If you read an earlier entry on my blog then you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Douglas Lindsay – I’ve read lots of his books but there are quite a few that I’ve not read yet and this is either down to the fact that I’m treating them like a fine wine, savouring each one and taking my time over them or that I’m too lazy to read them.*
Anyway I finally read his book Lost in Juarez this week and devoured it, it was gone in two settings and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At times is reminded me of the atmosphere created by works such as Defence of the Realm, Edge of Darkness and A Very British Coup, seminal works of the 80s that portrayed a Britain at the beck and call of its security services, the Establishment and our old friends the United States.
Lake Weston is a children’s writer who has the second most successful series of books after the Harry Potter works. He is rich, shags women left right and centre and hates the series that he has created. The other books he writes get refused by his publisher and when the next book in his series gets rejected due to Government pressure he decides to write Axis of Evil, an Animal Farm for the 21st century. His publisher helps him get it published by a revolutionary that he met whilst researching Axis of Evil, it becomes a media storm and that’s when the shit hits the fan.
Three people know who wrote the book, Lake Weston, his mainstream publisher and the publisher of Axis of Evil and the Government take their wrath out on all three in ways which might have seemed preposterous before 9/11 but which in the light of extraordinary rendition and the disclosure of secret prisons on overseas British territories seem all too real nowadays.
Lost in Juarez is a short, punchy read and there are aspects of the main character that show up in other Lindsay works (e.g. Bob Dylan adulation and shagging a plenty) but it doesn’t matter, it’s a satire of the British political environment that still works some six years after it was first published and in the light of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill that’s getting Royal Assent on the day that I’m typing this, I’d argue that it’s more relevant than ever.
* I would say that the truth is somewhere inbetween the two