctor: neither she nor I had any idea of my allergy. But it goes to show how the solution to one problem can cause all sorts of others.

And there are many other examples of how this can work. For instance, in the US, many people thought that Prohibition would stop people drinking and solve problems such as alcoholism. But, as we now know, it didn’t. People drank anyway. There’s a mention of that in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, in which Hercule Poirot solves the murder of a businessman named Samuel Ratchett. He is stabbed on the second night of a train journey across Europe, and the only possible suspects are the other people in the same car. One of the ‘people of interest’ is a salesman called Cyrus Hardman, who is carrying a quantity of alcohol in his luggage. When his bags are searched, the comment is made:
 

‘‘You are not a believer in Prohibition, Monsieur Hardman.’….
‘Well,’ said Hardman, ‘I can’t say Prohibition has ever worried me any.’’
 

Because so many people were determined to drink despite the law, there was illegal alcohol manufacture, and that meant it was unregulated, and sometimes poisonous. And several criminals and criminal groups flourished because it was suddenly lucrative to supply alcohol. None of these were consequences that people had planned for when the law was passed.

There are a lot of other examples in crime fiction of this sort of unexpected consequence. And that plot point can add suspense, tension, and more to a plot. In Patricia Melo’s The Body Snatcher, for instance, we are introduced to a former telemarketer who has moved from São Paulo to the town of Corumbá, which is not far from the Bolivian border. One day, the narrator witnesses a small plane crash near a river. When he gets to the site of the crash, the narrator finds that it’s too late to save the pilot. But a backpack and an expensive watch have been left behind. The pilot won’t need those things any more, so the narrator takes them. When he opens the backpack, he finds that it’s full of cocaine. The narrator decides to sell the cocaine – just this once – to solve some financial trouble he has, and start a new life with his girlfriend, Sulamita. He gets help from his friend, Moacir, and the drugs are sold. That solves the money problem but unleashes all sorts of other consequences. There’s the dangerous drugs ring whose cocaine the narrator found, there’s the inquisitive parents of the dead pilot, and other major problems, too.

Kazuhiro Kiyuki’s Shield of Straw introduces readers to Takaoki Ninagawa, one of Japan’s wealthiest and most influential people. He is devastated when his granddaughter, Chika, goes missing and is found raped and killed. DNA found on the girl’s body establishes Kunihide Kiyomaru as the guilty person. Ninagawa isn’t convinced that the Japanese justice system will adequately punish Kiyumaru. So, he comes up with a solution. He offers a one- billion-yen reward for anyone who kills Kiyomaru and can prove it. That solution promises to be successful: tens of thousands of people are now going to be targeting Kiyomaru. But it unleashes several unexpected consequences. For one thing, the police still have to bring Kiyomaru from where he’s been hiding back to Tokyo to face trial. With so many people looking to kill the man, there’s real danger of innocent people being hurt or killed. And there’s the safety of the police team to consider. It turns out that Ninagawa has set in motion a very risky venture as the police try to get Kiyomaru back to Tokyo alive, while plenty of other people try to prevent that.

Geoffrey Roberts’ The Alo Release features a company called Vestco, which has created a new seed covering that it claims will greatly increase food production and reduce hunger all over the world. A Los Angeles-based watchdog group called the Millbrook Foundation has been keeping tabs on Vestco and has serious doubts about its claims. Millbrook believes that the seed coating will have far more disastrous than positive outcomes and has been trying to stop the release. The group is unsuccessful, though. With nine days to go until the release of this new seed coating, one of Vestco’s employees is murdered. And before they know it, three of Millbrook’s people are on the run as fugitives – accused of the murder. If they’re to warn the world about the seed coating, they’re going to have to find out who’s really behind the murders and try to stay alive themselves.

And then there’s Blair Denholm’s Sold. As the story begins, Gary Braswell is a Gold Coast car sales representative. He’s made the mistake of getting into some debt to the wrong person, Duncan ‘Jocko’ Mackenzie. He knows what the consequences are likely to be if he doesn’t pay promptly, but he thinks he solves the problem when he sells cars to wealthy Ivan Romashkin and his family members. That solution turns out to have all sorts of unexpected consequences, though. First, Mackenzie punishes Braswell for making him wait to get his money back. He demands that Braswell fly to Bali and do a drugs deal there. Otherwise, Braswell’s wife will be at grave risk. Then, it turns out that the Romashkins have their own agendas. The end result is that Braswell gets drawn deeper and deeper into a web of illegal activity, danger, and more. What he thought would be a straightforward solution to one problem ends up causing many more.

And that’s the way it is sometimes, both in real life and in crime fiction. Very little comes without consequences, and sometimes those consequences are much worse than people imagine. These are just a few examples of how this works in crime fiction. Your turn.

