By Alex Cay
|Value for money||7/10|
|Did it do what it said on the box?||7/10|
Fun, but a very high body count!
This is a comedy thriller very much affecting the style of Carl Hiaasen. Hiaasen’s latest, the hilarious Bad Monkey, uses almost exactly the same Floridan and Bahamian locations, and reading this book almost immediately afterwards did feel a bit like a slightly distorted echo. It would be refreshing to see some authors writing this style of work but against less stereotypical backgrounds, and I hope Alex Cay does so with his future books.
That said, Man Up! is a good example of the genre, and well worth a read. It zips along at a good pace, with enough plot intrigue to keep the reader entertained, even if some twists are rather predictable, and is regularly punctuated with almost slapstick comedy which made me laugh out loud on several occasions.
The central character is a sports agent, and in this case was dealing with ice hockey. In Britain this is very much a minority sport, and the copious ice hockey references and terminology in the first couple of chapters put off at least one reader I know. Keep going and once the real action starts the sports context is no longer such an issue, but if the author wants the widest readership this is something to watch in the future.
I liked the writing style, and was impressed by how Alex Cay had captured the nuances of dialogue for the English characters versus the American ones very well. On a slightly more negative note he has adopted a habit of writing for emphasis One. Word. At. A. Time., which is rather off-putting, and I’d suggest trying to find a smoother alternative.
The book is populated with a range of interesting characters, but in many cases you don’t get to learn much about who they are, or how they have got to where they are, and a bit more background would work well. There are no “supermen”, and a number with very real mental limitations, but almost all the men are enormously well provided in the trouser department, which seems to destroy the good judgement of several otherwise single-minded female characters. I did like the animal characters, including two homosexual bull mastiffs and a shark nick-named Elvis!
This is a tale of stupid wealthy people, corrupt spies and incompetent hitmen, and a large helping of sex and violence more explicit than some other books in this genre is unavoidable. The high body count is actually quite comical, but be prepared for some writing which is not exactly “family friendly”.
Overall I enjoyed the book, and I look forward to reading some more of Patrick Finn’s adventures in the future.
Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to the author Alex Cay for providing a review copy of this book in Kindle format. I do most of my fiction reading when travelling, and it’s really annoying that most publishers and review commissioners, notably and inexplicably including Amazon themselves, still insist on providing review copies in hardcopy form. Thanks to Alec for doing the right thing.