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Catching the Sun [Paperback]

Tony Parsons
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

7 Jun 2012

Just how badly do you want to find paradise?

When Tom Finn is almost jailed for confronting two burglars in his own home, this taxi driver takes his young family to live on the tropical island of Phuket, Thailand.

Phuket is all the Finn family dreamed of – a tropical paradise where the children swim with elephants, the gibbons sing love songs in the jungle, the Andaman Sea is like turquoise glass and this young family is free to grow.

But both man-made disaster and the unleashed forces of nature shatter this tropical idyll for Tom Finn's family.

CATCHING THE SUN is a gripping, moving story of a family who go in search of Paradise – and end up discovering themselves.

Frequently Bought Together

Catching the Sun + Departures: Seven Stories from Heathrow + The Murder Bag
Price For All Three: 16.98

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007327811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007327812
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello - and thanks for checking out my page at Amazon Author Central.

I'm not going to drone on and on - I know you have books to read - but this is the perfect place to tell you a little about me, and something about my new novel - THE MURDER BAG, which will be published in its first edition in May 2014.

THE MURDER BAG is my first crime novel and features the debut of Detective Max Wolfe of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command at London's West End Central - 27 Savile Row.

My first job in journalism was at New Musical Express - there's a shot of me with Bruce Springsteen on this page, when we were young and stepping out into the New York night wearing only our vests - but my first journalism that didn't involve hanging out with rock stars was soon after I left the NME when I was embedded with the Vice Squad at 27 Savile Row, West End Central. The roots of THE MURDER BAG start there.

When I was creating the world of Max Wolfe, I knew that one of the things I wanted to do was give my crime novel an evocative sense of place - like Los Angeles in the novels of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy, or Edinburgh in the Rebus novels by Ian Rankin, or Brighton in the Roy Grace novels of Peter James - and my home city is London.
27 Savile Row felt like an original location - and it had a nice ring to it, like Sherlock Holmes at home strumming the violin in Baker Street. The London of THE MURDER BAG is contemporary London but the past weighs heavily because London is full of ghosts - so it is also the London of Jack the Ripper, the Krays and the Black Museum - which is Room 101 at New Scotland Yard, closed to the public, where the relics of 150 years of terrible crimes are kept to remind policemen that they risk their lives every time they go to work. The Black Museum is important to THE MURDER BAG and crucial to my detective - the Black Museum is where Max Wolfe goes to seek wisdom and guidance from a man who is to become his greatest ally. But I don't want to spoil the book...

I have loved crime fiction all my life and I know that the very best of it honours the form while adding something fresh, an unexpected twist. That's what I tried to do with THE MURDER BAG at every step of the way.

With the murderer. With his crimes. With the weapon. With the location. With The Black Museum. And most of all, with my detective - a single parent, an amateur boxer, a coffee-addicted insomniac who is a good man but who wants to be better.

Max feels very real to me, and I think that's why the book has been supported by some of the greatest thriller and crime writers in the world. If you will forgive me for a solo on my own trumpet for a second - the great Lee Child said of THE MURDER BAG: "Spectacular! Tense but human, fast but authentic - maybe this is what Tony Parsons should have been doing all along." I wanted to create a serial hero - one of those mythic characters like Sherlock Holmes or Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe or Harry Hole - so to get the nod from Lee Child is great, because nobody has created a more brilliant serial hero in recent years than Lee Child with his Jack Reacher.

A bit about me. I always knew that I would write. I knew that nothing would stop me. I always loved stories, I always found that books engaged me like nothing else, and helped me to make sense of the world.
I left school at 16, did a number of low paid unskilled jobs, and I was working on the night shift in Gordon's Gin Distillery in Islington when I was offered my first job in journalism on New Musical Express. Since then I have had my lean years as well as my good years - careers are never linear, you have to expect set-backs along the way - but I have become an award winning journalist and bestselling novelist, and my books have been published in over 40 languages, most recently Vietnamese. My semi-autobiographical novel, MAN AND BOY, won of the Book of the Year prize.
Other novels that did pretty good include ONE FOR MY BABY, MAN AND WIFE, MEN FROM THE BOYS, MY FAVOURITE WIFE and CATCHING THE SUN. Julia Roberts liked my novel THE FAMILY WAY so much that she bought the film rights. I also wrote a novel about my wild years at the NME, called STORIES WE COULD TELL, which all takes place the night that Elvis died.

