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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2015
Jeremy Green’s fluid style of writing and Marlowe/Mahler’s witty inner monologue bring this story to life and grabbed me straight away. That, combined with great characters and excellent description, meant I had to force myself to stop reading on the first sitting due to work commitments the next day. I finished One Shoe Tale the next evening, as I couldn’t wait to see how it panned out.

This is a unique and original take on the Cinderella fairy tale that takes place in the religious melting pot of an adapted Budapest. The writer knows his history and has twisted it to suit his needs in a satirical blend of the tale we know and what might have ‘really’ happened.

The characters are so well drawn that you can feel and touch them. Alongside the main protagonist, Marlowe, there are numerous memorable personalities; from the sadistic Countess to Marlowe’s trusted comrade-in-arms Ratko.

History is rewritten to compliment the story and it seems that everybody has something at stake when it comes to the Prince marrying, or not marrying, the belle of the ball. Without giving too much away, Marlowe (or is it Mahler?) is tasked by the Prince to find the owner of the shoe and bring her in. Marlowe soon finds that everything is not as simple as it appears and goes to his old friend Ratko for information, there’s a long history between these two that both gives their characters more depth and demonstrates the republican/Papal divide.

As other reviewers have pointed out, there are some great one-liners and I was reminded of Terry Pratchett’s Rincewind by Marlowe’s humorous commentary, although Marlowe is in no way cowardly.

Green respects the reader’s intelligence and vivid description puts you into the heart of Marlowe’s Age of Discovery but is not overdone. Likewise, a point is never hammered home twice and this allows the story to move along at an excellent pace.

Expertly crafted and the author has a unique style of writing that both flows and sets him apart as being a master storyteller. I hope that Marlowe and Ratko’s characters appear again, but if not I’m sure that whatever Green’s next installment is will be just as satisfying. Really can’t recommend One Shoe Tale highly enough and look forward to reading whatever comes next!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2014
Fifty Shades of Cinderella, set in the mean streets of Budapest, against the background of a 'War on Error'. Or is it the Bronx? Or a thinly disguised Muswell Hill? I like the 'War on Error'. An amusing romp from a writer with a clear passion for devouring history and perverting it. I hope Amazon earn enough from sales to be able to afford to start paying their corporation tax.
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on 5 March 2014
Imagine a world-weary, cynical Los Angeles private eye transported to a Budapest of several centuries ago who drinks slivovitz instead of whiskey and is asked to take on the case of a Cinderella-like missing woman. Then add some smoky, decadent atmosphere of 1930’s Berlin with spies, revolutionaries and sinister people who may or may not be who they seem. Season with an ominous background atmosphere of religious conflict and hints of pogroms. Mix in an X-rated chapter of a dominatrix Countess and two sadistic stepdaughters and jokey literary and historical references. Is this Marlowe the detective descended from Shakespeare’s rival Marlowe? Is his world-weary response to yet again being mistakenly called Mahler a Germanic language error even though the soldier is grammatically correct in the use of the subjunctive (the answer comes only in the last sentence of the epilogue—or does it?) Is the “encrypted correspondence” a precursor to email which hadn’t been invented in Cinderella’s day?

Tell this tale in a breezy and fast paced style with an air of light hearted nonchalant cynicism and you have “One Shoe Tale” -- a hugely enjoyable first short novel by Jeremy Green. This is a brilliant evocation of mood and atmosphere complete with dimly-lit twisted passages and moustaches twirled by ringed fingers while pendulum clocks tick in the bowels of the palace. There is an air of decaying authority and a Kafkaesque flavour of an empire in decline and the stirrings of revolution. The authorities superficially offer helpful support couched in menacing undertones of devious betrayal by the secret police who then confide their own disillusion with the bureaucracy of the “War on Error”. The press is manipulated by Machiavellian politicians with a stage managed photo opportunity covered by a “phalanx of newsletter-men and fast-track engravers” the predecessors of paparazzi photographers. The story has amateurish conspirators and incompetent manipulators as well as the tongue-in-cheek menace of burly Carmelite nuns, secret societies that are not what they seem, greedy merchants and corrupt authority. Carriages have doors that lock only from the outside to whisk special prisoners away at midnight for “rendition” to enslavement. It all builds to a great denouement in the Town Square with the Countess, Prince, King, Queen, and a heroic revolutionary turning the tables and being upstaged by the next like a card game with each revelation of a player’s hand being trumped by the next.

