Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A Whisky in Monsterville

Tom Morton,author of this book, is, to be open and fair, the other contributor to Thrillfilter. He did not write this review

I HAVE a considerable experience of Loch Ness and environs, and although Tom Morton in A Whisky in Monsterville exaggerates the area's essential weirdness and overall eccentricity, he only does so to a certain extent. The dangerous nature of the road up the north side, he exaggerates not at all. I can personally vouch for dangerous overtaking on the way back from many a Crofters Commission hearing, at the wheel of many an unfamiliar self drive. You know the definition of a self drive? It's a car which can go places your own never could.

Hippies settled in the environs of the loch from the sixties and on. And long before that, people who would have been called drop outs, had the term been invented. Aleister Crowley was just the most famous dafty with piercing eyes.

We already met Morton's hero, Murricane in previous novel, Serpentine. He is special forces, and vastly experienced in situations involving mayhem. But good hearted, and endlessly,hoping for a quiet life. Such a life is not available, and you have to wonder if he really wants it. 

In any event it certainly isn't available to a man of principal who finds himself in a situation involving a loathsome American evangelist with creationism on his mind, a truly terrifying psycopath called,Jenks with appropriate, tidy, killing, and collecting on his, and his employer, an American billionaire, with a mind like a sewer, and a desire for some precious rare earths, which are under Loch Ness.

Not to mention a great deal of whisky, where Murricane, like the author himself, is an expert. In fact, each chapter of the book has an accompanying whisky or whiskey. As to what drinking them, chapter by chapter would be like, I can't help you to a view. Whisky, as understood today, was not invented when I quit the booze, 20 years ago.

It looks like pretty good stuff, but in my day, the whisky strap line was "Burny. Makes you drunk". Which was good enough for us, though we really preferred very treacly rum. We were, you understand, just one generation away from merchant seamen, and learned our drinking from them.

However, getting back from the highways and byways of sentimental reminisce, A Whisky in Monsterville. How does it rate. Highly, I think.

Unlike many of those who tread the best seller trail, Tom Morton is genuinely erudite, with an enviable breadth of knowledge covering music, literature, and a lot more of what makes  life worth living so all sorts of stuff crops up to lighten and enliven the narrative. To put it another way, the skeleton of the narrative is fairly standard. How could it be otherwise?

That narrative carries you professionally along. But meanwhile the book holds you in a way most in the genre don't, through well drawn characters, humour, and yes, erudition.