The Swap by Antony Moore
|The Swap by Antony Moore|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: Finding it hard to let go of the past, Harvey attends a school reunion with the hope of finding a former classmate and righting something very wrong from 20 years ago, but things don't quite as planned and soon Harvey is in way too deep.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: July 2007|
|Publisher: Harvill Secker|
Harvey Briscow is the most unlikely of heroes. A comic book shop owner who never really grew up and who is still living in the tiny flat he took as a temporary measure 15 years ago, you rather get the impression that life is passing him by somehow. Still, it's an alright sort of existence for someone who loves a fantasy world so much, upset only occasionally by the postman bringing unpleasant bills or, worse, a cheerful invitation to a school reunion.
Harvey often thinks about the past, in particular about a rather ill advised swap he made with a classmate more than 20 years ago. Unbeknown to him then, the item he swapped was going to become rather a rare find over the next few years, culminating in a market worth of, well, a considerable amount. Barely a day goes by when Harvey doesn't think about what could have been, the other life that was almost his. Prompted on by an employee, the rather dubious Josh, he heads back home for the reunion with a plan to swindle his old school friend out of that comic, now worth rather a handsome sum of money. But, a few fights, some confusion, a brief moment of girlfriend stealing and one dead mother later, and the phrase things didn't go quite to plan is the understatement of the century. Embroiled in a murder investigation for which he is quite understandably, given the circumstances, one of the main suspects, Harvey has to fight to clear his name, get the girl and save the day, all at the same time. Marvellous stuff.
I'm used to chick lit, so having a blokey anti-hero like Harvey, who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and swears like a trooper was quite novel for me. The language was a little more colourful that I'm used to, but wasn't rude to the extreme, or especially offensive in any way, and the wicked black comedy bubbling below the surface made it a treat to read. The story gallops along at a tremendous pace with some brilliant twists, and the ending, though a little too ambiguous for my liking, is a pretty perfect finish to the story.
This is lots of books rolled in to one - a murder mystery, a crime novel, a thriller, even a romance, albeit a bit of a blokey one. There are lots of interesting characters who are wildly different but still cross paths with each other, thanks to the reunion storyline that brings back a group who attended the same school together 20 years ago but who have all gone in different directions since.
It's the sort of thing that would make a good movie as well as a great book, and luckily for us the rights have just been bought by a US studio, so it will no doubt be on the big screen in a few years. In the meantime, read the book, enjoy the ineptness of the main character, the oddness of another character, and the general shenanigans of the whole group, and be glad that you don't have to spend your life wondering What if...
Thank you to the publishers for supplying his book.
For a "proper" detective story with an edge, you could also try Fleshmarket Close while With No One As Witness explores in its title and in the text, the very same problem facing Harvey and his friends in The Swap.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Swap by Antony Moore at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Swap by Antony Moore at Amazon.com.
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