Kerr, Philip - 'Research'
John Houston is the richest author in the world with earnings estimated at 100 million dollars each year. He is a publishing sensation and releases many block-buster fiction titles each year. There are so many that he cannot do all the writing himself instead he researches and prepares detailed outlines for each book and a team of ghost-writers actually do the hard graft of preparing each book for publication. This is a phenomena that suits all, the ghost-writers get a healthy and growing income which can support them whilst they prepare their own books and the publishers love it also as the public demand is satisfied and of course the author's income just continues to accumulate...
However, Houston gets fed up with the grind of it all, he feels the quality of his published work is lacking and he wants to stop everything and take a year off to write a a real book of literary quality. Something that will win him prizes and critical acclaim but as he employs so many people as ghost-writers and at his publishers, just focused on his present operation, then a lot will lose their shirts.
In order to save tax, Houston is domiciled in Monaco with his wife. Suddenly, Orla, his wife is discovered dead from bullet wounds in their double bed and Houston has fled the scene. Houston owns a boat and has a pilot's licence and there are many who would like to locate him. The Monaco police say if he is innocent why did he flee? Perhaps he was set up by one of his enemies? He telephones Don Irvine, his oldest friend who was also his chief ghost-writer and asks for his help and the story which could have formed the basis of a plot for one of Houston's own thrillers takes off with many twists and turns until the spectacular ending.
Philip Kerr is the author of of nine Bernie Gunther novels. IF THE DEAD RISE NOT won the 2009 CWA Ellis Peters Award for Best Historical Crime Novel. His other books include several stand-alone thrillers and a series for children. I have read two of his previous stand alone thrillers ESAU and THE SHOT and so I was familiar with the high quality of his writing and I thoroughly enjoyed and was gripped by this his latest book which was very unusual in its plot. Recommended.
Terry Halligan, England