Reading & Libraries
Published 1st October 2021
Kate, our protagonist, is employed by the dubious and pretentious Charles as an IT consultant in his online reputation management company [ORM]. Contemplating suicide following the death of her husband Luke to an incurable and hitherto undiagnosed brain tumour, she becomes determined to expose a Russian playboy along with Charles’ corrupt business associations. The threadbare plot then diverts to time travel scenarios where she is transported back to her student days in the 1990’s; it is here that she hopes to prevent the tragic death of Luke by manipulating the course of history.
This is a novel for those who enjoy scatological humour, amateur political satire and the obscuration of predictable slapstick comedy routines akin to the Laurel and Hardy era. I found it a ponderous, tedious, laborious and unimaginative read brimming with extraneous expletives.
The characters are weak and two dimensional; like the crumbling foundations upon which the disintegrating plot is based, they lack substance and credibility.
The opening chapter was initially promising with a tinge of authenticity; however, Webb’s treatment of Kate’s impending suicide appears to regress into a belittling of mental health issues. In his presentation of Charles, he makes a fickle attempt to portray the impact of childhood and adolescent bullying upon the adult personality; however, this too is swiftly ridiculed.
The only positive aspect of the novel is Kate’s perspective on nepotism and corruption; her resolve to expose the affluent in powerful positions seeking to evade justice via ORM is indeed credible and noteworthy.
Webb writes from behind the safety of his mask as a comedian resulting in a disjointed and frivolous narrative; for me this was merely an inconsequential and disappointing extended sketch.
Written by T.K.