4 out of 4 stars
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The Friends of Eddy Relish by Paul Dalzell and Gerald Radley appealed to me because its title suggested that this novel would be character-driven. I was elated to find both intriguing characters and a thrilling plot. Eddy Relish, once a prominent child-actor in Hollywood, fled to his home, Knockney, England, after a criminal scandal. Now, Eddy finds himself at the mercy of a cruel loan shark, Reverend Bill, whom he borrowed from trusting that he would be able to make some income working at a local theatre group. After his gig does not ‘pan out’ our protagonist is launched into a trip around the world involving various crime syndicates, government officials, intelligence agents, business tycoons and Hollywood celebrities.
The body of the novel was 275 pages long and was segmented into 67 chapters. This means that on average the chapters were only about 4 pages long. I liked books with a lot of few short chapters because I always have a feeling of accomplishment after reading through a chapter. Also, I appreciated that the authors most likely had their work professionally edited since there were no noteworthy grammatical errors throughout the book. I have co-authored term papers with classmates that have resulted in a paper with more than one writing style. So, I was impressed that this novel did not have that issue. Rather, the flow of the story was beautifully coherent.
I enjoyed this novel. Dalzell and Radley blended the crime and political suspense genres masterfully. Eddy seems to be a magnet for criminals. As previously mentioned, he got involved with a shady loan shark and his engagement in criminal activities spanned back to his days as a child actor. This is just a snippet of the crime that is portrayed in this story. On the other hand, Eddy’s girlfriend, Sharon is running for a council seat in the Knockney council. Reading about the affairs of this council and the campaign process was both amusing and suspenseful. The storyline was quite eventful, and it even included several interesting plot twists.
Moreover, the characters were all very well developed. This feat is amazing considering the story featured an eclectic cast. For example,this was the first book by a non-Caribbean writer that I have read that depicts a Rastafarian man living in the diaspora.My favourite character was the loan shark, Reverend Bill. I appreciated that although he is the main antagonist, he was not a two-dimensional character. Bill is not actually a Reverend but his habit to quote the bible earned him the nickname. Even minor character such as a Japanese woman in the Yakuza got interesting background stories.
In conclusion, I rate this novel 4 out of 4 stars. There were no demerits for me to point out. I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy the crime, political suspense thriller genre.
The Friends of Eddy Relish
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