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by Andrew Martin
Faber and Faber, August 2001
213 pages
9.99 GBP
ISBN: 0571201032

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The unnamed narrator of The Bobby Dazzlers is just serving his last week in a young Offenders Institution for burglary, when a fellow inmate reveals that there's a price on his head. Five years before, the narrator's friend Cameron Lacey was killed in an accident - the result of a teenage prank instigated by the narrator. Lacey's father has hired a dodgy character (rejoicing in the unlikely name of Neville), to 'equalise' him. The only way out is for our hero to miraculously find 20,000 and pay Neville off himself. Enter professional Yorkshireman, local hero, and legend in his own living room - Bryan Butteridge, several assorted villains and some post modernist furniture.

When I started reading The Bobby Dazzlers I didn't think I was going to like it. The narrator and his friends are small time criminals with some nasty habits. However, my views soon changed as I got to know, and like, the book's hero despite myself. He's intelligent, witty and insightful and very honest about his dishonesty. He knows what he is and he doesn't excuse it - it just happens to be the way he lives his life.

The book is quite dark and macabre, while at the same time, very funny - a real black comedy. It's wryly observed and beguiling. The plot is straightforward and simple, yet it really drew me in and was an attention grabber despite its simplicity.

Note: In the US, this book is available from your favorite independent bookseller or by mail from Crime In Store in London (CrimeBks@aol.com)

Reviewed by Donna Moore, December 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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