Peter Jinks' debut novel, Hallam Foe
, throws up an unlikely and somewhat unpleasant anti-hero in the title character. Forget the notable comparisons with Hamlet
; there is something rather rotten in young Hallam's state of mind: his obsessive if not perverse habit is excessive voyeurism. Not that we should be too cynical according to Jinks who suggests that Hallam is merely "the product of a wider cultural movement, although of course he belonged to a different league entirely from the slack-mouthed telly-watchers and Internet-browsers below".
Master Foe's compulsive behaviour lands him in serious trouble with his wealthy father and, banished from the family estate, Hallam finds himself taking a room and a job in Edinburgh. Caught up in a business-emotional relationship with his boss and distracted by a reunion with his estranged sister, he watches the lives and loves of those closest to him unfold as his spying takes on a suddenly personal slant. This is sufficient to make him reconsider his way of life but never enough to prise him away from the rooftops and windowpanes.
Hallam often finds himself in dangerous scenarios that beggar belief but Jinks keeps his man just within range of reality and the emotion and anxiety that accompany his missions contribute to some tensely enjoyable sections. The plan-coming-together latter stage is a deliciously executed act of revenge that would not seem out of place in a Roald Dahl fantasy. With the end in sight, however, Hallam sways between inertia (with it the first steps to a "normal" life) and the draw of completing his masterpiece, ultimately to fulfil his "destiny". --David Thwaites
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Effortlessly creepy and extremely entertaining...this little gem deserves to achieve cult status' -- THE TIMES
'One of the most distinctive and compelling protagonists of recent years...this gloriously dark novel is original, witty and full of surprises' -- MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Quite an achievement...quirky and even charming' -- Independent on Sunday
'Quite the oddest fictional debut of the year, and none the worse for it' -- Guardian
'Rightly compared to Iain Banks' THE WASP FACTORY...paints a compelling picture of troubled youth' -- BELFAST TELEGRAPH
'So terse and tense, so utterly packed with atmosphere, and potential to scare or excite, that you simply marvel at what Jinks can do' -- SCOTSMAN
'Superb... unusually exciting [and] amusing' -- SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY