I saw Hugh Laurie’s book about 3 years ago in a European airport and was immediately intrigued. I’m a current fan of House, M.D., but first grew to love Hugh Laurie in high school when my dad would bring DVDs home from the library of Laurie and Stephen Fry in Jeeves and Wooster. And anyone that’s seen me in my most hysterical moods knows that I stop breathing from laughing so much at this.
So for some reason it took my dad sneaking his copy of the book in amongst my stuff when I moved last month for me to actually sit down and read The Gun Seller. In a nutshell, the main character, Tom Lang, is an ex-Army officer who is offered the job of assassinating an American businessman. Instead of accepting the money, he tries to warn the intended victim—and finds himself in the midst of an international minefield of terrorists, WMDs, and beautiful women.
Starting the book, I found it to be exactly what you would expect of a combination of Laurie and the above plot. The first-person narration is so constantly tongue-in-cheek that it would’ve gotten old had the plotline not been a bit violent and action-packed. However, I suspect that my admiration for Laurie as an actor and comedian made me more tolerant of his writing.
Toward the end, though, I definitely found my enthusiasm waning, namely because the plot just got so darn confusing. The double-crossers are double-crossing, Tom Lang is under cover as an undercover agent, a beautiful women is a victim but also might be an instigator…? I was confused. And still am.
Literally, the ending of this book (in simple terms) is a big explosion, and a bunch of bad people die. The problem was, by that point I wasn’t even sure who the bad people were. It’s unsettling to finish a book and not know who is dead and who is alive. And it makes me feel stupid.
So. I find myself forced to accept that while I do still love Hugh Laurie and may laugh/cry myself to sleep watching “Mystery” tonight, spy novels are really just not my thing.