Having seen his turn in House, perhaps the dry, sharp wit of Thomas Lang comes as less of a shock than it would have done when happy-go-lucky Hugh Laurie, best-known at the time for portraying bumbling idiots in Blackadder or the equally bumbling Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster, first released The Gun Seller. No wonder he originally submitted it under a pseudonym.
With the rise of terrorism, the story has possibly become more relevant today; featuring assassinations, fake terrorist plots, gun dealers and clandestine operations to sell the military hardware it probably doesn’t need. The jovial wit and dark humour of the protagonist is interspersed with ruthless, Bourne Identity style violence, posh totty and spooks. Think Spooks, with more violence and less chance of the bad guys winning (and the good guys acting more like the bad guys).
The characters are different, certainly not cardboard cut-outs, but lean heavily on some established stereotypes, though you won’t notice as the plot grips and barrels along. I picked it off my shelf as it was a nice size compared to the current trend in which books seem to be mirroring societal obesity in their growing waistlines.
Does it break new ground? Not really, but it’s a fun, fast, action-packed adventure that steps far enough away from the beaten track to keep the story engaging.
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Paperback copy of the book
Reviewed: 27th May 2011