Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Six Days: Nick Page, November 4—29, 2013
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Classic Nick Page novel Six Days was treated to another whirl, and it was as excellent as I remembered it. Set in London 2050, it tells the story of Private Investigator Jave Flemming and his case – the murder of a preacher. He is joined by his electric gerbil Frid and two-nosed brother Kevving.
The most interesting aspect of Six Days is its futuristic setting. This is a UK where the capital has moved from London to Swindonoplis, rooms clean themselves, food is ordered through a delivery chute and nobody lives at ground level any more. As well as being quite hilarious (such as the effects of the Shower-O’Matic and Jave’s daily attempts to not have a tidy bedroom), there is a commentary on our reliance on technology and gizmos to get anything done.
Jave is a decent lead. He has a good mix of likeability and cynicism. He’s not very complex, but that keeps the story simple and light. My biggest issue is his love for the irritating minced oath (“bazzing” and “skagging” being the most prolific) which is irritating beyond all articulation.
Frid and Kevving are good for comic effect, though they have relatively little screen time. Chanis, Jave’s client and daughter of the murdered Abram Chones, has a few shoots of development but none of these are actually picked up and in the end she serves as a simple plot device to present the case. Stamper Hook excels as the archetypal pathetic “Social Security” policeman, accompanied by his hilarious electronic sidekicks.
The pace is spot on, and the plot is actually quite clever without being onerous or complicated. What does detract a little is the way in which Page explains the future world. After each mention of a new concept, the story breaks and there’s an aside explaining the new idea and how it came to be. These are interesting, and often amusing, but create unnatural breaks in the flow and could be assimilated better.
Six Days is a very witty, quite crafty mystery that is great fun to read. It’s an enjoyable romp into our future, with some very real and challenging themes. Definitely worth a read.