Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe


Thirteen: Sebastian Beaumont, July 25—31 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

ThirteenStephen Bardot is a taxi driver who works nights. He regularly picks up a woman he dubs “Valerie” from her address at 13 Wish Road in Brighton and observes her dying of cancer. When she stops calling, he fears the worst and asks the switch if she’s called recently. He is told that there is no 13 Wish Road.

Thirteen is not a number. It is a state of mind.

From here, we join Stephen on the most remarkable journey as he sees to discover the truth behind “Valerie” and the disappearing address. What unfolds is a foray into an extra dimension of existence, or madness.

The intense atmosphere never lets up. Beaumont sucks you in. He slowly unravels the mystery a layer at a time, building steadily from Stephen’s piqued interest to the point of utter obsession. Each reveal, each deeper delve into this world, is incremental and wonderfully paced.

We meet four main characters from Thirteen: Valerie; The Nurse/Helena who attends her; Seymour, Helena’s brother; and Phoenix, the devastatingly beautiful girl that crosses his path. Each have a real gravitas so that whenever they are around, each line seems crucial and every scene is important.

Alongside the main story, Stephen shares some antidotes of his taxiing career which the introduction tells us are Beaumont’s true experiences. Occasionally they pop up at annoying times, but they are often poignant and interesting. Before each chapter is a brief snippet of what SB (both Bardot and Beaumont it seems) heard in the back of his cab. These throwaway gems from the commuting public provide some great comic relief.

As the plot progresses towards its climax, there are some genuine shocks that take you by complete surprise. The conclusion is mostly satisfying, answering many of the big questions at least partially but still maintaining an air of enigma. There are some things I would have liked more concrete answers to, but the spirit rather than the detail of Thirteen is more or less explained.

A fascinating journey into one man’s mind or madness, or neither or both, that never drops the ball for a second.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on July 31, 2014 by in 4 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare