Red Champagne (The Fast and The Furies: Suspense Book 4) Kindle Edition
"The Hangman" by Mary Burton
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Top Customer Reviews
I first discovered MacRath's talent in another train ride story called NOBILITY and got hooked on his style of prose. In RED CHAMPAGNE the author describes a clever crook who is riding a posh train on December 24, 1938. There is a safe onboard, but this safe cracker has retired--or has he? The detailed description of the old train takes the reader back in time to another century filled with genteel trimmings--and that is part of the magic in this nostalgic story. Like unwinding a large ball of string, the author gives us glimpses of the main characters back stories, then twists time into beautiful knots that reveal the truth of what happened on that train. MacRath packs a lifetime into a fast and furies tale, so grab this one and enjoy the wild ride.
By Neil Sydenham "dennishamley"
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This review is from: Red Champagne (The Fast and The Furies Book 4) (Kindle Edition)
Another 5-star review for Red Champagne and well-merited. The notion of the Journey has always been a potent image for writers. The traveller is suspended between two worlds. Nothing is quite as it seems. The feelings of regret for the past and hope coupled with fear for the future which journeys entail are microcosms of life itself and fertile field for the imagination. And most literary journeys, at least since the early nineteenth century, have been made on trains. It's no surprise, then, that this short novel has at its pulsating heart one of the most iconic trains of the great age of the railway, the Twentieth Century Limited, hauled by its classic locomotive, the awesome Hudson 4-6-4. As a result, the novel exudes the febrile atmosphere of the USA between the two word wars, the art deco coaches, the sinister shadows behind the bright display and this is a story to fit it..
That this journey should present a sudden, terrible, intransigent and seemingly insoluble moral choice to one character is almost inevitable. Jimmy Fields, 'Gentleman Jimmy', reformed cat burglar, has the choice of revealing himself to Inspector Reed, his nemesis, or being responsible for two agonising and needless deaths. Jimmy is with his fiancee Claire, herself, as a playwright, involved in an intense life with untrustworthy foundations. Thus is set in motion a strange dance between the characters, ranging over years and times, always implied yet somehow never confusing, an object lesson in the supremely difficult task of how to handle an almost surrealist plot such as this. And it leads us to a satisfying, heartening conclusion which some times seems unattainable and yet, when it finally transpires, is seen to have been almost inevitable even though it still surprises us. There's no hint of cliche or indulgence in it and I ended my reading moved, impressed and satisfied.
The truth is that all these (and other) effects are woven together with such skill and élan that we just sit back and enjoy the spectacle as we hurtle with the characters through the night of Xmas Eve 1938. the author sustains the narrative’s pace with deceptive ease, teases us with repeated snippets of events which fold us into the time shifts without disorientation, and even, despite the seeming impossibilities of achieving a satisfactory resolution, comes up with a happy ending.
On top of all this, there’s also the obvious delight he takes in using language and making his words work hard for the effects he seeks. There are the “boarded windows of bored–dead enterprises” which are both “a misty presence to the eye” and “musty presents to the fog, as happily haunted as holes in the hills." It’s a deliberate manipulation of language which both contributes to the text’s impact and offers the additional pleasure of purely linguistic effects and allusions. After a throwaway mention of Byron, for example, a conversation contains the exchange and comment:
"And bad and dangerous."
To know what she'd done and to see her like this […] was more than Claire could suffer.
The positioning of that “To know” brings a smile that has little to do with the story and lots to do with just the joy and power of words.
I note that the book’s garnered plenty of 5 star reviews. That’s no surprise at all – it’s from the pen/keyboard of a real writer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Former safe cracker Jimmy Fields, stuck in a time loop, is forced to relive the fateful night...Read more
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