Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book Review: 'Sold' by Blair Denholm

Australian author Blair Denholm lives in Tasmania at present but has lived and worked in New York, Moscow, Munich, Abu Dhabi in addition to Australia. He has published two books – ESCAPE FROM PASSING WINDS and now SOLD. Blair is also a translator, speaks fluent Russian (he interpreted for the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Moscow and translated for the Sochi Winter Olympics Organizing Committee) as well as a traveler and has escaped situations and detainments in life much as he writes in his new book! SOLD is the initial installment in what he plans to be an Aussie comic-Noir trilogy, featuring the hapless and incorrigible anti-hero, Gary Braswell.

Blair Denholm, in this reader’s opinion, appears to be a very bright star on the literary landscape. His language and tone for relaying his tale of crime and corruption and drug abuse and sexuality is at once raw and lyrical. On every page of this book there are both gasps of fright and guffaws of laughter as we follow one the more interesting if oddball characters who seems to be headed to become a globally appreciated anti-hero.
Blair has composed a fine synopsis – better than anyone else could write as he is involved in the milieu of the proposed trilogy – ‘The Gold Coast swelters in record temperatures, and car salesman Gary Braswell's hot under the collar. With sales at rock-bottom, and up to his neck in debt to loan shark Jocko Mackenzie, Gary's sweating on a fat commission from a mysterious Russian couple. If the loan is not repaid, there's more than Gary's kneecaps at stake - his long-suffering wife's also in peril. But Jocko demands more than repayment and has sinister plans for the hapless salesman. Gary turns his skills to real estate and is soon embroiled in the murky world of money laundering. With the federal police sniffing around and Jocko on his tail, Gary concocts an audacious scam. Success means money - lots of it. Failure means death. But can hard-drinking, cocaine-snorting Gary pull it off? Hilarious and dark, Sold is noir at its best - a whirlpool of sex, drugs, and real estate.’

Aside from being solid entertainment, SOLD has some philosophical asides that focus on many of our current obsessions. Blair keeps us guessing (as reading detectives) while he places the spotlight on the Aussie jester Gary Braswell. This is a [heck] of a fine book – and it is just an aperitif to the trilogy! Grady Harp, February 18
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.