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Thursday, 4 June 2015

'Behind The Text’ 18 ’Californian Nightmare’

Behind The Text’ Part 18_’Californian Nightmare’

Crossing The Pond


Californian Nightmare’ was published in 2011 and is the 14th chronological book  in the 'Jonas Forbes Saga'. The plot focuses on the threatened assassination of a would-be Presidential contender in 1968 but it really deals with the export of a battle between Jonas Forbes and the Carter gang which starts in London. It is very much a tale of individuals proving themselves – or not, as the case might be.

This thriller has its quota of twists and turns – for example, an apparently key character appears, grabs a central role and then suddenly is removed. Honestly, Reader, I didn’t plan it that way. In this case a product of Private Education & Whitehall was becoming too much of a challenge for Jonas – so he had to go. Occasionally characters just seem to take over. One, more familiar from the cinema screen, drops in with clear intention of running the story-line but is quickly dispatched to the side-lines. Remember I really write to entertain myself and, like many readers, I might ask, ‘Why doesn’t the author.....?’ So I do.
Of equal importance to Jonas, as the hunter, is his quarry, Lennie Denton, the assassin. For once, he  gets the lady and Jonas is left to play ‘catch-up’. Lennie has a tough time making his mark among his American employers but wins through, especially with Mandy Faber. Without him back home, the Carter gang, after the demise of ‘Crazy’ Charlie appear simply waiting for the Law to lock them away.
There’s the usual doyen of the bureaucratic class, in the form of Sir Charles Beardsley-Simpson, to  resent the employment of Jonas Forbes with VIRTUALLY all the venom of the late Sir Jeremy Smith. However, the surprise packages are the meteoric involvement of Steven Bradford-White  and, even more, the crucial activity of a humble secretary. Whitehall, for once, is not peopled by ineffective spectators as in previous books.
In the end, although this appears to have been the mixture much as before, but with a transatlantic twist, there’s a drastic transformation in the ‘romantic stakes’ for the ’ brave knight’ who’s been the subject of the series. This change WAS planned as Simon Holmes had certainly become simply an awkward bystander – but was he ever anything else? So the question remains, how will the ‘fair lady’ respond’? Watch this space.

Next, from the ridiculous to the sublime, searching for a needle in a haystack of civil war.

Bob Hyslop

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