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The Gun Seller Paperback – October 1, 1998
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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British actor and comedian Hugh Laurie's first book is a spot-on spy spoof about hapless ex-soldier Thomas Lang, who is drawn unwittingly and unwillingly into the center of a dangerous James Bond-like plot of international terrorists, arms dealing, high-tech weapons, and CIA spooks. You may recall having seen Laurie in the English television series Jeeves and Wooster; Laurie played Bertie Wooster, the clutzy hero of the P.G. Wodehouse comic novels that originated those characters. The lineage from Wodehouse's Wooster to Laurie's Lang is clear, and, if you like Wodehouse, you'll probably love The Gun Seller.
From School Library Journal
YA. A delightful first novel by the British actor, comedian, and author of the television series "A Bit of Fry and Laurie." In this spoof (of sorts) of the spy genre, Laurie's appealing turns of phrase will grab readers from the first paragraph. Thomas Lang, formerly of the Scots Guard and currently a freelance bodyguard/man for hire, is offered an assassination job. He indignantly refuses, attempts to warn the victim, and is soon embroiled in undercover work for the British government, CIA operatives, arms dealers, and terrorists. Those who enjoy action or spy novels will be swept along in the events. Although somewhat convoluted, the plot is so punctuated with bursts of sly humor that readers won't mind a bit of confusion. The author pokes gentle, good-natured fun at the foibles and characteristics of British and Americans alike, as well as his hero, bureaucrats, terrorists, diplomats, and just about everyone else. In a tone reminiscent of Lawrence Sanders's "McNally" series (Putnam), the light, frothy humor is infectious. A quick read, with an engaging, capable hero and lots of plot twists, for YAs looking for something pleasantly different.?Carol DeAngelo, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Reading the book causes me to wonder how many of Laurie's lines on House are improvised as his narrator/character in Gun Seller speaks in the same dark, ironic, wise-cracking tone as does Dr. House. Clearly Laurie is a talented man at what he does.
The Gun Seller is what it is: a fun little romp with an engaging plot. Laurie is not England's heir to Shakespeare, so the highbrow reading public is best advised to move along. Laurie uses his platform to lampoon anyone within reach, including the story's local constabulary and American international businessmen and/or spies.
The Gun Seller moves along at a nice clip and is amusing on every page. Other reviewers have mentioned the colloquial Brit-speak as a problem. Since I am reading on Kindle the dictionary function (which I have set to the OED as default) picks up most of these and offers a clear understanding for this American reader.
I find The Gun Seller to be fun reading after a day of reading self-important textbooks for grad school assignments. If you want humor woven into a fair plot narrated by a dry wit, this book absolutely works! If you prefer meaningful character development supported by subtle clues to motivation, and narration offering fifteen shades of blue to describe the sky I would suggest this isn't the prose you are seeking.
The first half of the book really wasn't too bad. Mr Laurie went a little over the top with the "Hard Boiled" style but not so thick that made it hard to follow. I mostly cared about the protagonist and the story moved along in a bit edgy but lighthearted way. Unfortunately the second half of the book bogged down with long, drawn out scenes that weren't believable and not lighthearted. The hard-boiled dialogue seemed a little out of place with the turn to seriousness that he introduced. The protagonist I thought I knew changed into an insensitive killer that made me wonder if I knew him at all.
I half thought to give up on the story but by then I was 75% through it so decided to plod on. The ending did tie up for the most part but I found myself more relieved to have finished rather than satisfied with the conclusion. In summary I can't recommend.
Thanks for reading the review.
I'd love to see more stories with the main character, but sadly I think that's unlikely when the author is such a busy actor. Then again, now that House has ended, maybe he'll take a break from acting and write another book. Meanwhile, I think this could be made into a pretty good movie, and there's indications of this at the end of the book.
Tom Lang, the protagonist, is world weary but effective, a man whose personal integrity gets him into trouble, a relatively common man in some uncommon (but ultimately stereotypical) company. He is very much the Chandler hero on the international scene, finding a web of corruption and using his skills to disentangle it. Beyond the joking he is not very much like James Bond. As much as I hate to say it, he is what you would get if you gave Greg House two good legs, some martial arts training, and slightly softer edges with regard to women. Good book. I look forward to Laurie's next.