‘This first novel is a thrilling, hypnotic and thought provoking production’
‘a real page turner ’
‘fast-paced political novel is its ability to straddle and connect the three very different worlds of Northern Irish sectarianism, the fall of the Soviet Union and the oil industry in Aberdeen’
‘The dialogue, like the story, crackles and sparkles’
‘This is a very unusual book’
Fit Like Mikhail?
This first novel is a thrilling, hypnotic and thought provoking production. Switching convincingly from Aberdeen to Belfast and Moscow, there is more than an undercurrent of rage against the inhumanity of the state machine (of whatever type) grinding on and protecting its perceived interests regardless of the human cost.
Sharp research, Doric vernacular, and clever plotting are turned into a work of real depth by the quality of the writing and the sense of place. Characters are multi-layered, and identities are adopted, inherited and exploited to add a dark existential sense to what is much, much more than a ‘run of the mill’ thriller. Who do we trust? Where are our sympathies best applied in a post cold war landscape of change and uncertainty? Alex Chisholm poses some unsettling questions and challenges the preconceptions of the liberal reader. Great stuff, let’s hope there is more to come from this startling new writer.
A fine first novel – and a classy political thriller.
“Banana Pier” features a labyrinthine plot involving corruption
in politics and business, allied to the British Government’s
dirty war in Northern Ireland, and one of its’ sleeper agents in the
declining Soviet Empire of the 1990s.
It travels from Aberdeen in Scotland, via Belfast – with small diversions
in South Africa and West Germany – to the streets of Moscow and Leningrad,
with stories of arms deals, the rise of the extremist right
and gangsterism in Eastern Europe. Along the way there are a wealth of characters,
some on the edges, some pulling the strings and others in way over their
At the centre, the book’s main characters are Robert Coulthard,
described as a “hero with dirty hands” and his long-time
military handler, Roderick Bell – a twisted patriot whose entire family
is mired deep in Britain’s diplomatic and military dirty tricks.
The plot is heavy with suspicion and paranoia with enough well
researched historical and political references to satisfy
the most demanding of conspiracy theorists.
Coulthard is the key. A man of many identities, who stores secrets, stretching
from his childhood to his involvement in British intelligence
machinations in Ulster and Gorbachev’s Russia.
The dialogue, like the story, crackles and sparkles.
People die in mysterious circumstances, others are killed out of hand – all
to maintain various lies some of which, ever so slowly, begin to rise to the surface.
It really is an intriguing tale filled with great insights to people and
places in 1990′s communist Russia and well worthy of any thriller reader’s time.