Not With A Whimper


Not With a Whimper: an original Cold War Thriller
Out on 13 May from Crooked Cat Publishing



Not With a Whimper is a powerful crime novel, written in a laconic Chandleresque style with a unique world-weary humour that’s as modern and edgy as in the Michael Weston narration in Burn Notice. The protagonist, Alan Christian, is an appealing blend: he’s a crumpled middle-aged chap with a rock solid integrity that makes him utterly compelling. He smokes too much. He drinks too much. He cares too much.

The plot itself is big, cinematic, as full of action and brinksmanship as you’d expect of a story from the nervous mid-1970s. Set in the twilight of Franco’s rĂ©gime, it exposes the rich and powerful, greedily waiting to see how they can enhance their fortunes when the elderly general finally expires. It develops into a fascinating portrait of a country staggering towards prosperity, while already being undermined by a corrupt establishment – all eerily presaging the current economic meltdown.

All this is set against a skilfully depicted backdrop of the dramatic landscape of southwest Spain – the tiny villages, the potholed roads, the glamorous villas, the rough bars. It is packed with flawed characters, good and bad, who crawl off the page and into your head through a series of dialogues that read like a five-star screenplay. The rhythmic exchanges are packed with sub-text and the writing is so tight, it’s positively clenched. 

A big action, thriller and a dark allegory of the human condition, especially given the name of the protagonist and his internal wranglings. The moral choices Christian faces are almost unbearable, yet you always know he’ll do the right thing.

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