But the next few years are all about Detective Max Wolfe for me. THE MURDER BAG is the first of a trilogy of crime novels featuring Max and his world - his 5-year-old daughter Scout, their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Black Museum and 27 Savile Row and the Max Wolfe lair - their home is a big loft that overlooks Smithfield meat market. I am currently working on the second Max Wolfe book, THE SLAUGHTER MAN, which will appear in 2015. The third Max Wolfe book will be published in 2016. I have the title and the plot but I will keep it under my hat for now.

I live in London with my wife, our daughter and our dog Stan - who has provided the model for Max Wolfe's fictional dog, also called Stan, funny enough, and who will now only speak to me through his lawyers.

I really hope that you like THE MURDER BAG. Thanks again for checking out this page, and for sticking with it to the end. Love and luck. Tony Parsons.

Product Description


‘Simmering beneath the dazzling sunlight there are gritty undercurrents aplenty’ Express

‘The prose seamlessly pulls you along…a lasting novel about belief and longing’ Daily Mirror

‘A love letter to Thailand’ BBC

‘ … a simple yet effective story, exploring the incessant search for happiness and what people will do to secure it’ Irish Examiner

‘Tony Parson's great skill is that he can cut to the core of relationships’ The Book Bag

‘[The Finn Family] soon discover the start truth behind the tourist-brochure ‘holiday paradise’ image, before emerging emotionally stronger from the strains of their relocation’ Sunday Times

About the Author

Tony Parsons is the author of Man and Boy , winner of the Book of the Year prize. His subsequent novels – One For My Baby, Man and Wife, The Family Way, Stories We Could Tell, My Favourite Wife, Starting Over and Men from the Boys were all bestsellers. In summer 2011 he was Writer-in-Residence at London Heathrow, and his first book of short stories, Departures, is based on the experience. He has written a novella about pirates for Quick Reads – Beyond the Bounty.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over hyped 31 July 2012
By Ceb1960
Catching the Sun
This book leaves the reader feeling frustrated as though having been invited to a friend's house and then ignored for the duration. We don't get to know the characters as we are given nothing. The characterisation is one dimensional and repetitive. The style is rather like reportage with some overblown descriptions of place. The storyline provides lots of opportunities to develop the main characters which are systematically ignored, sometimes blatantly. How could the author tell us that the main character is bitten by a gibbon and then proceed to tell us that the gibbon is to be tested for HIV but follow with absolutely nothing of what Tom might feel or think about such a situation? There is no depth. The first page tells us that Rory is lying on his front in the sand with a book in his lap! How does that work then? Was there an editor at HarperCollins looking after this book, or was it an experiment in publishing a book without an editor? We are also given rudimentary and patronising lessons in the societal issues of Thai beach culture, such as how the bar girls are exploited by rich foreign businessmen, yes thanks I think we knew that. I could go on but you get my drift. Disappointing.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear 17 July 2012
By Adopado
It rolls along as a story but never seems to get anywhere. There were no particular questions answered. There was little power of emotion or description. Despite incorporating the most devastating natural disaster to afflict humanity in modern times this seemed to fall rapidly into the background within a few pages. Some concrete details just weren't realistic or accurate. (For example, the never ending pallets of water bottles or his stored petrol in his hut ... for his, ahem, diesel powered motorbike!)

