Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Genre: Crime / Humor
Approximate word count:70 -80,000 words
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Rob Johnson worked as an administrator and publicist for touring theatre companies before turning his hand to writing plays. Then the author undertook a series of jobs. He now lives in Greece. Lifting the Lid is the author’s debut novel.
You can learn more about the author at his website.
Trevor is a dull man, the one unusual fact about him – his wife disappeared one day and never returned, presumed dead. Sandra is a PI, on a nice little earner to carry out a simple job. But a broken toilet lid throws the whole process into utter chaos. Soon Trevor and Sandra are embroiled in an escalating case of mistaken identity and farce, chased by the police, the secret service and criminals.
This is a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s an enjoyable romp, full of largely incompetent characters who lurch from one mishap to another, that steadily improves from beginning to end.
What starts out as a simple mistake, Trevor breaking a toilet in the hotel he’s staying in, spirals out of control. He attempts to avoid paying the bill for the toilet by taking someone else’s, but discovers some hidden paperwork, and decides to follow it up. Almost immediately Trevor is in over his head.
The author quite neatly escalates the story as it proceeds, adding several layers of complexity and characters, widening the conspiracy, making the end result much more interesting than it initially seems.
The characters are well drawn. Sandra is tough and resilient, Trevor is a bit useless, but surprisingly stays the course. The various police officers and secret service agents are arrogant and incompetent, the criminals sleazy and blunt. There’s a strong sense of humour throughout.
I guess my only complaint would be regarding Trevor’s missing, presumed dead wife, Imelda. The way this is resolved at the end seemed a little… pointless. However, that’s minor and my own personal opinion. A nicely told story.
A few swear words.