A word that can instantly brings a smile to your lips as there is a tradition here in fiction for the reluctant hero as a main character, especially when it comes to detective and spy stories. Inspector Clouseau and Austin Powers have made a career of it, taking the courage but not the danger out of the narrative, while still giving us all of the excitement and tension. It might even be said that these kinds of creations have more courage and a better connection to the average person as they are more realistic as to how many of us might feel about being involved in such predicaments.
Lemon, the first novel by Barnaby Eaton Jones is one example of this sub genre of spy and detective fiction, it weaves and wobbles it's way through a fast paced adventure that is sure to please any fan of fiction of the James Bond variety. It's main protagonist, Spencer Tracy is the perfect bumbling English loveable loser who just so happens to find himself in both the wrong and in some cases the right places at the perfect time to keep the story flowing and give the book a sense of fun and laugh out loud humor seldom seen this side of Douglas Adams.
|Author Barnaby Eaton-Jones|
The main characters are smart, clever and although at times a bit cliché, they are supposed to be and it fits. This is one of those rare instances where cliché elements makes the book stronger then it would have been without them. For every pair of burly thugs you have seen in movies, television programmes and books a million times, there is more a wide knowing grin then a shake of the head. These are characterizations that feel familiar like a comfortable pair of slippers or your favorite old t-shirt rather then a tired washed up caricature that annoys you with it's simplicity and execution.
If the book has a fault, it is that it seems more like it was written in the style of a script for TV or an audio play then a novel, but this is easily forgotten after the first couple chapters as Spencer finds himself in deeper and deeper trouble due to a mysterious package sent to his house and a beautiful woman named Lemon. I have no desire to give too much of the plot away because I feel that the events that transpire are enough to carry you through the already mentioned style of the prose that does indeed have a few quirks to be worked out for Jones' second novel, which I hope will be as cool, funny and quirky as this one.
What I can tell you is that if you are a fan of detective and spy fiction and want to try a different “twist” on a old premise. Lemon is definitively a book you might want to put in your to read list if you can.
For an independent novel this is of the highest quality and one of the best comedic yet serious novels I have had the privilege to have read for a very long time. This book may have an improper title however, as Barnaby Eaton Jones' novel is certainly no lemon by any stretch.