I was very happy to be asked to be part of the Meal of Fortune blog tour.
Failing celebrity agent Dermot Jack thinks his luck might have turned when a mysterious Russian oligarch approaches him with an irresistible proposition – help launch the pop career of the man’s beautiful daughter.
Meanwhile, Dermot’s former girlfriend Anna Preston is just as happy to be handed the chance to resurrect her own rather specialised career.
Little do they know that their paths are about to cross again – thrown together in a desperate attempt to lure the Russian, in reality a vicious arms dealer, into a highly unusual trap.
That’s going to be hard enough without having to deal with a lecherous celebrity chef, a diminutive mafia enforcer with his own agenda or one very impatient loan shark who ‘just wants his money back’. And then there’s Anna’s boss, who isn’t exactly playing it straight.
If she and Dermot are going to come out of this alive, they’ll have to learn to trust each other again, and push themselves well out of their comfort zones.
But one thing’s non negotiable. They’re absolutely not going to fall in love again. That’s never going to happen, OK?
I wasn’t at all sure what I was going to get when I agreed to be on the blog tour for this book, but I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed.
Dermot is a hapless chump caught up in something he can’t possibly deal with alone, it’s that far out of his experience. Anna is a strong and archetypal hero, but she’s suffering the glass ceiling. Koslov appears on the page like thug, but the thing he’s hiding is a brain. Bukin is an oligarch with little to recommend him – except perhaps a penchant for daytime cookery quizzes and an apparently great love for his daughter.
Meal of Fortune feels like The Avengers, the original 1960s version with Patrick Macnee. It’s full of action, adventure, a little romance, and comedy. Now don’t get me wrong, this book won’t have you laughing out loud, but it has a real tongue in cheek tone and an intelligent sense of humour that doesn’t take anything too seriously and still elevates the story.
Dermot might not be the best Steed ever, but Anna is a hell of an Emma Peel.
I have two very minor criticisms of the book. The first chapter describes an attack, and by the time the next reference is make to that attack, I’d almost forgotten about it. That said, it wouldn’t have worked if it had been put in the book in chronological order, so it’s best where it is and for someone who reads faster than I do, it won’t be a problem at all. The second point is that there are a few typos that jumped out at me, such as Belgian being used where Belgium should have been, as you can see, I am talking minor errors only. And I report these just to give full disclosure.
I have a tendency to read quite gritty crime, and this was much lighter and easier to read, a very welcome break. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I am intending to read more from this author, so I really would recommend this book. I’m giving it a four not a five because it didn’t completely dazzle me, that je ne se pas was missing. That said, am sitting here wondering if should this be a five star, definitley 4.5 then.
Phil lives in west London with his wife two children and some animals, which also like to call the house home.
He is somewhat obsessed and bemused with the public and media’s fixation with celebrities of every stripe. This forms the backdrop of his books, which also tend to feature spies, gangsters, hit men and TV chefs.
His first novel, The Meal of Fortune, was published in 2017, with a second edition following in 2021. The follow up. Tinker Tailor Soldier Chef will be published in 2022.
Phil’s main rule in life is never to let tomato ketchup touch any food that is green. This may not have any deep meaning, nor may it be the soundest of principles to live by – but it’s better than many he’s come across down the years. Best not to go there though.
Thanks to Phil and Heather Fitt for inviting me on this blog tour.