"I have a very full life online."
Welcome back Ben Elton, it's been too long!
Ben's latest offering opens with D.I Mick Matlock speaking at a police media appearance to discuss a recently discovered body in a park. He unknowingly jumps right in with his size elevens by using the phrase "wrong place, wrong time". It was said unwittingly, and no offense was meant. But plenty was taken. The police media liaison department are quick to make him issue an apology, and so the Pandora's Box titled "Political Correctness" is open for business.
You get the picture. This sets the tone for the book. It only gets crazier and more ridiculous from here. But the scary thing is, what Ben Elton describes is so eerily true of the "modern world". Society seems to be divided into very specific boxes based on beliefs/politics/gender/sexuality, and Ben has a great time flogging each of these sacred cows.
Satire, wit and keen observations combine to give us an eerie view of the current climate, with keyboard warriors frightening politicians, public services & corporations with their own form of written vitriol. Hashtags going viral, as people increasingly display their outrage online.
"...outrage and counter-outrage. Everyone was looking for martyrs. Everyone was looking for scapegoats. No one seemed to be in any mood to compromise."
Ben Elton sure has his finger on the pulse You'll laugh, you'll groan, you'll roll your eyes at the people and situations described here. I think we've all either been or know at least one of the types described here.
I don't think there are too many groups who Ben has missed out on insulting/praising here, depending on which particular fence you're sitting on today. And being humans, we tend to be a bit fickle, and are keen to jump to greener pastures as needed.
This is brash, sharp writing. Swear words abound, so look away if you're easily offended. The short snappy chapters keep the story flowing well, and the chapters are titled - love it! More books should have them.
Highly recommended! Nothing like a bit of satire to shake the cobwebs off.
When Senior Detective Michael Matlock says that a woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was killed, he doesn’t realise the social blunder that he has committed and the ramifications that will result. Few authors do satire as well as Ben Elton and this seems to be his vent on everything that is absurd and simply wrong in our modern social media, PC correct world. Elton has his finger firmly on the zeitgeist of the times as he has his dig at Harvey Weinstein, interfering in political elections from foreign powers, political correctness, ultra-feminism, social media, immigration, fake news, Brexit. Almost instantaneously after the press conference his social faux pas is trending number one on twitter. Suddenly he gets a call from the Mayor demanding that he make either an apology or resign. At its heart, the novel is a murder mystery and people are turning up dead with a blow to the back of the head with a blunt object, probably a hammer, seeming to be the only thing they have in common. However, that is all the evidence the police have. After each murder, twitter seems to go into meltdown, with hashtags flying think and fast. But who is starting these hashtags and where do they originate from? As the novel progresses, the bodies pile up and the narrative builds to a climactic ending. Elton does a wonderful, hilarious job, of describing Matlock trying to conduct multiple murder investigations as he tiptoes his way through the minefield of a politically correct world gone mad. If you are an Elton fan than you are in for a treat as his razor-sharp wit has lost none of its edge. 4 Stars!
Well we were both very much in agreement with this one, with both of us giving it 4 stars, which gives it a combined total of 8 out of 10.
I must thank Nat for recommending this as I have always loved Ben Elton but have not read much of his work. If you are looking for other books of his and wondering where to start Nat, who I think has read just about all of his work recommends - DEAD FAMOUS, CHART THROB, HIGH SOCIETY, but that's just off the top of her head.
As soon as I get the time I will be getting into these myself.