Book Reviews – February 2017 – Sallie Eden

Harm by Hugh Fraser – Published by Urbane Publications, 2015

Firstly, let me declare that I’m a bit partisan; Agatha Christie is my favourite author and I think Hugh Fraser is the best, the definitive, the Captain Hastings. But if I was expecting a Poirot pastiche I was quickly proved wrong.

This is Hugh’s debut novel, the first of two in the Rina Walker series.

If there are such people, regular readers of my reviews will know I don’t like “nastiness” and there’s no denying this book has several nasty incidents (but only involving people who deserve it!), so it’s a great credit to the author that I was completely hooked. I particularly loved his writing style, with phrases like “the receptionist greets me with vacuous enthusiasm”. So true to life.

In many ways, it reminded me of The Night Manager (with, maybe, a hint of Reservoir Dogs) and there’s no doubt it would make a great film (a comment only slightly influenced by the current campaigns in Hollywood demanding an increased number of meaty roles for women).

With well-drawn characters, terrific, natural dialogue and a complex plot, if this really is Hugh’s debut as a writer we must hope he enjoyed the process and that he has more books in the pipeline. Drugs, alcohol, murder and every other crime you can think of (and several you’d rather not) combine to produce a really terrific story.

Contains adult themes and violence 

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