PAPERBACK ORIGINAL by William Rhode

PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

A Novel About Making a Novel
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KIRKUS REVIEW

British slacker in India has to become a successful author within five years if he’s to inherit a fortune.

Joshua King is a spoiled loser. Born in London, he had a privileged upbringing and expensive education, but he never made it through university. He’s spent the last few years living in India, where he has contributed a few articles to a local newspaper (Hindu Week) but has spent most of his time doing drugs and going to rave parties. He was, in fact, such a disappointment to his father (a very successful real estate developer who amassed a large fortune before dying of a Viagra overdose) that he was disinherited—almost. His father’s will stated that Joshua could receive £5 million if he was able to publish a bestselling novel (his father as one of the characters) within five years. Joshua is doubtful he can pull it off, frankly, but he has no other prospects, so decides to give it a go. Thinking that a crime thriller would have the best chance of selling big, he goes back to his editor at Hindu Week and pitches him a story about a local drug- and diamond-dealer named Baba. Assigned to investigate Baba’s activities, Joshua teams up with Yasmin Hoogland, a Dutch tourist whose English boyfriend, James Braxton, has been arrested for drug possession. Yasmin convinces Joshua that they can pull off a heist, robbing Baba of enough heroin and diamonds to buy James out of prison and leave a couple million apiece for themselves. Most normal people would hear bells going off at this point, but Joshua has as little experience of the world of crime as he does of the world of work. The scheme, if nothing else, will give him something to write about.

A bit arch, but a good start all the same: British author Rhode, now New York–based, has a sharp eye, a sharper tongue, and he knows how not to waste words.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-57322-980-6
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003