Here's the story to save you some time and money: The family had some problems in the UK so chose to live in Thailand for a while ... we note that Thailand is different to the UK ... some (mostly unlikely) events took place, and without any particular good reason they decide to go back home.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Jasper
Like everyone else, I loved 'Man and Boy' and keep hoping for a similar read from Tony Parsons. I've read each of his books since and this was probably the least interesting yet. Unlike some other reviewers, I liked the setting and thought it was described well but I couldn't become interested in the characters. The narrator's children were meant to be cute but the boy was so irritating and both came across as much older than they were. Unrealistic dialogue and the plot wasn't much better. What a shame.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 27 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I heard the author on radio 2 talking about this book and having been to Thailand on a number of occasions ordered the book as it sounded like something I would enjoy. The book is very easy reading but ultimately unbelieveable and one-dimensional.
There is little depth to the characters and the story unfolds with many cliches and things that just do not make sense.
I found it really hard to believe what the author ws trying to tell me. Disappointed.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So bad it was painful to read 26 Jun 2012
I hate starting a book and not finishing it ... so I struggled through this one to the end ... and it really was so bad that it felt painful to read. Anybody who has spent any time in Thailand will cringe at the picture painted of life here ... really really disappointing book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time 14 Nov 2012
By Peggy G
I have read Tony Parsons before & really enjoyed him, but this book is not worth bothering with at all.

It seems like he's trying to cram 100s of different things into the book, but doesn't expand or spend much time on any of them.

The main character just came across as really pathetic & irritating rather than the hard done by modern hero that I think he was intended to be. There was no depth to any of the characters and the book left lots of unanswered questions.....except I didn't care at all about the answers!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 2 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have been a Tony Parsons fan since the early days. Man and Boy absolutely blew me away. Had the pleasure of meeting Mr Parsons at the Time Out book club a couple of years ago which only enforced my opinion of the man and his works. Rather sadly I feel his last couple of books have gradually gotten worse, to the point that I never even bothered to finish this one, which is something I couldn't have comprehended a couple of years ago. I feel like I have lost my favourite author. The story splutters along, often backfiring, the characters do not develop, and the usual heart rendering emotional moments are missing.
No doubt I will still pre-order the next and await in anticipation for delivery, I just hope he is back to his best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Overhyped and boring, best as a doorstop 29 Sep 2012
By velvet
This is such a dull and cheesy book. I was really bored. I was given it by a hotel guest, who never got to grips with it, but I thought I would give it a go. I only read a few chapters. It was a waste of my time. I thought I should spend less time reading this dull book and concentrate on having a good time on my holiday.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good, very Tony Parson's
Published 22 days ago by Carol Carr
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
My wife enjoyed more than I did
Published 22 days ago by Mossmo
3.0 out of 5 stars A polished novel
Although this book was not as heart grabbing as Parsons series about marriage and fatherhood, it is well written and interesting. Read more
Published 2 months ago by boswynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories of Thailand
I have spent many lovely holidays in Thailand and visited Phuket a few times. The book is very well,written. It made me laugh and cry.
Published 9 months ago by Christine Bryan
4.0 out of 5 stars A taste of being abroad
I could totally visualise this whole book. Very descriptive read with some loveable characters. I would recommend it. We read it as one of our book club books this year.
Published 11 months ago by Sarah Cunningham
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice story
Would recommend to someone who has visited or wants to visit Thailand as this would help one to relate to the scenes and setting of the story. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Louise Anne Bell
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not my favourite Tony Parsons
Did eventually get into it and it was not a bad read but didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as his previous books.
Published 13 months ago by CAROLINE
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I've always really loved Tony Parson's writing. It's easy reading, passionate and full of simple human observation. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mr. J. A. Lennon
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to previous books
A disappointing read. Certainly it was not up to his previous books. The Characters or the story never really developed.
Published 17 months ago by Valerie
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my choice
I only read this because it was a book club choice. It's an easy read, a predictable subject and simplistic.
Published 17 months ago by H M VASPER
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