This week the heat gang popped our slippers on, took the phone off the hook and polished our spectacles as we sat back and enjoyed a spot of reading. On this week's heat bookshelf: The Mystery Of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes and and What In God's Name by Simon Rich.
Here's what we thought:
The Mystery Of Mercy Close
Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph, £18.99)
The plot: The Walsh family – a mad pack of five Irish sisters and their long-suffering parents
– are back. The four previous books all centre on a different sister, and now it’s the turn of
gobby private investigator Helen. But life has been pretty bleak for Helen, until her ex turns up offering heaps of cash to track down a missing member of Ireland’s biggest boyband. A bit like being paid to find Ronan Keating, then. Ker-ching!
What’s right with it? Helen’s always been the joke figure, breezing around in a foul mood with a witty remark. She’s still as funny and blunt, but this is Keyes’ first novel since speaking publicly about her battle with depression, so dig a little deeper and it’s one of the more personal pieces of her writing.
What’s wrong with it? It’s set against the doom and gloom of the Irish economic crisis, and the fact that everyone is skint and miserable feels a little rammed down your throat. Also, we
want more Mammy Walsh!
Verdict: Helen flips between hilarious scraps and a dark side that makes you warm to her
more than ever. And anyway, it’s got an Irish boyband in it! That’s good enough for us.
What In God's Name
Simon Rich (Serpent’s Tail, £11.99)
The plot: Stick with us here: heaven is a business and God’s bored with running things down
on Earth. It’s time for something new, so he decides to destroy the planet and open an Asian-American fusion restaurant. Horrified at his decision, two hard-working angels in the Miracles Department – Eliza (who’s sort-of responsible for the big man’s plan) and Craig – plead with God to change his mind. All they have to do now is make shy, socially inept Laura and Sam fall in love.
What’s right with it? It’s way more original, fresh and funny than the standard boy-meets-girl love story.
What’s wrong with it? The second offering from the super-funny Simon Rich really is a literary romcom… it just might not seem like one to start with.
Verdict: Properly laugh-out-loud funny and sweetly charming. You’ll be rooting for the angels to save the world. 4/5 @oliviac_heat