 

ps. Oh, the ‘photo? The development in the area where I live has been good for local businesses, but the consequences for local plant and animal life haven’t been as positive…

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Keziah Jones.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Blair Denholm, Geoffrey Robert, Kazuhiro Kiuchi, Patricia Melo

In The Spotlight: Blair Denholm’s Sold

Hello, All,

Welcome to another edition of In The Spotlight. Some crime novels aren’t really about a sleuth (or sleuths) solving a crime and unmasking the criminal. Rather, they’re about ordinary-ish people who get caught up in crimes and other things beyond their control. That’s the sort of novel that Blair Denholm’s Sold is, so let’s turn the spotlight on that novel today.

Gary Braswell is a car salesman for the Gold Coast’s Southport Euro Motors. He’s good at what he does and takes some pride in that. It’s not making him rich, but he has a decent life. He loves his wife, Maddie, and although he drinks too much, she loves him, too. Then, Braswell makes the mistake of borrowing money from an illegal bookmaker named Duncan ‘Jocko’ Mackenzie. He’s not sure exactly how he’s going to pay Mackenzie back, but he’s well aware of the consequences if he doesn’t. There seems to be a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel when a wealthy Russian property developer, Ivan Romashkin, promises in principle to make some very big purchases for himself, his wife and his two daughters. The Romashkins follow through, and Braswell is able to pay off Mackenzie with his commission.

But that only proves to be the start of his troubles. Mackenzie adds a new condition: Braswell must carry a load of drugs to Bali and bring back money in exchange for them. If he doesn’t, Mackenzie will have his sadistic lieutenant, Brad Jones, ‘keep Maddie company,’ as Mackenzie puts it. And both men are able and quite ready to do exactly what they say. Whatever his faults, Braswell doesn’t want to put Maddie in danger more than she already is, and he wants to stay alive himself, so he sees no choice but to agree.

Together with his best friend, Jeff Foss, Braswell makes a plan to tell the Australian Federal Police (AFP) about Mackenzie, hoping that they’ll arrest the man and Braswell won’t have to go through with this trip. But the AFP representatives tell Foss and Braswell that they need actual evidence that Mackenzie is a drugs smuggler. Without that, there’s nothing they can do. Braswell tries to get that evidence, but that fails miserably and gets him in even more trouble.

In the meantime, Braswell learns that he could make a lot more money selling high-end real estate than selling cars. So, with the help of a former car client, he gets a job at Beachscape Realty. And that proves to be of great interest to the Romashkins’ boss, Fil Muzhasov. It turns out that they plan to buy up as much high-end Australian property as they can, and their scheme isn’t exactly legal. In fact, it amounts to money laundering. But they’re willing to pay Braswell very well if he can do the paperwork and move enough properties. He agrees, although he’s not sure he can do what he says he’ll do.

Now, Braswell’s under pressure to sell real estate as quickly as possible, and his Russian business associates are neither patient nor easygoing. And the time for his trip to Bali is getting closer. And both Mackenzie and Jones take more than one opportunity to remind him of how vulnerable he is. And that’s not to mention the AFP’s interest in the financial doings. So, Braswell puts together a scheme to outwit the Russians and Mackenzie. If it doesn’t work, he and Maddie have everything to lose.

This is, in many ways, a noir story. Things spiral out of control quickly, and there are some nasty, vicious people involved. This isn’t a story with a happy ending, either, where everything is made all right again. Readers who dislike a lot of violence will notice that the novel has its share of explicit violence. It’s got other explicitness, too. The cover on my edition says, ‘Sex, Drugs, Real Estate,’ and that’s an accurate way of putting it.

In the middle of it all is Gary Braswell. He’s not entirely unsympathetic; he loves his wife, he wants to make a good life for them, and he doesn’t want to be caught up in this mess. But he’s far from perfect. He has a way of dropping other people in the soup, as the saying goes. And he finds it too easy to give in to temptations like drinking and gambling. He’s also all too willing to lie if he thinks it’ll get him out of trouble. As the novel goes on, and he gets into deeper and deeper trouble, Braswell starts to unravel, and even he admits that most of the mess is his own doing.

There are some moments of wry wit in the novel:
 

‘Staring at the computer monitor wouldn’t generate [real estate] leads; Gary had to turn the thing on as the manufacturer intended. He pressed the on button and hoped the computer would fail to boot. No such luck.’
 

That said, though, this isn’t a comic caper sort of story.

Sold is the dark story of schemes gone wrong. It takes place in a blistering summer on Queensland’s Gold Coast and features a mostly ordinary guy who gets neck-deep in trouble that soon spirals out of control. But what’s your view? Have you read Sold? If you have, what elements do you see in it?

 
 
 

Coming Up On In The Spotlight
 

Monday, 5 February/Tuesday, 6 February – Laura – Vera Caspary

Monday, 12 February/Tuesday 13 February – The Anderson Tapes – Lawrence Sanders

Monday, 19 February/Tuesday, 20 February – The Wheel Spins – Ethel Lina White

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