Good Reading : April 2015
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING APRIL 2015 44 Francis Plug: How to Be a Public Author Paul Ewen Having attended and coordinated more than a few literary events, I was keen to read what the blurb promised was a ‘hilarious, affectionate satire on the world of literature’. Francis Plug is the creation of New Zealand-born author Paul Ewen, whose debut novel, the deceptively titled London Pub Reviews, caused a minor comedy sensation when published. Francis Plug is an ‘emerging’ author and sometime gardener, and his mission is to meet a selection of Booker Prize winners to ‘study the ways of the literary event ... attending in person and documenting the smallest details in true author style’ in order to write his first book. So far, so amusing, and to be fair there are some funny moments along the way as the ‘author’ stumbles and staggers through meeting and greeting everyone from Hilary Mantel to Peter Carey, Roddy Doyle, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie to name just a few. But by the end of the book the humour was forced, and any slight charm that the ever-dishevelled and almost always tipsy Francis might have possessed had well and truly dissipated. Instead it felt as if I was witnessing the sad disintegration of a lonely and rather pathetic man. This was a fun idea that ran out of puff. There was some interesting commentary on how certain authors manage to balance writing and promotional duties, but there wasn’t enough to sustain the humour, which ended up seeming not just overdone but at times verging on disrespectful. ★★ Text $29.99 Reviewed by Maryanne Vagg Tell the Truth Katherine Howell This is the final book in the long-running ‘Ella Marconi’ ser ies by former paramedic Kather ine Howell. I’m a fan of the ser ies and was disappointed to discover that this would be the last book; I enjoyed the fresh approach of featur ing stories that unfolded in and around the lives of paramedics, who are so often meeting people for the first time on the worst day of their lives. In this final outing, paramedic Stacey Durham is missing and her car is found abandoned and covered in her blood. Stacey’s life seemed perfect, but as Ella digs further she discovers that all is not as it appears at first glance and that a web of jealousy, secrets and lies entangles those closest to the missing woman. As with every book in the ser ies, the detail and insight into the processes and procedures are brought to life in this book with the skill and precision that only someone with a first responder’s exper ience can do. Howell’s storytelling proficiency has grown and matured with each book, now enabling her not only to draw multiple threads together, but also to weave these threads into a thrilling and suspenseful read. While I will miss Ella and her mates, I am looking forward to seeing what Katherine Howell will do next. ★★★★ Macmillan $29.99 Reviewed by Maryanne Vagg GENERAL FICTION / CRIME FICTION WOM word of mouth RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR Francis Plug: How to Be a Public Author Paul Ewen HHthan a few literary events, I was keen to read what the blurb promised was a ‘hilarious, affectionate satire on the world of literature’. Francis Plug is the creation of Tell the Truth TTMarconi’ series by former paramedic Katherine Howell. I’m a fan of the series and was disappointed humour was forced, and any slight charm that ran out of puff. There was some interesting Reviewed by Maryanne Vagg About Katherine Howell Katherine Howell worked for 15 years as a paramedic while completing degrees in creative writing. Her masters thesis was on the topic of suspense, and she always rereads it before starting a new novel.