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Mark Bailey Simon Brett

Review: A Deadly Habit by Simon Brett (2018)

A Deadly Habit by Simon Brett

A Deadly Habit by Simon Brett
A Deadly Habit by Simon Brett

Hardback: 184 pages (May 2018)

Publisher: Crème de la Crime

ISBN: 978-1-78029-105-5

 

This is the 20th of the Charles Paris novels by Simon Brett and is published four years after the last one (THE CINDERELLA KILLER) – please can we get these more regularly!

 

Charles Paris has landed a small part in a new West End play, The Habit of Faith but his delight at a 3-month paying job is tempered by the discovery that his good fortune has been orchestrated by his much more successful contemporary Justin Grover who is now the star of a major film series. But why has Grover become involved in this relatively obscure production and why has he roped in Charles to star?

From the outset the production is fraught with difficulties -and matters become even more complicated when a body is discovered at the foot of the dressing room stairs – was it a fall or was it a push?

As one of the last people to have seen the victim alive, Charles Paris’ natural curiosity finds him drawn into the ensuing investigation where he discovers that more than one person involved in the play has a scandalous secret to hide …

 

 

As usual I read this very quickly as I do for most Simon Brett books. Both the murder aspect and the comedy aspect are well handled but the focus here is much more on Charles and his belated attempts to grow up, get sober and get back with his wife Frances. This latter aspect gives us some stronger comedic aspects on the world of theatre, the sobriety business and the extent to while Charles can delude himself.

It is not too much of a spoiler to say for those of us who like Charles there is again a hint of sunlight in his relationship with his wife Frances.

 

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers on NetGalley and bought a signed copy at CrimeFest.

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Jo Nesbø Mark Bailey

Review: Macbeth by Jo Nesbo (2018)

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

 

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo
Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

Hardback: 512 pages

Published 5th April 2018

Publisher: Hogarth

ISBN: 978- 1781090251

 

Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth is his contribution to the Hogarth Shakespeare Project which invites current writers to update Shakespeare’s plays, setting them in modern times with modern characters.

 

Nesbø’s retelling sets it in the early 1970’s with the police department of a downtrodden European city taking the place of the Scottish royal court. Macbeth is the head of a SWAT team who is eager for promotion and, persuaded by his girlfriend, murders the police department’s Chief Commissioner to take over his position. He then engineers the death of anyone who suspects him of murder or endangers his position as Macbeth has no loyalty and no conscience.

 

Nesbø’s book (more or less) faithfully follows the trajectory of the original play, so if you’re familiar with that then you will have an idea of what happens (which may be a problem for some readers, it was for me).

 

This wasn’t my favourite Jo Nesbø novel as I found it very hard to get into – Shakespeare in a modern milieu can work (Baz Luhrmans Romeo + Juliet is a good example which does get around the language issues as swords and daggers are now a brand of guns). The main issue (apart from finding it somewhat too long – the play Macbeth is less than 20,000 words whilst this is over 150,000 words) is that characters who in Shakespeare you dislike but are intrigued by become rather more psychotically vicious here.