|Bryant & May - The Burning Man (Bryant & May 12) by Christopher Fowler|
The series was sold to me as an incredibly popular crime series, focusing around the brilliant and unusual pairing of John May and Arthur Bryant, aging London detectives with a lot of fight left in them. The books are brilliantly funny and warm, while retaining the grit of the murky London underbelly in which the crimes are set.
Having read the Burning Man, I can confirm that I'll be keeping an eye out for the preceding books in the series. Unlike other crime series', I didn't seem to be disadvantaged by my lack of knowledge of the earlier cases.
I found both Bryant and May likeable characters; despite Arthur Bryant's cantankerous attitude and the cracks appearing in his demeanour as his health deteriorates.
In The Burning Man, descriptions of riots in London conjured up familiar images from those the city faced a few years ago. Following a banking scandal, the city is seeing violent protests and things continue to get out of control until a homeless man is found, burned to death. Enter the Peculiar Crimes Unit to look into the death, as more begin to follow.
With the circumstances of each death looking more and more odd, the detectives and their team are struggling to find any link between the victims and they know time is running out for the next one.
Frankly, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and think my enjoyment was enhanced by Fowler's writing style, which I really like. His blog is also very entertaining. A definite recommendation. I definitely think this series would lend itself to dramatisation, and wondered whether Chris had ever thought about which actors he'd like to see in the roles of his detective duo.
His response: I keep thinking of Toby Jones and Gary Oldman, if it was TV. If someone decided to make a film, it would be Bill Nighy for May but Bryant would be the problem to cast. There are lots of actors I like but it would have to be someone a bit mad like Anthony Hopkins.