Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Review from GScene Magazine

I found another review of my novel, Bokassa’s Last Apostle yesterday. It had been published on the 15th, so it was already five days old. It looks like I’m just going to have to resign myself to actively looking for reviews, rather than relying on them to send me a copy or a notification or anything like that.

The review is on the GScene Magazine website. A free distribution magazine in the Brighton area.

The reviewer is kind enough to compare my plotting with Tom Sharpe’s and, even though he says my characters have the emotional depth of Jordan (I had to google to find out that’s who ‘Katie Price’ used to be), he recognises that a lot of gay men will readily identify with emotionally shallow characters! And then he says it opens like Great Expectations and likewise is full of memorable characters. Is my characterisation being compared with that of Charles Dickens? Praise indeed! But I guess the best thing is that he ‘really (really) liked it’. My only problem now is distilling out another cover quote which will make someone browsing the shelves want to pick it up and proceed to the checkout! For what it’s worth, here’s the full text:

In this pacy and funny thriller, we follow the fortunes of Everton Jones, a mixed race boy from Dudley, as an inheritance left hidden in a bank vault by the Central African father he never knew leads him into a race against time to find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa's diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them before Bokassa's remaining followers, his "apostles" get there first.
Well this was interesting, daft and more than a little funny too, even if it’s got the emotional depth of Katie Price, but lets not open this review with a downer as I really (really) enjoyed this book.
The strongly plotted story is simple and easy, boy gets mugged, gets helped, discovers he’s got an inheritance, and then goes off with friends to find it. Sounds like Great Expectations and like that book this is full of memorable characters, wonderfully witty lines, some delightfully entertaining scenes, some hard truths and a happy ending, it’s even got some supernatural sidelines in it which are both scary and funny.
The gay protagonist gets more than he bargained for as he’s dragged into his new London life, he’s exposed to love and lust and has to grow up pretty fast and it’s the emotional exploration of the characters that I found least convincing, although I’m sure there’s a certain type of gay man who would sympathise completely with the shallowness of these men.
The gay life of London is described with a real wit and it’s nice that most of the characters are black or working class; makes a nice change. There’s some hot erotic scenes mixed in although they are strictly part of the story development, this is a novel not a one handed read. The rest of the loony plot more than makes up for this slight emotional over-sight though and as the characters get closer to the truth and the narrative tension rises there are some wonderful scenes, some laugh out loud moments and some darker ones too.
Shelton reminds me of Tom Sharp in the way that as the narrative engine gets going, and all the various plot elements get engaged with each other, it starts to pound with a fury towards a brilliantly neat ending.
Great fun, some history thrown in there too, an interesting exploration of black gay London life and the tender adventure of a young gay man on his exploration into the unforgiving London scene and the way groups of gay men come together to meld freindships.
For a first novel this is a wonderful introduction to the authors - Rod Shelton -imagination and I enjoyed every page of it and was disappointed when I’d got to the end. I’ve put it to one side for a re-reading at some point. Which is the best review I could possibly give it.
It might not be great literature, but it’s great fun and the perfect holiday read.
If you’re after a positive fun book which some delightfully mischief characters and a thumping good plot then I’d say go buy it, now. It will leave you smiling.

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and here’s the link to the original review:

Don’t forget to enter the draw for one of TEN free copies of the book! Just click on the yellow panel in the right-hand column for details. Or come along to any of the readings planned in London at Pride (6-8 July 2012). Watch this space or look at earlier posts for details. NB The e-book is now ready in e-pub format and is being converted to Kindle. It launches officially at Pride on 7 July. Come along to my readings to get a discount code and get £2 off the e-book!

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