Friday, 31 July 2009

Smoking Gun

Revolver - Marcus Sedgwick

Once more I've been reading a lot but not finding much that is worth writing about. Nothing bad but just nothing outstanding. Until this one.

The very first author that I met, and incidentally the very first event I ever organised, was Marcus Sedgwick. His novel, Floodland, had just been published and with its local setting it was an obvious choice to appeal to the Norfolkbookworm. Marcus was a really nice guy and ever since then I've followed his career with interest.

As a rule I prefer his straight historical titles and until this week I think I'd have listed Blood Red, Snow White was my favourite but now there is Revolver...

The action in this short novel takes place in just 24 hours, although flashbacks fill in more of the plot. It is a tense, atmospheric thriller that conjures up the arctic circle instantly. Not a word is wasted and even though I read this in a sunny garden in July I was shivering as if I was living through a blizzard myself.

This really is a book that I can't talk about without risk of spoiling it, so much happens in such a little space of time.
Sig is sitting with his father's corpse awaiting help when a figure from the family's past reappears. The newcomer is terrifying and ruthless and claims that Sig's father owes him something and that he will stop at nothing to get it back. Sig might have a solution but is it the right one and just what has his father been doing?

The revolver of the title is very important but short of emphasising that this is not a book that encourages the use of guns I really can say no more.

Sedgwick is talented writer and this is one of his best. I hope that it makes it onto the short list for many prizes and is not overlooked for being short book. The best things often come in small packages.

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