Two to Tango by
pbk out June 99
It is a mark of my enjoyment of Peter Guttridge's books that I demanded the chance of reviewing this one.
Peter has created the ideal hero, Nick Madrid, freelance journalist
extraordinaire. He's tall, he's gangly, he's mad keen on astanga vinyasa yoga, he's a wow with the women - well, he makes them laugh, anyway. Oh, and he's pretty sensible when it comes to getting hurt. He doesn't like it.
This story is set in South America. Nick and his friend Bridget - no, she's only a friend - are there, she to spend her redundancy money, he to write a piece about the music tour of a once-great, now working hard at being great again, rock star Otis Barnes.
But life for Madrid is never easy. First there's the knife-wielding thief in the toilet (that's page one, so I'm not giving much away), then he's kidnapped, and this is all before he gets to meet Barnes and join on the tour.
Trouble is, when he does meet Barnes, he realises Barnes is not a very nice man. It doesn't take Madrid long to figure it out: Barnes hits him. Well, Madrid had called him a rather rude name which couldn't be repeated on the internet, so it wasn't surprising, but the real trouble is, the tour has been organised to promote an anti-drug campaign. Barnes has been clean for a while - he wouldn't be getting top sales again if he was still hitting the bottle and ingesting assorted other drugs daily - but since arriving, Madrid's noticed that Barnes appears to be incapable most of the time. Except with Barnes, overindulgence with drugs and drink tends to lead to him getting into fights. Or hitting Madrid.
The pleasure with Peter Guttridge's books lies in the speed of the humour. You can read the books over again and find treats you missed the first time. The pace of the story is just right, the wise-cracks sparkle, and you can't put the book down once you've started. The hero is the sort of guy you'd want to buy a beer.
A wonderful, exciting, funny, laugh-out-loud book. It ought to be prescribed to people on therapy (you'll need to buy the book to see why . . .). For now, I'm looking foward to the next in the series.
- author of the highly acclaimed Furnshill & Puttock series)