Straight after The World According to Bertie, I read this one.
Not bad, but not one of the best. Again you get the feeling that he's going a bit more for quantity of output and perhaps sacrificing quality a bit. Or maybe it's me - having read three in a row spoils the effect.
Matthew and Pat are no longer an item in this book, and I missed that: what was good about their relationship was that you knew if really wasn't going to work, but both of them were reluctant to admit it, so there was an interesting tension. I suppose that can't go on forever though. Also in this one, Bruce undergoes a fairly dramatic change of character, and, assuming it's sustained, I'll miss the old Bruce: he was an unsual example of an unlikeable character who still could engage the reader's sympathy.
For a while, it looks like Bertie might also be the subject of a significant plot change, as Dr. Fairburn has to move away and is replaced with a new psychologist. But I'm not sure the new one will turn out to be much better.
Lard O'Connor meets his end in this book, and there were a couple of sections relating to that which I liked. When the ambulance came:
'I'm very sorry,' said the ambulance man. 'But I can tell you, he won't have known what hit him. Out like a light. If that's any consolation.'
It was, and Angus thought of those words as he helped the ambulance men to roll Lard onto the stretcher and carry him up the stone steps. 'We're not meant to allow you to help,' said the other ambulance man. 'Health and safety regulations, you know. But you boys were his friends and maybe he would have liked it.'
'He would,' said Angus. 'He would have liked it.'
And he thought for a moment how stupid our society had become, that its nanny-like concern for risk should prevent one man helping another to take a dead friend up the steps of Big Lou's coffee bar.
Then, at his funeral:
Lard lay in glory in a glass-sided hearse to which a black, plumed horse had been yoked. He lay surrounded by flowers, great wreaths spelling out messages from friends and family. LARD said one; one another, BIG MAN, and QUALITY. And then there was the biggest wreath of all, which simply said: DEID.
Completed : 02-Jul-2009