“Sealfinger”, the first in the “Sam Applewhite” series is a one-of-a-kind smorgasbord of crime that is laugh-out-loud hilarious, totally engaging, and incredibly horrific (in a funny way).
Based in the seasonal mayhem of Skegness, Lincolnshire, Sam Applewhite, is a tough, level-headed wonder who works for a mysterious entirely-virtual company, DefCon4, that offers a number of weird services, mostly based on security or health and safety, to local businesses. From meals-on-wheels, to security checks and community service supervison , all DefCon4 services, even the outlandish, are delivered by Sam herself, with the help of reams of online documentation, her trusty phone app, (and her cactus, Doug)- directions for her priorities for the day and calendaring with detailed tracking of her actions all spelt out for her.
The characters in this book have to be experienced first-hand – oddball, endearing and strange in a way that sets up the next book in the series brilliantly.-
- Sam’s father, Martin – a retired magician known as Mr Marvelous, is indeed marvelous – adding color and quirky humor, Martin is a fascinating mix of naïveté and wry unexpected wisdom.
- Delia – Sam’s friend, a vintage clothing store owner, with creative talents that are sure to put a smile on your face.
- Sergeant Cesar Hackett – an inept and bumbling police officer, tucked away by his superiors where he can hopefully cause little damage.
- Rich – Sam’s fabulously wealthy ex-boyfriend – (is this guy for real?). (We know very little of Sam and Rich’s backstory, and I’m hopeful it’s upcoming in the series.)
Sam’s stumbling into the seedy world of local crime is unintended, before long finding herself enmeshed in a madcap world of construction fraud, murder, kidnapping, vicious felons, alligators, and an escaped ravenous seal. And not just any seal:
“If a seal was ever cast as Pablo Escobar,the Columbia drug lord, this one would be in with a good chance, with it’s humourless expression and dark mustache”.
Many of the criminal elements Sam encounters are not so much evil, as incompetent, and well, for the most part they are none too bright.
“Young, blond, beefy, with a softer heart than he’d care to let on and a brain softer than he’d care to admit.”
The violence encountered along the way is extreme – but is written in a way that feels more cartoonish than disturbing, and is actually, (horribly) quite funny in parts.
I won’t give the plot away (no spoilers here), but I guarantee this book will take you down paths you cannot foresee ( and some of them you will definitely be glad you are not actually “seeing”), and if you are like me, you will find yourself chuckling the whole way through.
My stop on the @rararesources #blogtour today for #Sealfinger by @heidegoodyandiaingrant @heidegoody @iaingrant