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Thrilling, funny and sexy - Elton gets better and better,
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This review is from: Dead Famous (Paperback)This book, and the more recent "Past Mortem" have both forced me to admit what a good novelist Ben Elton has become. Years ago I read "Gridlock", and I found it mildly amusing, but at times rather irritating, and I was not terribly taken with "Stark" either. However through lack of alternatives I bought "Dead Famous" to read on a train journey, and was utterly spellbound.
This is a great whodunit, and a seriously funny and rather sexy book. It takes apart the current obsession with intrusive reality TV shows - the TV show at the heart of the novel, called Peeping Tom - seems a very thinly disguised version of Big Brother. Elton rips into the concept of the show, and similar shows, exposing the contestants as vapid nonentities , making themselves look ridiculous without realising quite how ridiculous they look, in order to gain their 15 minutes of fame, and exposing the producers of the show as, well, frankly heartless, money obsessed monsters.
To give you a very brief idea of the plot, after the first two housemates have been evicted from the show, the producer, Geraldine, comes up with the stunt involving the contestants taking off their clothes and sitting in a completely dark room. One of them is murdered. Yet nobody actually sees who has committed the crime.
The organisation of the plot, while never less than clear and easy to follow, is actually quite sophisticated. Sections of the narrative are organised under headings, referring to which day of the programme the events described occurred. This enables Elton to be able to present events out of their chronological sequence, and it works well.
I didn't buy quite as much into the three police characters, as I did into those concerned with the programme, but this didn't really dampen my enjoyment at all. If you are considering reading this book, I would give you one warning, though. Cancel all your appointments and engagements when you start reading it, because you'll want to read it through in one sitting.