5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Dead Famous, Ben Elton - If you hate Big Brother, you'll love this!,
This review is from: Dead Famous (Paperback)
The last decade has seen an explosion in the faux celebrity culture, people famous and feted for being vacuous non-entities who have managed to get their faces on TV on some risible 'reality TV' show. The whole phenomenon is ripe for some decent satirisation, and here Ben Elton has taken up the gauntlet and given the whole genre the treatment it deserves.
We're all (painfully) familiar with the format of Big Brother. The set up is the same here - a house full of pointless narcissists obsessed with becoming celebrities locked in a house loaded with cameras, constantly being broadcast to the nation. Then suddenly, one of them is brutally murdered. Live on TV. But the murderer manages to remain incognito.
The book is very cleverly constructed - the time lines move around, one minute with the police investigating the crime, the next going back over earlier episodes of the series. We don't even get to find out who the victim is until half way through. The police investigation is nicely presented, as are the details of life in the house leading up to the murder. The identity of the murderer and the motives, though apparent from reasonably early on, are nicely revealed and there are no plot holes to speak of.
The real joys of the book are the characterisations and the behind the scenes look at the reality TV industry. Ben Elton manages to write all of the characters extremely well, from the vacuous inmates to the cynical and bewildered investigating officer Inspector Coleridge. Non e of them feel clichéd, and all feel like real people. And as for the descriptions of how the industry really works, it is a fascinating read!
On top of all this, the whole book is laced with Elton's bitingly satirical wit. Laugh out loud funny in many places, especially when taking a dig at the self deluded people who go in for these sort of things.
This is a book that works on several levels - the satire of the reality TV industry, the well constructed crime thriller and the excellent character study. Highly recommended.