Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Tom Holt: May Contain Traces of Magic

This did contain some time travel after all, but I thought I'd review it anyway. It's (broadly) another in the series containing The Portable Door, Earth Air Fire and Custard, The Better Mousetrap and You Don't Have To Be Evil To Work Here But It Helps. Its hero, Chris Popham, works as a sales rep for J.W.Wells' various products, ranging from the annoying (a book of all human knowledge that insists on telling him about Gandhi), to the useful (in the form of portable parking spaces), to... well no one has ever quite worked out what they use the dessicated water for, but it's certainly selling well.

Chris quickly finds himself not-quite attacked by demons, saddled with graduate trainees, and talking to his Sat Nav, which is talking back, and would quite like to get out of the horrible plastic box, thank you. As if that weren't enough, he's got his failing relationship with Karen to deal with, while his usually supportive friend Jill is doing a good job of dealing with the supernatural incursions, but getting remarkably preoccupied about some missing digestive biscuits.

It's good fun, though as usual quite baffling until Holt explains it at the end. The gags are as good as ever, and it's a fast paced read, even when half of what's going on doesn't make much sense. Holt plays with the business of being a sales rep expertly, and as usual my only slight annoyance is the time travelling plot, which seems to make a surprising amount of what follows only semi-relevant. Having said that, it only comes in towards the end, and doesn't detract from what are some very funny characters, so this is still very much worth reading.

7 comments:

Jodie said...

Why am I not reading more Tom Holt books? At some point Terry Pratchett muscled him out of my conciousness - must get back to him, the only author I've ever read who mentioned Stourbridge in a novel.

Lisa Damian said...

Sounds right up my alley. Is it as funny as you make it sound, or is that simply your own humor interjected into your review? Either way, I love some of the scenes and plot points you mention. I'll check it out.

stu said...

Lisa, it's very funny, though my review was probably a little bubblier than Holt's quite dry style.

Jodie, I'm going to find a way to work Stourbridge into what I'm writing now if it kills me.

Christina said...

This sounds pretty good. I'm going to have to go book shopping.

MG Higgins said...

Sounds strange and funny. My kind of book!

Jodie said...

Yay! If you could get the red house glass cone in (http://www.dudley.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums--galleries/red-house-glass-cone) there would be extra points in it for you (and points make prizes).

Lauren said...

This sounds like a great book. You always have such great book recommendations. I gave you an award over at my blog!