Thursday, June 25, 2015

'A Pleasure and a Calling'

While reading a book, I'm sure that many of us mentally cast the actors for the film version. We dream about the perfect Heathcliff, or the best Harry Potter (actually, the chosen actors were fantastic).

So, while I was reading Phil Hogan's new book, 'A Pleasure and a Calling', who should pop up in my mind but....Benedict Cumberbatch.  Although the character of Mr. Heming remains physically unremarkable (the way he wants it) and unnoticed, Cumberbatch is noticed and very memorable.  But he's a fine actor, a chameleon, actually, and I think he would do the part justice.

But enough about Cumberbunny, and back to this creepy story.  Yes.  Creepy.

The narrator is our antagonist, Mr. Heming, and he's quite a smooth character. He's always a step ahead of the game.  He plots and lies with great confidence.

He's also very creepy.

Mr. Heming loves the leafy English village where he lives. As a local real estate agent, he knows every square inch of the town and sees himself as its protector, diligent in enforcing its quaint charm.  Most people don't pay much attention to him; he fades easily into the background.  But Mr. Heming pays attention to them.  He has the keys to their homes; he has the keys to every home he's ever sold in town.  Over the years, he has kept them all so that he can observe his neighbors, not just on the street, but behind locked doors.

As disturbing details emerge about Mr. Heming's childhood, his disturbing hobby begins to form a clear pattern, and the reasons behind it come into focus.  But when a dead body is found in the backyard of a client's home, Mr. Heming realizes it may only be a matter of time before his secrets are found out.

I kept thinking about Patricia Highsmith's brilliant 'Ripley' series.  Just when we think the anti-hero's movements are going to be discovered, he smoothly covers his tracks.

Mr. Heming is a cool character, sure of himself, yet there are times when he's worried that some people are getting a bit too close. 

I love this book.  I couldn't put it down. Hogan's a fine writer; he kept me turning the pages, and the suspense was killing me.  

Author Phil Hogan
It's made my Summer....creepy.  And it will make your Summer creepy, too.

It just might make you dust off those 'Ripley' books and have a good reread.

But just keep your house key safe because you...never.....know.....

And don't forget to check the attic.

'A Pleasure and a Calling' by Phil Hogan is available at your local library and favorite independent book store.  ISBN: 978-1-250-06063-1

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