SAVAGE LIFE by James Rogers


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A rollicking account of a summer in London endured by a varied and compelling collection of characters: a first US publication for Rogers. Fourteen-year-old Gaz wakes up thinking of his own worst enemy, Dog. Unfortunately, Dog, the brawling boyfriend of Gaz’s porn-star sister, lives with them in the same dirty flat. And since Gaz’s (agoraphobic) mother can’t leave the house, things get a mite depressing for the pimple-faced teenager, leading him into a complex life of petty crime, and sending the story forward in this offbeat corkscrew comedy. Breaking into the house of neighbor Colin Nutter, Gaz steals his camera, develops the film, and finds nudie shots of his prim wife, as well as photos of Gaz’s own long-lost father, Colin’s ostentatious boss Dorian Savage. Although Gaz tracks Dorian down at his suburban estate, a quickie reconciliation isn—t in store—his father needs to be worked on. In fact, Dorian assumes it’s all a sick practical joke from the hand of Colin, whom he immediately fires. Colin, understandably irate, puts out a hit on Dorian’s life. Dave Richardson, would-be assassin and also Dog’s boss in the burglar alarm business, has taken his own drunken yarn-pulling a bit too seriously and now feels obligated to kill Dorian, so as not to ruin his “reputation” as a gun for hire. Meanwhile, Colin can’t figure out how he lost a thousand pounds when he was out with Richardson (the down payment) and what to do about his wife, who’s become a fanatical Jehovah’s Witness set on converting him. After Dorian is killed (at the hands of Gaz, who feels an Oedipal fascination with Dorian’s young live-in? by the sabotage of Richardson?), the frenetic finale is on as Dog, Richardson, Colin, and Gaz convene in a graveyard where Richardson is burying the body parts of his landlord. Showing an adept ear for dialect and a flair for humor, Rogers romps into the discouragingly absurd world of post-Thatcher England.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-85242-384-6
Page count: 262pp
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1998