What I’m reading right now: The Gunseller by Hugh Laurie

Yes, that’s right, the beloved House actor is not only English, but also an aspiring author and jazz singer. I’ve heard rather conflicting accounts of Laurie’s music (I don’t mind it, being a fan of both piano and Dick Van Dyke who Laurie sounds eerily alike), but make no mistake: The Gunseller is good, and there are no two ways about it.

Being a lover of parody and extremely dry English wit, this is not the first time I’ve fallen hard for an English author. Austen, Haddon, Rowling – I can’t get enough British humour. Laurie is especially good because he got his show biz start doing comedy sketches with Stephen Frye, and I think a lot of that humour translates to the pages of his first novel.

The novel follows former Scots Guard Thomas Lang through high-speed car chases, fist fights, and every bump and bruise as he attempts to navigate his way through a very tangled web of international conspiracy to save his girl’s life, his own neck, (and wait for it) even the world. The book delivers, and simultaneously mocks, all the wonderful conventions of the spy genre, from hostage situations to stakeouts, and undercover jobs, all the while being both thrilling and funny. It’s a wonderful spoof on the spy genre, balancing both exciting action and dry, satirical humour.

If you don’t pick up this book you’re crazy – it’s hilarious, and really, what more could you possibly want in life? But more than that, it’s exciting, fast paced – you’ll blaze through it in one weekend at the cottage – and it’s simply good. Well-written (a sometimes rare quality in spy novels) and enjoyable, you’ve got to read this one. (No but for real. I think you’ll all really like it.)

~ Julia

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