Saturday, May 23, 2009
Review of Serpentine from The Scottish Review of Books
It's funny when you see someone else's take on your book, and - while enthusiastic, thank goodness - it varies from your own perceptions. I've never seen Murricane as the hero of the book - for me it's a two-hander with Flaws, who is in many ways Murricane's deeply damaged and fumbling alter ego...anyway. See what you think yourself!
Broadcaster, writer and musician Tom Morton has created Shetland's answer to James Bond in his new novel Serpentine. Former SAS agent Mark Murricane leads the search for the elusive Serpentine, a roving terrorist involved in the 'Troubles' of Northern Ireland and now causing chaos on an international scale. Like Bond, Murricane has a facility for escaping from tight spots armed with a gun, some explosives and a quip or two. Our hero changes locations at breakneck speed. We first meet him in Gaza, where he frees a British hostage, and then follow him to the Scottish Highlands and Ireland, as he confronts ex-lovers, former RUC officers and other tough types.
Written in remarkably smooth diction, this novel walks the line between crime and literary fiction. Fast paced, lucidly narrated and featuring articulate characters, Serpentine is an addictive read. Murricane is an odd but likable protagonist, a man of great foresight which makes up for his slight, wiry build.
The novel is laced with dark humour and bound together by the real-life mystery of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, for which no-one has ever been charged.
The Scottish Review of Books, Vol 5, Number 2, 2009