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A Pleasure and a Calling Paperback – 27 Feb 2014


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Paperback, 27 Feb 2014
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (27 Feb 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0857521896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857521897
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.2 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,748,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Parm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Feb 2014
Format: Hardcover
Review

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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Format: Hardcover
After reading this dark and chilling thriller, you will be deleting all those real estate agent contacts from your life, looking for ways to sell your house privately! Real estate agents have never been Top of the Pops in most admired or trusted professions, and most of us have a shady story or two to tell about our dealings with them. But I bet none of us know an agent such as William Heming!

Mr Heming has been an agent in an attractive English town for many years. He is part of the local landscape, respected, well liked it would seem, does his job well, and leads an unremarkable average sort of life. But, how would you feel if you knew that he kept the key of every single house he had sold over the past twenty plus years, and had them displayed on a wall in his home? And that he used these keys to enter the homes of his clients, buyers and vendors alike, finding out every detail of their lives, their bank accounts, their families, their holidays, their pets? Mr Heming is that man.

So much does he love his neighbourhood and many of the people that live in it, he uses his knowledge and his expertise to actually protect and help many of them. He is decidedly creepy, but it is when he his behaviour begins to do more harm than good that things get really chilling. The undoing of Mr Heming's carefully built up veneer begins when a body is discovered by the swimming pool on the property of the Cooksons, who would clearly fill the shoes of nightmarish vendors to be dealing with. During the course of Mr Heming dealing with this situation, he tells us the story of how he came to be involved in real estate, his childhood, and his obsessive streak of curiosity that leads and saves him from so much trouble.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Not that I haven't got enough books of my own, but having seen a few reviews of this recent release, I was interested enough to reserve it at my local library. Currently of the 25 scores on Amazon UK, 15 give it top marks and 10 settle for 4 stars, with no dissenting voices as yet.

Our narrator is Mr Heming, a small town estate agent with a propensity for copying and keeping client's keys, allowing him access to come and go from their lives as he sees fit. His passion is in knowing everything about everyone..... where you work, what you eat, where you shop, what you earn, etc. He'll rifle through your drawers, but whilst he'll take a small memento, he won't get his thrills from stealing your wife's panties.

"Think of me as an invisible brother or uncle or boyfriend. I'm no trouble. I may be there when you are, or when you are gone, or more likely just before you arrive. I agree it is an idea that takes some getting used to. But do we not all have a life to make, to mould it somehow around that of others, to search for the dovetail that seems best to fit?"

Creepy, unsettling and disturbing. The more we get to know William; the flashbacks to incidents from his childhood help and the more he rationalises his behaviour, the more you realise you are in the presence of a seriously deranged individual, with enough of a cloak of respectability and invisibility to pass himself off as normal.

Incidents at school and with neighbourhood children, allow his closest relatives to glean a glimpse at the malevolence lurking within the real Heming. Adulthood and a fortuitous route into a career in estate agency, allows him opportunity to perfect his art.
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