the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Book Review; The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes


mercy-closeIt’s not that I hunt them out, or they hide in my bedside drawer or anything, but for some reason I feel compelled, nay obliged, to read Keyes everytime she pumps out a new novel. I have never tried to hide the fact that I enjoy her books and have giggled like a girl, cried like a baby, and chastised like a nun through all but one of her books to date and have even had the honor of meeting her and getting her finely scrawled chciken scratch on “Sushi for Beginners” which now resides at an ex’s….wasted….dying…unloved.

So to “Mercy Close”; pretty much all that happens in Keyes’ books is something along the lines of dimwitted and naive hot chick falling for bad-for-you boy while dealing with angst, pain, rejection and humiliation while each day dawns interspersed with Irish humour and uncomfortable moments of sexuality. Good bloody premise if you ask me…

…so imagine my surprise when this book almost dismisses each and every plot line set before over the last 15 years!

Meet Helen Walsh, a seemingly excellent Private Dick who becomes a victim of yet another Irish crisis (really? It seems Ireland exists in a permanent state of crises) and as the economy stumbles she is shunted into the dark ages as her electricity, phone, TV and eventually her mortgaged flat fall to the debt-collector and she has to move in with mum and dad. No real problem, she still has her Van Damme/Schwarzeneggar-esque cop boyfriend giving her a length on call (despite the kids and ex-wife hanging round 24-7), but if sex paid the bills, I’d be living in a cardboard box.

So when an ex turns up offering her a job, after the usual debating she does so; find the fourth member of a has-been boy band, Laddz, who are due to play reunion gigs, the epitome of any self-respecting performer. It seems he has simply ‘disappeared’ during practices no less than a week before the first concert, which, at the time, had sold barely more than Bad News had in Bad News (some of you will not what I am referring to here).

"Hang on...I think I found him..."

“Hang on…I think I found him…”

What happens over the next 30-odd chapters becomes an insight into the soft and rotting underbelly of the fame industry, exposing sex scandal, back stabbing, drugs, and public perceptions blown away. But for me it was the introspective into depression that had me gripped. As a confessed sufferer the byline became the main plot for me as Helen battled hers (and my) demons when faced with the enclosing black that comes with it. Although it overstepped with Walsh’s attempted, and failed, suicides, the first recorded conversation between her and her doctor hit a real chord explaining my exact thoughts about death…

…enough of the dark and weary, this is a pretty bloody good book to read, and other than the tame (in my standards) blow job and root between Helen and Artie there ain’t too much to class this as a real chick-lit type book.

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