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5.0 out of 5 stars Stomach Churning Excitement, 19 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Big Dipper (Kindle Edition)
This well crafted thriller with an exciting gay slant manages to keep the reader in suspense right up until the final chapter. The action, which takes place in London during the Margaret Thatcher years, takes place amid the starkly horrifying beginnings of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. At the same time, the novel is given an exotic oriental dimension through a young and dangerously attractive young Chinese man, who comes from Hong Kong, but was brought up in a British public school. Unfortunately, he comes to a sticky end, after which the rest of our story revolves around a broad cast of varied characters all of whom appear as are prime suspects. Different strands of British society are realistically depicted while through them we plunge beneath the surface to darker levels both socially and psychologically.

The main character, however, is your typical middle class respectable type, who takes pride in being “normal”, at least on the surface. The events of the novel, however, force our hero off his habitual stride into something altogether more suspect, even sinister, though also more exciting. The tension generated by his struggle to remain normal and calm is palpable and carries us through to the climax of the novel, where all is revealed. By plunging into this underworld of greed and lust from a world of respectability and contentment, where selecting bathroom curtains at a well-known London store provides a welcome frisson of taste and pleasure, enables us to relate to and find it both palpable and realistic.

Perhaps the most cunning aspect of Big Dipper is the way it maintains a level of sexual tension and excitement throughout, not by explicit description, but through more evocative hint and inference. In this, we enter the consciousness of Mr Normal and appreciate the ambivalence and inner struggle of wanting to be both smugly respectable while also, without always being comfortable about admitting it even to oneself, excitingly excessive. The search for a greater excitement than is on offer at a London Store’s soft furnishing department, in spite of the obvious dangers, while at the same time impelled by an idealised love (of is it fear?), is what propels the reader through the book. Stephen Wyatt succeeds brilliantly in simulating the stomach churning excitement of a big dipper as he takes us through a door marked ‘private’ into a world where transgression tempts us beyond boundaries of safety, respectability – and, perhaps the real source of temptation - boredom.
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