Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Juggler: Sebastian Beaumont, October 25—27, 2016
My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊
The Juggler left me absolutely gutted. Beamont’s previous book, Thirteen, was so suspenseful and intriguing, filled with unanswered questions and gorgeous enigma.
The Juggler was rubbish.
Mark is handed a case of £40,000 and celebrates by leaving his wife and baby and travelling to an ambiguous place he ambiguously heard of from an ambiguous stranger in a comedy club. As you do. The self-same comedian turns out to be running a hostel there and he sticks around.
Beaumont is trying to rekindle the fire of his previous hit, but enigma and intrigue give way to a literary enema. SB of Thirteen had to deal with bizarre events disrupting his life in a way that was too compelling for him to ignore. Mark just buggers off out of his life to some inbred village on the coast of Backside and worries his clothes don’t look right.
It’s hard to feel much sympathy for a character who has basically nicked forty grand and walks out on his young family. He’s a selfish plonker who doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing and is too young for a midlife crisis. He has no particular affinity to the random location he’d shored up in, and so why would we care what all the strangeness is all about?
His half-hearted generosity towards a debt-ridden stripper falls flat when you remember he’s being generous with someone else’s money, and let’s face it: what stripper ever appeared in a book without some tragic backstory involving debts, drugs or devastation?
It’s a poor effort, made worse when it follows such a fantastic, original predecessor. Prepare to be utterly disappointed.