Top critical review
Well-focussed and satisfying thriller
on 9 October 2014
Our narrator explains that he took a pot shot at a dodgy foreign leader, was caught and tortured, and is now on the run. The book details his relentless efforts to stay ahead of his largely unseen enemies as he returns to Britain and finds somewhere to hide.
Our man is smart, game, efficient and ingenious, but only rarely gives away much about his inner life. Consequently it is the outward facts, the excitement of the chase, that must grip the reader. This they broadly do, although when in the second half our hero literally goes to ground and stays put, I found my attention flagging.
Nonetheless, Household has a plan not only for the story, but for the character, whose tribulations force personal revelations upon and from him. The conceit that the narrative has been found in some tatty exercise book, written as events unfolded, adds immediacy to the action. It's an original and accomplished novel, though rather a bleak tale.