A landmark moment, and a very amusing piece of American literature
Personal: I have just finished the first draft of The Man in the Mirror, my long-planned “deconstructed Mills & Boon romance”. It features the stereotypical heroine and hero but explores their back-stories and explains how they came to be the way they are, with negative implications for “happily ever after”. There are crime-story, gothic-fantasy and espionage subplots, all woven together with the main plot. The 123,000 word manuscript will need a lot of revision and pruning but it will stay fallow for at least two months before I return to it. Right now, my feelings on finishing the draft are those of having set down a heavy rucksack and kicked off my boots. Time to relax and do something different.
Do you enjoy a convoluted tales of espionage, murder and mayhem? Do you like them better when they proceed at lightning pace? And even better when they keep you smiling and laughing with wit that comes out of left field and surprises you page after page? If so, try Walt Pilcher’s The Accidental Spurrt.
Spurr Nutritionals is a respected soft-drinks company with a penchant for punchy adverts (A wink, a drink, and you’re in the pink”… “Stay alert with Spurtt”…) The local community is populated by good and bad people from both the north and the south of the USA and from other countries, notably Japan; but the bad people, the villains, are for the most part hilariously inept, but Mr Pilcher treats all the characters with understanding and sympathy. He’s never cruel.
The protagonist, an out-of work consultant called Mark Fairley, becomes a reluctant amateur sleuth, tasked with sorting among the large array of suspects for murdering one member of the company founder’s family and injuring another. In his own words: “I navigate a treacherous maze of homicide, inept corporate espionage, dysfunctional family intrigue and hilarious intercultural missteps, hoping not to become the next unexplained casualty. It’s a spell-binding yet side-splitting tale of mystery, danger, greed, jealousy, pathos, death and possible sex. Oh, and shadowy international forces vying for control of the multi-billion-dollar energy drink industry. I hope you’ll buy this book because I’m still out of work and I need the money.”
The fictional Mark Fairley’s words illustrate the light, quirky, engaging style of the whole book. The setting is alien to me – I’ve never visited the Carolinas – but Mr Pilcher portrayed it well enough for me to visualise it. Overally, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I believe a sequel is in the offing. If so I’ll certainly read it!
Walt Pilcher, The Accidental Spurrt, Fantastic Books Publishing, 2019; ISBN: 978-1912053193