Geoff Le Pard’s debut novel Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is pure solid entertainment. That’s the best word for it – entertainment. There’s no standing at the edge of the pool, wondering whether you want to get your feet wet; instead you dive right into the story and don’t come up for air until you reach the end of it. It’s an engaging tale, and deftly told, spiced generously throughout with a sense of humor that can only be described as witty. Le Pard excels at clever and unique turns of phrase that will make you laugh but also make you think.
The characterization is realistic and in-depth; the bad guys aren’t all bad, and the good guys aren’t all good. Indeed, in Harry Spittle’s world, people are rarely what they seem, which is what makes his life so darned complicated. But it’s our hero himself who is the most complex character of all. He’s the ideal kind of character for a coming-of-age novel because when we see him behaving stupidly or behaving badly, it makes sense to us; he does the same sorts of foolish things that we did when we were nineteen. And oftentimes, like us, he pays the price for his errors – but in a funnier fashion.
The story unravels in the same manner in which Harry’s life unravels, thread by thread, and string by string, so that we follow along with Harry, experiencing his consternation as he uncovers the truths behind a series of mysterious events. Indeed, it is not until the very end that the suspense is lifted, on numerous fronts, drawing the reader into a full and satisfying conclusion. The structure, too, of the novel lends itself well to maintaining reader interest – you can literally feel “the bad guys closing in” as the book progresses.
It’s a great story, and wonderfully told. It’s rollicking entertainment at its finest. I can’t wait to read more books by this author!