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||Jul 1, 2012
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Disgraced don, failed crime-fiction writer, plagiarist, and part-time PI Jake Flintlock is appointed to investigate a murder linked with his former university alongside his sidekick Bum Park. Progress on the case is slow due to domestic distractions deflecting Jake’s attention, even though some clues are found. Matters precipitate when he is kidnapped by the murderer and spirited away to an ancient castle in Swabia, where the force of the initial crime fades into insignificance in comparison with the wider plot conceived within its walls.
The main action takes place in Primrose Hill (North West London) and South West Germany.
“No lights, Jake,” I muttered as I peered into the gloom. Never mind how hard it was going to be for a computer illiterate Flintlock to investigate a top-secret laboratory in the dark, I couldn’t take any chances.
“And don’t touch anything.” I told myself, groping my way along the bench that sported the pickled-toad jar.
Ever since setting fire to the chemistry lab at school while trying to make potassium nitrate and then also being banished from the physics and biology labs--for minor infractions with iron filings and an electromagnet in the former case, and an exoskeleton I happened to stand on in the latter--such places had filled me with angst. As had science itself, about which I had learnt practically nothing what with the bans and being advised by teachers it would be safer for all concerned if I concentrated on bullshitting about books instead.
Carefully removing my hand from the bench, therefore, I tippy-toed further into the room.
Until I saw a little, dim, green light flickering.
Where was that coming from?
A computer as it turned out, one some careless scientist must have forgotten to turn off.
“Well, well, well,” I said, sitting on the leather swivel and peering at the screen. Not that the peering did me much good. The screen would remain blank and blinking for maybe ten seconds, then a series of Einstein-type equations would scroll across it for thirty seconds, after which it would go back to blank and blinking, a process that repeated itself apparently ad infinitum. Different, and much longer, equations each time but fat chance I could understand any of them. What we were talking about here was a person who had only the vaguest idea of what E=mc2 meant.
Meanwhile Knut’s wrist watch ticked down the minutes. I had maybe six left.
“Fuck,” I said, knowing I needed to ask the computer the questions to which I needed answers but not knowing how.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck,” I said.
You know how it is when you try opening a cellophane-wrapped package with the little, red, easy-opener strip. How you tear at it, then start biting at it, which doesn’t work either, only signals expensive dentistry--and still you don’t think of scissors. How you then resort to the hammer and chisel that presage a visit to the A&E and still the package laughs back at you, which makes you madder than hell so you hurl it at a wall and, when it bounces back, jump up and down on it until it finally bursts open and spills its contents all over the floor meaning you can’t use them anyway.
Well, multiply that frustration by a factor of n and you’ll gain marginal insight into the sort of trauma I was experiencing as Knut’s Mühle Glashütte Zeitmeister ticked down the minutes telling me I needed to be out of there pronto or else face detection issues which could exponentially reduce my lifespan.
“ C’mon, gimme a break here!” I was saying, as a Flintlock forefinger jabbed willy-nilly at the computer’s keyboard which caused the screen to light up and then, as my eyes widened, to provide me with a Google-type box which asked me if I was feeling lucky.
Sharp intake of Flintlock breath.
On the other hand, I wasn’t entirely surprised. The same thing had happened on a number of occasions when writing my failed crime fiction on the iMac. Hitting the wrong combination of command keys I’d been presented with screen after screen asking me if I really wanted to continue writing plotless crap or would I prefer--which the iMac highly recommended--to seek advice from people who knew how to write crime fiction? In which case all I had to do was check the HELP subscreen for options. Embarrassing? Of course it was. On every occasion the message appeared, I’d clicked it right off--well, apart from the time I relented and was introduced to Hyram X. Zuggenheimer IV Jnr.
But no clicking off this time. No siree. Not when serendipity was playing into my hands for once.
And so it was that, going for the rollover jackpot answer to all my questions, I typed DOCTOR BUM PARK into the search box and within the next five seconds received the information that would shake me to my boots--okay, Knut’s boots.
“Bloody hell !” I whispered as I scanned and rescanned the terse few sentences that provided me with the lowdown on not only Crispin’s interest in Bum but also the strategy that underpinned it.
“Bloody HELL,” I re-whispered, rolling back on the leather swivel’s castors and taking deep breaths before switching the computer off at the mains then yanking out the plug just to be on the safe side. Easier by a margin than trying to figure out how to quit file.
Knut’s watch told me I was one minute ahead of schedule.
Okay, Jake, ookay, now get your arse out of here and figure out how to take the bad news from Ghent to Aix...
(FURTHER EXCERPTS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, "LOOK INSIDE" FEATURE)
Reviews for "Two Down"
|Reviewed by Ronald Hull
|Paddy Bostock's novel, Two Down, is a farce de force of crime fiction. Dr. Bostock shows off his considerable literary ability in this Sherlock Holmes cum 007 mystery that comes on like Crash set in the center of London rather than Los Angeles. Paddy's antihero, Dr. Jake Flintlock, is a fired professor, failed novelist, paparazzi PI with a considerable English heritage manufactured by his uncle that serves as a source of his brash behavior leading to solving serious murders and saving the world. Paddy is a master at character development and leaves no part of Jakie's (his beautiful Italian international banker wife, Claudia's moniker for Flintlock) character unrevealed as Jake drinks and bumbles his way through solving masterful intrigue and twists of fate with impeccable fuzzy logic.
Bostock richly embellishes the action with flourishes of French, Italian, German and Spanish, and numerous dialects from Australia to the American ghetto, with references to literature and history abundant, a sense of psychology of a modern-day Freud, and with a vast knowledge of food and drink reminiscent of Playboy Afterhours. With his trusty companion, Binky, a highly communicative hound, Ph.D. PI Jake Flintlock maneuvers traffic bound London on his trusty bicycle, Holdsworth, and relies on his partner, Bum Park, a Korean-black American, to round out the sleuthing skills of his loosely-managed investigative team. Hot on a clue, clueless Flintlock ends up on the Continent in a castle with a whole new set of neo Nazi circumstances to overcome that gets even more convoluted back home on the Thames, not to mention, the Vatican.
Paddy's way with plot rivals his way with words as it thickens and morphs into levels and twists like a collage of crime novels tightly wrapped up in a nice little package and conclusion that will satisfy even the most voracious of crime novel aficionados. I highly recommend Two Down to anyone who loves a good plot, great characters, and good humor throughout. There is something in this novel for everyone––Paddy Bostock sees to that. Now go out and read it. You won't be disappointed. Jolly good, old chap.
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