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A Pleasure and a Calling

A Pleasure and a Calling [Kindle Edition]

Phil Hogan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"A wonderfully creepy novel, macabre and blackly comic with a deeply unsettling and original hero." Rosamund Lupton "Very clever. A creepily alluring voice" Julia Crouch, author of Cuckoo and Tarnished "Phil Hogan is a brilliant writer." Peter Bradshaw "One to watch: An eerie page-turner." -- Cathy Rentzenbrink Bookseller "In terms of subject or style. Phil Hogan resembles John Updike or Richard Yates, figures from that classical seam of American fiction so rich in detail, domesticity, and murderous compromise." Sunday Herald

Book Description

In the excitement of moving into your new home did you think to change the locks? Are you sure no-one else is making use of your key? Compelling, unsettling and macabre social satire.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 728 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0857521896
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (27 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,119 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling 27 Feb 2014

I normally review a book the same night i finish reading it, so this book is new for me in 2 ways, 1) its way way outside my comfort zone 2) i waited a week before reviewing it.

I was talked into reading this book by some very nice, well read and clever ladies…. that alone would normally scare me off, but they were batting 2 for 2 on recommends so i had to give in. They had told me the book was “chilling” and “disturbing”. So Initially i was a bit worried that i didn’t find it affected me that way. I found it intriguing and thought provoking. I found it to be something that was so normal, and then so wrong, and yet so easily real that it may well be happening right now. It was then that the disturbing hit. We have a man, a normal everyday man, who has access to every house he has ever sold. Would you in his place with unfettered access to a strangers house, would you look, could you resist, and even more so, if you had access to the house of people you know, could you resist a peek?

The answer is Yes, but isn’t there just that little voice that yearns in us all to know, that little bit of uncertainty, the inner paranoid self that wants to know more…or maybe that’s me? Could you ever look is the question the book asks me. The answer thankfully is no. But the fact that it makes you ask this question and others is a testament to its clever powerful writing.

The weeks gap before writing this review has actually led me from this book being a clever read to its true impact, because in a week its not left me, i have had parts of the book jump back into my head at odd times, take over my dreams, generally disturb my thoughts, colour some of my views and question, Would I?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can a reader root for a creep... 14 July 2014
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Can a reader root for a creep of a protagonist without being a creep themselves? I often ask myself this question, particularly when reading a book like Phil Hogan's new novel, "A Pleasure and a Calling".

Okay, William Heming, an estate agent in a small town, has both an odd past and an odd present. I suspect his future is even odder, but thanks god we're not privy to that in this book. Heming is cipher; he exists in the flesh but doesn't leave much of a mark in peoples' conscienceness. He owns an estate company and some other financial entities but has very little personal life, other than what he can glean from other peoples' daily existence. Heming has a nasty habit of keeping the keys to the houses he sells and has keys from 20 years back. (One question the reader MIGHT ask is why buyers don't immediately change the locks of their new houses upon moving in. I live in the US and I've never heard of not doing so, but maybe they don't in the UK???)So, William Heming can slip in and out of nearly every house in the village. And he's able to go through desks and drawers, finding out the residents deepest secrets, which he hoards in his own little mind. His world doesn't include others; his employees are just that, employees, and he discarded his own familial ties years and years before.

As I noted above, Heming's "past" was an odd combination of family tragedy and school-boy rejection. Mysterious incidents occurred when William was around; deaths of children most particularly. Nothing could ever be solidly attributed to William but his general creepiness turned off even the staunchest of would-be defenders. As an adult, mysterious death follows William as he gains financially in the real estate market, until one day the deaths become attributable to him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite (creepily) delicious 3 May 2014
This is one of those stories which takes its time – not in the sense of dragging its heels, but more like a good meal which insists that you properly savour each course. And as the tale unwinds, it is a meal of many courses with a little more of the plot and back story being revealed each time …
At the beginning of the book we share estate agent William Heming’s sense of righteous indignation at the minor injustices he observes taking place around him. We even enjoy the justice he metes out to those deserving of it – even the somewhat excessive punishment received by one person, which is both ingenious and comic. But gradually William is revealed as being a rather different character than that implied at the onset. His sense of justice turns out to be somewhat skewed: he appears to morally amoral – or should that be afflicted by amoral morals? As matters progress and we discover more about William, we grow less comfortable and begin to perceive that he is less on the side of the angels than he thinks he is: nevertheless when he picks up that golf club it still succeeds in being a shock.
It’s a terrific bit of storytelling and by the end you are in two minds – will he be caught or not? And while a part of you wants him to be caught, another hopes he will escape justice himself, despite his cold blooded attitude to murder and general creepiness. It’s a book which you won’t forget in a hurry – but which will send you scampering to change your locks …
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure and a Calling 27 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Rarely do you read a book which is totally original, creepy, delightfully and darkly funny and enjoyable from cover to cover. I am pleased to say that this is such a book. Estate agent William Heming lives in a leafy and prosperous community. He is successful, self employed and adept at reading people. However, Heming has a secret – he has the keys of every house he has sold and he is more familiar with his clients lives, and their properties, than you might expect...

When Heming has an altercation with a man in a park, he engineers a small revenge. However, when he becomes infatuated with the man’s girlfriend, events spiral out of control. This wonderful novel gradually unravels the life of William Heming from a small boy who hid in wardrobes, to a grown man who hides in the attics of his clients. A man you are unlikely to remember, who is adept at staying anonymous, but whose deepest, and darkest, desires are unleashed in the privacy of other people’s homes.

It is hard to review this book without giving away the plot and I have no wish to spoil the story. As we learn more about William Heming, we should dislike him – but that is hard to do. He is as unique as this book, which I suppose you could call a literary crime novel. This deserves to be a huge success and it has found its way into my favourite reads of the year without doubt.

I received a copy of the novel from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a surprisingly good read.
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. The things I'd read about it made it sound...odd...a strange storyline...not something I would usually read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rebecca
4.0 out of 5 stars Very clever
Original plot taking a simple familiar experience of dealing with an estate agent and suggesting a nasty turn of events. Change your locks.
Published 1 month ago by marionq
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy
This story is based on a very simple concept: what if your estate agent kept a copy of the keys to every house that he had sold through his agency? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike N
4.0 out of 5 stars Creeper of the Keys
Have you met Mr Hemming?

If you have sold or bought a house at any point in your average town then you are bound to have met him? Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jo D'Arcy
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - what a page turner...
I absolutely loved this book. At first I was wary of the first person narrative but needn't have been as it was written marvellously and with a depth so dark and detailed, you see... Read more
Published 2 months ago by glossylocks
4.0 out of 5 stars Very clever!
A deliciously creepy novel, very clever, very different. As the blurb says, ‘William Heming's every pleasure is in his leafy community. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Wendy Cartmell
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyably creepy read
William Heming is an estate agent in a small town who has cultivated 'a middling, willing sociability' in order to pursue his hobby unnoticed, namely the secret observation of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Eleanor
4.0 out of 5 stars Have a locksmith on standby...
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.

Most of us have a natural inclination to nosiness. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Janet Emson
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure and a Calling
I have not read Phil Hogan before now and found this book to be quite gripping. What a disturbed mind the main character has and is not a person to be crossed. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gabrielle
4.0 out of 5 stars Quickly, change the locks!
If I were to try and categorize this novel, I would say that it is psychological horror. Having now finished the book, and having now just bought my new house, I think one of the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Brida
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