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Without a doubt, one of my favourite books of the last twelve months. Let’s talk about the writing.
This manuscript has been translated by the author from Thai. As I’ve found with other authors who have translated their manuscripts, the writing is excellent and far better than in many books—and that includes the native English/American speakers. For the most part, the sp/grammar/and punctuation are tight and beautiful to read. Each word carries you straight into the next without a stammer or pause. It’s a joy to read.
However, the beauty of this book is in the story, the characterisation, and the description. Myles is a pig-headed, obnoxious narcissist until two things change him. One is when he meets the lovely and ever-so-gentle Nicky. The other you can read about yourself.
We’ve had Rhet and Scarlet, Bonnie and Clyde, King Kong and Fay Wray—now we have Myles and Nicky. He’s awful—she’s aloof, but you know it’s going to happen. It isn’t easy, and we’re given all the method obstacles and resolution the genre demands, but these two are great. They are polar opposites and put each other right through the wringer. They live and breathe, and if they walked down the street, you could touch them—Myles would punch you for it, but you could. The author has failed in that we’re supposed to dislike him, he’s a misogynistic pig, but he’s so childlike and innocent with it that you can’t help but root for him—and that’s the art of a skilled writer.
Then we have the travelogue. Anybody who’s read my reviews knows I’m a sucker for being taken out of my dreary bleak-mid-winter and transported somewhere exotic. This author spoils us, we’re taken worldwide, and the description is outstanding.
And then we have the F1 world. They can change a tyre in how many seconds? The author knows their stuff, and we live with Myles in his need-for-speed head as he goes through the pressure of the heats for the World Championship. He’s making a comeback after a terrible accident has taken his face and made him a freak. It’s tense, gripping and deeply engaging even for a non-sporty like me.
Although this book missed the deadline for the BBE awards for 2021, I’m interested to see how it fares in 2022’s rankings. We’re off to an early high start, and this book’s a must.
Born in South Shields, Tyne & Weir, Katherine Black lives on the tip of the beautiful British Lake District. She lives with her partner, father-in-law and 4 dysfunctional but co-mingling pets. She is mother, grandmother and secret keeper of all. She is Best Book Editors’ principal editor.