One of the pleasures of the internet is making connections with people who share your interest. Martin Phipps, a Canadian, whose path I would not otherwise have crossed, is one such: our mutual interest in Anthony Burgess led to some exchanges via Facebook and the Burgess forums, and made me keen to read his novel Rue des Mensonges. The book is published, as Martin’s others have been, through Blurb, an innovative internet company offering authors the chance to self-publish and market their work. The result is, in effect, a bespoke copy of the book delivered to your door. I liked the quality of the paper and the binding, which I’d say was better than most mass-market paperbacks these days.
So- what do we have here? It’s a short (about 130 pages) fast-paced thriller, set in locales ranging from expensive Paris penthouses to Roma encampments in rural Slovakia. It has a very contemporary feel, since the backdrop is the recent financial scandals and the global economic downturn. At the centre of events is the unpleasant crooked former financier James Moody, now enjoying his ill-gotten millions in Paris. His plan to disappear by faking his own death begins to unravel, and triggers a quickly moving succession of scenes in which Moody becomes embroiled in a maelstrom of lies, deceits and double-bluffs. What distinguishes this from your standard thriller is that the novel engages with the moral bankruptcy of modern capitalism, embodied in the figure of Moody. There are no clean-cut heroes on the street of liars – everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, is on the make. It’s gripping, vivid and thought-provoking. Great stuff, Marty!

CC BY-SA 4.0 Rue des Mensonges by Dr Rob Spence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.