I really enjoyed Lay’s James Cook trilogy, from the first installment which adores Cook, through to the final depiction of a man gone mad. I picked up Fletcher of the Bounty expecting a combination of the two – adoring of Christian and a depiction of an insane Bligh – needless to say my history of the events comes from various movies!
Ruth is a young girl, living with her family on her grandparent’s apple orchard in Nelson, when a terrible accident tears her family apart. Ironically it also keeps her family together, as her parents were talking divorce before the accident, but afterwards her father decides they should take their grief to Irian Jaya.
Denny Malone is the King of Manhattan North, part of an elite squad formed to deal with illegal drugs and guns coming to the gangs through the ‘iron pipeline’. He loves his job and loves his city and always does ‘the right thing’. Dennis Malone is also a corrupt drug slinger, thinking at least the money is being used for good, and that at least the drugs are being kept off his turf.
Lifting is inconclusive and ambiguous, even the title can refer to petty crime or to triumphant moments, it harkens to a time of clarity and certainty that probably never existed on an individual level, not even in youth, and definitely not in any previous era. It is a lovely read about passing of time and how every now and again that passage leaves you unmoored for a while.
What makes a great thriller great is nerve-wracking plotting, rich atmospheric settings, and complex characters – Marlborough Man has the lot – and it treats the ‘Top of the South’ as Paul Cleave has been treating Christchurch for years – describing a heightened scuzzy substrate that tourists, and most residents, will never glimpse: “In rural New Zealand, calling police out at the sound of shots fired is like calling them out for the sound of cows mooing”.
Iris is 35 and living in London in 1956, her only company her father, her cat and a workmate, Colleen. She does have a brother, but their relationship is tainted by the brother’s ambitious wife. When her father and cat both die, Iris takes Colleen’s advice and ditches her long-standing Civil Service job and heads off to take up a mysterious secretarial position in the South of France.