A Pleasure & A Calling - Phil Hogan

Genre: Dark Fiction
Synopsis: You won't remember Mr Heming. He showed you round your comfortable home, suggested a sustainable financial package, negotiated a price with the owner and called you with the good news. The less good news is that, all these years later, he still has the key. That's absurd, you laugh. Of all the many hundreds of houses he has sold, why would he still have the key to mine. The answer to that is, he has the keys to them all. William Heming's every pleasure is in his leafy community. He loves and knows every inch of it, feels nurtured by it, and would defend it - perhaps not with his life but if it came to it, with yours..


Review:Oooh well this was an unusual little read! I absolutely adore the concept behind it - one of the things I wanted to be as a kid was an estate agent simply because I love poking around houses! Not *people's* houses, houses themselves - the interior design mostly and back gardens is what I like. I'm normal, I swear! But due to my (totally under control) nosiness, I can kind of relate in a (totally normal) way to the desire William Heming has to poke around into people's rooms, houses and lives to see what they're up to. He has absolutely no ill intent, which I think makes him slightly creepier - it's so abnormal to derive so much pleasure from said nosiness that even I can't fully relate and he seems quite strange. And, as the synopsis implies, he's willing to go to some pretty extreme length to protect his, er, property.

This is a well-written, well fleshed out novel which covers Heming's life from childhood (interspered as necessary with his adult life) and although Heming himself is not a LIKEABLE person... I didn't dislike him! The novel is largely quite slow paced, and I do feel that maybe the thriller-esque aspects are a tad disjointed from the mere meanderings of an odd man. Particularly towards the end, I found myself starting to skim out of disinterest and then felt very little impact in the final few pages as a character I had previously barely registered came to play a bigger part.

All the same, this book was a, ahem, pleasure to read, very unique, creative and quirky. Definitely recommended to anyone who likes more subtle, unnerving reads than outright scary. Would definitely read more by Mr. Hogan.

Rating: 4/5

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