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Graham Hamer

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by Graham Hamer   

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Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  0595153658 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan 1 2001

Barnes &

How far can one man be pushed before he pushes back? What's the limit? And what happens when that man reaches the limit? How Ian Gidman deals with the struggle and his entwined family relationships creates a sometimes moving, sometimes funny, sometimes thought-provoking novel. The ending comes as a surprise to all who have read PAPERCHASE.

Who said ‘Suicide is painless’?
Are there any other options when you’re going to die anyway; when your life has been blitzed, pulverized and steamrollered into meaningless chaos? Ask Ian Gidman; it’s his life, and his death.
Was the view from the solicitor’s garden worth it? Only his wife knows.
Was the skullduggery worth the gain? His business partner can tell you – or can he? Maybe you should ask Ron Scott or his perfidious niece – the one who always aims below the belt.
Is his life worth fighting for? Ian thinks not; Claire disagrees.
In a paper chase you might never catch up
Let me tell you what’s caught my attention here, shall I?
I always carry three lists. First one is dead-certs, if you’ll excuse the pun – the old, the terminally ill. It’s a complete no-brainer – they’re going to croak, end of story. Score one, Mister Death.
That’s me, by the way. Or should I say, that’s me and several thousand others like me who work for Death Inc. We’re the collectors – the guys out on the road – the ones who catalogue events. We don’t influence events, you understand, we just catalogue them. Even the guys in head office don’t influence events - they merely update our lists using a combination of instinct and soothsaying and, of course, they read tea leaves – or at least that’s their excuse for sitting drinking tea all day long. I suppose if I keep my nose clean and do my job efficiently, I’ll eventually get promoted to a head office job a few thousand years from now. Meanwhile, I just hover about doing my black cloak, long beard and swinging scythe act every time one of my names is up for collection.
Now don’t go getting the idea you’re in for some supernatural turn of events here. There’s nothing about life or death that’s supernatural. You live, you die, that’s it. There’s no ghosts or ghouls or shrieking phantoms; no witches or werewolves or blood-sucking vampires – there’s just living or dying. And if you were able to see me, you’d notice just an ordinary guy in casual clothes checking something off a list. Come to think of it, you probably have seen me, or one of my associates, in the street sometime. But you wouldn’t have recognised us – blending into the background is what we’re good at.
Anyway, let me tell you about the lists. Like I said, the first one covers the priority cases – walking dead we call them, though lots of them are long past even walking. Second list is probables – drug addicts, suicides, mercenaries, dormant tumours – anything like that. What the insurance companies would classify as a bad risk - fair likelihood that they’re in the bag, but no way to cross them off until time or their own lifestyles carry them over our threshold. Sometimes they manage to back off and I have to wait a while longer, sometimes they get it over with quickly and I can move on. I’ve no particular preference either way – everyone joins Death Inc. in the end....

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Reader Reviews for "Paperchase"

Reviewed by 7/20/2001
Graham, you book is something I have been looking for, for some research I am doing.

I think your book is just what I need as it is on the subject of interest I wish to study.

I look forward to reading your book...
On my way to Amazon...
Reviewed by Gigi Phillips 5/18/2001
I was just recently able to pry this first masterpiece (I expect Mr. Hamer to follow with others)from my boyfriend's hands. Already, I am caught up in this magically woven tale.

The concept is fresh and appealing and all of the elements are in place. With every twist and turn, I think I know where this book is leading...but do I? I hardly think so.

I can't wait to finish!

I expect to be hearing much more about Graham Hamer in the years to come.
Reviewed by Barry Firth 5/11/2001
Excellent stuff. Graham Hamer's portrayal of one man's struggle against a more powerful adversary left me hanging as each page turned. In a carefully woven plot of intrigue, the author has you trying to puzzle out what's going on (and never succeeding) and he touches some tender underbellies too, dealing with high emotions and delicate love. Paperchase is a GREAT book. Not surprisingly, it seems to be doing well.
Reviewed by Peter Kneale 5/6/2001
I wrote this review for Amazon but, having just been introduced to AuthorsDen, I would like to confirm my opinion of this book, so my review is repeated here...

I bought Paperchase because I read that the story was set on the Isle of Man, and I happen to be a Manxman (living and working in The States). To be honest, I didn't really expect too much, but I came away pleasantly surprised. There aren't many books that I really relate to but this was certainly one of them. As self-centered and gullible as the main character really is, you can't help but identify with him. There's a part of Ian Gidman in all of us, and that's what makes this book so entertaining. Ian's approach to his own relationships are the most intriguing part of the book for me. Simultaneously cynical and methodical, yet immature and innocent. Graham Hamer presents a fine portrayal of this difficult character. Maybe he IS this character.

