‘Christine Poulson’s wonderful sense of place brings Cambridge to life. Cassie overcomes the problems facing her with wit and guile aplenty and ensures the reader’s empathy from first word to last . . . an enthralling and engaging read that underlines Christine’s burgeoning reputation as a crime novelist to watch.’ [Stage Fright]


The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

For some reason I had taken it for granted that Bill Bryson wasn’t my kind of writer. (Too popular, perhaps? And to anyone who accuses me of intellectual snobbery, I have only this to say: THE DA VINCI CODE). But then I caught him reading from THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE THUNDERBOLT KID on Radio 4 and liked what I heard. Now I have read the whole thing.
The story of Bryson growing up in the fifties in Des Moines, Iowa, is not just the account of a childhood, but the portrait of a whole decade. Bryson has done his research and what he uncovers makes hair-raising reading. The ways in the Americans were developing and testing their nuclear deterrent and the extent of cold war paranoia make Kubrick’s DR STRANGELOVE, OR HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE THE BOMB look like a work of sober realism. The development of fast-food, the rapid rise of the consumer society, the doubling of the number of cars on the road in just a decade: fascinating as all this was, what I most love about the book are the parts about his family and friends. There were times when I was helpless with laughter. He refers in the acknowledgments to ‘his incomparably wonderful, infinitely sporting mother’ and so she is.
This is a work of comic genius and like most such it has darker tones that prevent it from being too sentimental or nostalgic. I truly didn’t want it to end.

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