Jack Messenger

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Farewell Olympus

‘This book is ingenious. It is a page-turning, suspense-filled detective story that includes a sharp sense of humour AND it has a hero who fulfils his detective role with an intellectual slant, giving us a sceptical view of the world as filled with corruption, literary references, irony, and relatives we’d rather not see.

There is a wonderful dead-pan attitude of the hero that makes the reader eager to hear more. Here is the hero’s reaction when he is woken in the night by his unwanted house guest who is also his brother: “‘Shouldn’t you be in bed?’ I asked, after I’d had enough and put on a robe. I checked the time: three o’clock. A bad time. The hour of the demon. Shovel-faced men with pitiless eyes knock at doors at three o’clock in the morning.”

The hero’s troubled and hysterical interaction with women he’s attracted to is akin to Peter Sellers’ experiences in the Pink Panther movies:

‘There is nothing wrong with your teeth, Howard. In fact, I have noticed how well you look after them. They are very even – so even that I thought they might be dentures. Delphine says she is almost certain they are genuine.’
‘They are genuine.’
Celeste approached and manipulated my upper lip with her thumb. She examined my teeth. I could see them reflected in her eyes. They looked blue today – her eyes, that is. She tugged at my lower lip and pulled it around. It was curiously unsettling to have a beautiful lawyer examining my mouth in that way. I could hear people passing on the street outside her window. I wondered what they would think if they could see through the blinds.

Here’s an example of the irresistible style and humour of the story when the character is struggling to deal with the hot weather and his professional and sleuthing dilemmas:

Deeply unhappy, I wandered to the balcony in search of perspective, to feel the elements against my skin. The cloudless sky pressed against my best intentions; the sun battered at my humble ambitions. The city couldn’t take much more of this. People had fainted in the streets; an elderly man had died of sunstroke; the president had removed his jacket.

 The novel’s humour is corny and fresh at the same time. This trait mixed with a reluctant, under-dog detective makes this tale a highly diverting read. To top it off, this detective who sees no hope in this world ends up giving us just that! I highly recommend this book! (Amazon UK review)

Media Appearance on Depression and Writing

Laughter is the Best Medicine: How Writing Farewell Olympus Helped Beat Depression

Farewell Olympus in the Media

CONTINENTAL DRIFT: Fewer Britons dream of new life abroad thanks to UK heatwave

Someone had pitched me into the freezing waters of a dark and pitiless lake. Monstrous predatory creatures circled in the primordial gloom. High above, a pinpoint of grey light flickered on the edge of extinction. I had to swim for that light – swim for it or else sink into unfathomable loss …

Farewell Olympus

Giles Manningtree had the annoying habit of latching on to me simply because we were the same nationality. He believed fellow-countrymen should stick together and defend their common culture before it was trodden underfoot by ignorant Gallic hordes. I wondered what had induced him to set up shop in Paris in the first place. There was forty years’ difference in our ages, but he looked ten years older than that. He had actually lived through the 1960s; unfortunately, he’d been too stoned to remember much about them.

Farewell Olympus

Eric drew close, as if confiding a secret. ‘The word is dead, Howard. It died when facts ceased to count. Perceptions are all that matter these days. Electronic impulses have no conscience. Money talks – I should know – but it’s mostly lies.’

Farewell Olympus

I once played volleyball with the archbishop of Barcelona. He was fast around the court and had a useful serve. Attired in clerical garb and sporting a long dark beard that waved in the wind, he looked like somebody impersonating himself. I know a little about how that feels.

Farewell Olympus

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