Paperchase is an eccentric but very compelling book with plenty of heart, humor, and enough wisdom not to take itself too seriously. At the same time it is wickedly funny, dead brutal, and absolutely unpredictable in its twists. It is one of those rare books that can be equally enjoyed by both sexes. The characters are compellingly real, and the dialogue crackles with life. Not only couldn't I put it down, but I inflicted it on my friends as well.
Reviewed by Carol Tierce 5/3/2001
It was a really fun read. The characters were full, the
story had life and energy and the writing was decent.
What struck me was that Paperchase would make a heck of a
good film. As I read it, I sort of visualized Hugh Grant as
Ian and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Sandy. John Cleese would
make a GREAT Richard Tweedle and Rowan Atkinson (of Mr
Bean fame) the nasty little accountant, Ron Scott. As for
Claire? Not sure. She's loveable dependable and independent.
Melanie Griffith perhaps (add a slight French accent).

Graham Hamer's scene-setting is concise and visual. As you
read Paperchase, you KNOW you're there. It transports you
right into the hills of his main character's island home
and to the boulevards of Paris. When Ian Gidman goes on the
run (can't say too much more in case I spoil the plot),
there is only one sentence that describes how he looks
afterwards, yet you've been on the run with him. You KNOW
where he's been and what he's been doing. This is clever

The plot is wholly believable and the story threads pull
together slowly, sneaking up on you before you realize
their relevance. You're in the heads of the main characters
right from the first pages. You urge them on, wishing them
well, and agonizing with them when things don't always work
out. Paperchase is one of the better novels on my bookshelf
and I'm not about to lend it to anyone. I doubt I would get
it back.
Reviewed by Celia Corris 5/2/2001
Paperchase is a provocative novel with an interesting premise. It's by far the most absorbing book I've read in a long while. I kept pacing myself trying to make it last but found myself in the "just one more page" syndrome again and again, as I rushed to piece the puzzle together. The characters are multi-dimensional and you quickly get right into their heads, especially the protagonist, Ian Gidman. There were moments of drama, moments of high suspense, tear-jerking moments, moments of tenderness, moments of laughter and, most of all, moments when you thought you'd got it all puzzled out and found that you hadn't, because Graham Hamer's tight control of the various threads leaves the reader guessing through most of the book how and when these diverse worlds will collide. (I admit now that I never did get it all worked out. It really was only the final chapter when everything came together and the unknown became the obvious). The plot was fast-moving, with some clever quips and some excellent social observations... somewhere between the cynical sense of humor and acerbic dry wit of Robert B. Parker and the gloriously in-depth characterizations of James Patterson when he's in top form. Even with a two-week delivery, this book was well worth waiting for.
Reviewed by Mandy Harris 4/26/2001
The narrative is excellent with gentle humour, dark hatred, deep tenderness and mind-boggling greed all combined. Despite it being a tale of oppression against one man, I found myself more inclined to laugh than to cry, and to fall in love instead of into a depression. The author has delivered gripping suspense, deep mystery, and high drama - all in one story. You can't read past the first chapter without getting hooked, and you can't put it down till you get to the last page.

While some of the characters aren't likable they aren't totally unlikable either (except, maybe, one) and the reader's interest is held with the interactions between them. Some books are filled with action and sudden (sometimes illogical) plot twists, this book is much more subtle and always leaves open many possible plot paths to hold your interest. The various strings only come together right at the end and, unless you buy it, you'll never know. SO BUY IT !

Reviewed by Colin Larson 4/25/2001
When an English friend recommended that I buy Paperchase, she told me it was by a British author and I was a bit hesitant because I thought the writing style might distract me from the story. But I owe her an apology for jumping to conclusions, and I thank her for pointing me to a great book. I can tell by some of the slang that it wasn't written by an American, but that's fine because it adds interest and fits well with the story which is based mostly in Europe. The plot is tight and well thought out and the characters are very, very believable. In fact I even found myself associating some of the characters in the book with people I know. Like the rest of the reviewers, I've got to admit to being totally unable to work it all out until the final pages. Graham Hamer leads you on a merry dance with lots of different threads that include plenty of clues (if you know where to look) and a few false trails (if you're not careful). Unusually, I skimmed through this book a second time (I don't usually read books twice) because I couldn't believe I'd be so blind to the obvious. I found that all the supporting facts were well mentioned in the text and that 'he who seeks shall find'. Yet, despite its ability to mystify and surprise, Paperchase is essentially a story of human conflict (one man versus his antagonist) and much more. Among the tangled web of intrigue that the author spins so skillfully, it's also a story of love and devotion, of trust and deceit, of greed and cunning. I can recommend Paperchase to anyone who is looking for something more than the usual tired genre plot, and I'm looking forward to this author's next book.

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