Friday, June 08, 2012

Genre Alert

The SmokeThe Smoke by Tony Broadbent
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Surname-less cat burglar Jethro gets in over his head by swiping the wrong person's stuff in the course of a "creep" at an unspecified Eastern European embassy and soon finds himself at odds with both Eastern Bloc and British intelligence, a rival cat burglar, and various factions of postwar London's criminal underworld. While the plot is hardly original and the ending is weak the book really shines in its depiction of its setting: a London only just adjusting to a peacetime scarcely less austere and depressing than the war that preceded it. And Jethro, through whose eyes we see it, is an able guide to "the Smoke": a charismatic Cockney antihero whom I could easily see being played onscreen by Michael Caine in his younger days. This novel is its author's first and it appears that he has at least two sequels planned, so I imagine any weaknesses of this book may be ironed out in the future.

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