Clever potshots from English bestseller Holden (Gossip Hound, 2002, etc.).
Slackmucklethwaite? Where’s that? Next door to the arse end of nowhere, but its inhabitants are a cheerful lot, especially when a posh new development of expensive homes slides into the century-old mining tunnels beneath it. Looks like a front-page story for the local newspaper, the Mercury (affectionately known as the Mockery), and Slackmucklethwaite’s own Lois Lane, Kate Clegg, whips out her pad and pencil—um, she can’t find her pad and pencil. Maybe it’s under the panting, thrusting romance titled Northern Gigolo that she’s penning in her spare time? Well, she still lives with her mum and dad and Gran in a house called Wit’s End, and she’s not going to make a name for herself as a journalist at this rate, is she? Especially not when the Mockery’s new owner, loudmouthed, porcine Peter Hardstone, kills the story. Looks like a conflict-of-interest scandal is brewing, but Kate is distracted by the godlike handsomeness and incandescent sexiness of Peter’s son Nate, who was just thrown out of Oxford for using drugs. He’s a sexy bastard, he is, but could he possibly be the man of her dreams? Oh, dear—he just happened to see her in that yellow-and-tangerine quasi-poncho-tank-top thingy her Gran knitted for her. So maybe not. Oh, who cares about all Hardstones? Kate was working at the paper only for a press credential to go to Cannes and cover the film festival anyway. Off she goes to the land of palm trees and sunshine to goggle at the stars, deal-makers, flacks, and suck-ups who flock there once a year for the next best thing to the Oscars. Holden cuts them all down to size, and our Kate finds true love at last. Along the way, Holden’s deft management of a huge cast of zany types ensures that the breakneck pace never flags.
Gleeful jumble of Brit-style slapstick, puns, and sly wit. Quite a treat.