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Like most people, I was interested in this book because I’m a fan of Hugh Laurie and I was curious to see if his comic talents extended to his writing.
The Gun Seller is a spoof on the classic spy novel. The protagonist, Thomas Lang, is an ex-military man who gets himself caught up in a conspiracy of murder and espionage because he’s basically a decent guy… and there’s a beautiful girl involved, of course. I doubt that the book would appeal to those not familiar with the spy genre or who don’t appreciate the kind of British humor that’s pointed, sarcastic, and absurd all at the same time. In fact, the tone is exactly what one would expect of Hugh Laurie, famous for the hapless Bertie Wooster and the misanthropic Dr. House. It’s an insistent, over-the-top kind of humor that makes you wince rather than laugh out loud because there’s a seriousness behind it. I think that must be the point of the book, because the plot is a little vague and hard to follow, and the characters are a little too distant for likeability.
But there are some memorable lines. For example:
Because, what does it mean, to say that things aren't going well? Compared to what? You can say: compared to how things were going a couple of hours ago, or a couple of years ago. But that's not the point. If two cars are speeding towards a brick wall with no brakes, and one car hits the wall moments before the other, you can't spend those moments saying that the second car is much better off than the first.
Overall, it was an entertaining audiobook. Simon Prebble is an excellent narrator and delivers the dialogue with the right amount of restraint and dry wit. Through him, I found myself rooting for Thomas Lang. I doubt I would have enjoyed the book as much if I’d read it in print.
Title: The Gun Seller
Author: Hugh Laurie
Narrator: Simon Prebble
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 10 hrs, 41 mins
Year of Publication: 2012
I received this audiobook for review from HighBridge Company via Audiobook Jukebox.