Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Princess Diana's Revenge - Michael de Larrabeiti

Some spiders spin webs so large there is no escaping them, especially if you bumble along in a haze of alcohol. Once trapped, the more you struggle to break free, the more you become entangled. And when the spiders are deranged…

The day Joe Rapps is released from Wandsworth after a three year stretch for killing two youngsters in a car crash, driving while drunk; he did not think he would live long. The father of the children was a well-known violent criminal. So when he is whisked away from London, presented with a luxury house in a quiet country village and a bank balance to match, he is just a bit suspicious.

It comes as little surprise to find he is surrounded by some very strange people. With disappearing nannies, someone shooting dogs, and a countess determined to avenge the death of Princess Diana, village life promises to be less than restful. Sucked into other people’s madnesses, Joe simply tries to keep his head above water and enjoy the luxuries thrown at him whilst he can.

This is a fun book with a dark streak running through its heart. The author has captured the both the beauty of the English countryside and the feeling of claustrophobia that can sometimes manifest itself in living in a small community. And over this there is a layer of doom, because struggling in the web of other people’s delusions – especially when they have psychopathic tendencies – is never going to end well.

Although best known for his Borrible books, Michael de Larrabeiti has written a number of novels. Like the others, this is well-written, imaginative, relaxed without being loose, darkly-comic, and offers a frightening glimpse into the obsessed mind. A great read.