Hugh Laurie concocts an uproarious cocktail of comic zingers and over-the-top action in this "ripping spoof of the spy genre" (Vanity Fair) -- the irresistible tale of a former Scots Guard-turned-hired gun, a freelance soldier of fortune who also happens to be one heck of a nice guy.
Cold-blooded murder just isn't Thomas Lang's cup of tea. Offered a bundle to assassinate an American industrialist, he opts to warn the intended victim instead -- a good deed that soon takes a bad turn. Quicker than he can down a shot of his favorite whiskey, Lang is bashing heads with a Buddha statue, matching wits with evil billionaires, and putting his life (among other things) in the hands of a bevy of femmes fatales. Up against rogue CIA agents, wannabe terrorists, and an arms dealer looking to make a high-tech killing, Lang's out to save the leggy lady he has come to love...and prevent an international bloodbath to boot....Continua
I don't own a TV set, and therefore I can safely claim not to ever have seen an episode of Dr House - so I can't really review the book in terms of Laurie's role in the series, or anything else related to his actor/singer/comedian career.
The various cover blurbs hint at "a cross between James Bond and Jeeves" - which proves, alas, to be a very honest and precise description.
In fact what they allude to is "a cross between Woodhouse's brilliant dialogue and wit coupled with the abysmal incapacity of Fleming to put together a plot which has anything even vaguely believable in it".
Laurie is very good at painting an interesting main character (a bit better than Bond, too much of a superman for this age and our present taste) and he has a really good command of language, dialogue, and never-stopping internal monologue (the whole story is told by the point of view of the main character).
He also scores some points over Fleming because he either served in the army or did a bit of research, his fights, weapons and vehicles are well described and detailed (bonus point for a good depiction of an Aikido technique, too).
The problem is that around page 70 the story is spinning out of control, or at least the author's ability to keep it believable, and I stopped caring for that well before halfpoint.
Basically, you won't believe anything that happens as soon as the plot starts thickening, you may easily lose track of the minor characters entering stage left just to give the main character to be sarcastic about them, and will just go on reading for the style itself.
Maybe, if someone helps the author plotting the whole story and edits away the multitude of minor characters, the next book (currently on hold due to the TV career) will be a keeper.
For now, you can safely skip this unless you are a die-hard House fan.
OK, yes, it is funny. At least the first couple of chapters. Entertaining as well, as the story is not too obvious. But still, it somehow lacks focus.
I really like Hugh Laurie as an actor (and especially as a comedian) and he is a really good musician, but as a novelist he falls slightly short of the mark with this book.
Initially it is clear that the story is marginal and that the focus is on the character(s). Then the focus moves heavily on the story. Although the character remains the same. It does get slightly repetitive too.
Not a "bad" book, not boring or anything, but... well, let's say that Hugh Laurie's road to become a full-fledged, recognised polymath goes through some more focused novels. That I won't miss, I'm sure.
I found The Gun Seller a brilliant read. That is, if you enjoy the sort of dry, cynical humour, and trenchant quips by the character Gregory House in the television show, House, M.D.
Though this novel pre-dates the television show by many years (1996), it is as if the central character is channelling House. The book is an action-packed thriller, with gun-fights, murders, hand-to-hand combat scenes (it is in fact quite brutal), romance, and Black Adder/House M.D. style humour.
The main character, Thomas Lang, is as deadly as James Bond, but more cunning, and far more quirky, especially in the humour department. He is slightly misanthropic (but for every good reason) and has no respect for authority, even if that authority seemingly has the power of life or death over him. In other words, he is an incorrigibly obnoxious genius with balls of steel, and special forces training.
Lang is a truly memorable creation: I have never come across this blend of sang froid and dark humour in a lead Bond-like character before. I thoroughly recommend this as a quick and absorbing read, and for all those out there who can appreciate what a celebrated British comic actor (educated at the Dragon School, Eton, and Cambridge) can accomplish with language.
Laurie has planned a sequel for years (it is even listed on Amazon!) but has admitted in recent interviews that because of the success of House M.D. and the commensurate demands on his time, he has not yet been able to pen a single word. The sequel is tentatively called, The Paper Soldier, and Laurie has said he would require at least several uninterrupted months to write it. Until House M.D. finishes, this seems very unlikely....Continua
This was a fun read with a very satisfying ending. I can't believe it was written by House, haha. It's pretty witty but the way it's written makes it a very slow read for me. There is a certain type of cadence the text seemed to need and it slowed me down, but it was still pretty good....Continua