If “One Shoe Tale” goes viral we could look forward to the West End play (an adult pantomime?), the Broadway musical (a la Springtime for Hitler?) and the movie (by Wes Anderson?). Buy the book, spread the word!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2014
One Shoe Tale takes the reader to another time and place full of dust and tanneries, engaging all our senses.
I love the author's descriptions, of `smeary toughs' a man with 'impossibly wide smile', and evocative phrases, `he was an amateur at concealment', `it was almost a conversation'. The book is full of intrigue, (un-pc) politics and humour, 'The King asked, `ain't there a single honest man in the whole village?' `Dad, don't be a dope'. Read it for pure pleasure and a giggle.
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on 15 March 2014
(That's my husband's description of a Kindle book that you can't put down).

I don't want to repeat but heartily endorse all the favourable comments from other reviewers re Chandler etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and read it through in almost one go. I would say that it's not typical of many first novels that I've read in that Jeremy Green seems to have exercised self-restraint or at least got someone else to edit it firmly. It's chock full of good one-liners and I bet there were many more where they came from but JG didn't over-indulge himself. The pace is fast, the dialogue is snappy and realistic (in a Chandleresque way of course) and the combination of historical references and almost fact with fairy story and satire is inventive and lots of fun.

I would have given it 5 stars not 4 but I didn't like the fact that the sadomasochism scene included the 2 daughters along with their mother, with one of the daughters masturbating. Not exactly incestuous I know but it made me slightly queasy, Apologies for the massive plot spoiler.

I look forward to the next novel. JG may have something completely different in mind but I would like to read his version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
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on 13 August 2014
This story packs a punch: it has cobblers, flunkeys and gags, brutal Carmelites and a hero who stands between Hungary and Haringey just like the author who has added Magyar moodiness to Chandler's cool. The result is a novella taking place in "a distorted, reverse reflection" of Budapest, as Jeremy Green says in his after-word. Green does a great job of summoning its crumbling splendour without leaving sight of his story. This story is not what you expect it to be after the first few pages: there's more than one twist along the way, and the detective, Marlowe/Mahler, has more than one adventure in him. At the end, tipping his tricorn to a post-modern sensibility, he says: »The old world, the world of nobles and their estates and retainers, that's coming to an end. The new world, it's all about bearer bonds and bourses and bills of exchange. It's the same all over Europe. Trade is the new religion. Soon it won't matter which God you pray to, or what language you pray in... in a few years, no-one will want to talk about the War on Error.« (Sic!) Ferenc Marlowe is every bit as deep as his literary cousin from California and like the Marlowe from CA, too cool to show it. I can't wait to see what he'll be up to next, 250 years ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2014
One Shoe Tale is as a charm. Readers cannot fail to be entranced by this unusual leap into a familiar story. Evocative scenes draw you in to a magical, weird world, peopled by characters who seem strangely familiar. Rather like entering an old gemstone: the authorial voice, sharp and witty; fresh and clear metaphoric descriptions; and a nonchalant gumshoe squeeze to the traditional story, all add to its enchantment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2014
Fast moving, witty Raymond Chandler take on the Cinderella story, set in Budapest in some unspecified time - maybe olden times.
Engaging story, but the plot doesn't matter that much, it's the eccentric Runyonesque characters that move it along - with a bit of not all that serious sadomasochism thrown in. Good fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2014
In this hugely clever and thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced witty romp through the backstreets of an alternative eighteenth century Budapest, we follow private eye Ferenc Marlowe in his quest to find an elusive (Cin)d’rella. This 'fairytale for grown-ups' should be consumed, greedily, in one indulgent sitting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2014
A wonderful cross pollination of genres. The story moves fast, The characters are utterly believable. The descriptions read like a noir movie. The lead character/point of view is a thoroughly likable rogue. All in all this book is well worth reading. I recommend it without hesitation.
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