I blogged about John Brassey, metal detectorist and author, on the occasion of his first novel in 2014. You can read about it HERE.
The good news, three years later, is that John has produced a super second novel entitled Mr. Prendergast’s Fantastic Find, which is perhaps funnier than the first and of such good quality that I was unable to put it down for long periods. I was literally ‘gripped’ by the story.
The book is about retired bank clerk Dave Prendergast who makes the find of a lifetime on eBay. Sounds a rather mundane a subject for a comic novel, but don’t be misled. There’s a lot of intrigue and romance to keep everybody interested, especially middle-aged detectorists and venerable readers like me.
“As the auction clock runs down, all that stands between Dave and the highlife are rival bidders, his conscience … and a big pile of ironing, ” so declares the blurb on the back cover of the book. This is only a hint of what the reader will go on to eventually discover.
I suspect that a lot of what John talks about in the book is based on his own life and experiences … with some artistic licence, of course! I was also able to relate to his exploits, especially re dabbling on eBay, family strife … and metal detecting, a subject that makes an appearance early on in the novel.
In chapter six John relates how an expensive hearing aid was lost on the beach, but was subsequently found by a helpful detectorist wielding an XP Deus, “the Merc of metal detectors” and “infallible for ( discovering ) tiny finds”. I guarantee that the author owns a Deus. What I can’t be sure of is if any money passed hands for the product placement. I guess not.
Protagonist Dave suffers from a prostate problem and tries to ensure that he’s near a loo at all times. I know the feeling. I advise you to do the same because when reading this novel, you are likely to piddle yourself laughing!
My engrossment and total immersion in the tale was somewhat enhanced by the frequent mentions and allusions to all things ‘English,’ but I wonder if references to the Mitchell brothers, Jasper Carrot, Radio 2, John Lewis, Radio Times, Pointless, Deal or No Deal, Waitrose, and many others would just baffle some readers. What would they make of the fact that Maria knew that Simon would have enjoyed more coffee, but she gave him a Hobnob instead!
In mitigation there are plenty of allusions that would be understood by all readers. MacBook Pro, Armani, Billy Connelly and Ikea are just a few examples.
I particularly liked the disclaimer from John’s wife that she bore no resemblance to Dave’s spouse in the novel and asked John to point out that, “…. my wonderful wife Marion bears no resemblance whatsoever to Shelia (apart from being extremely attractive of course).”
Yes, the book made me laugh on many occasions, and that’s no mean feat. John is to be congratulated on that. The novel is fun, evocative and I enjoyed reading it immensely. The characters were real; the story kept me guessing. And I learnt a few things too – like how to reduce the divorce rate by half by asking guys to adopt a simple technique! You’ve got to read it!
If you are familiar with field tests of detectors in magazines, they often give a numerical score out of ten. My score for John’s second novel is the maximum I can give, and that’s a resounding ten out of ten.
I repeat what I said the first time around, “How refreshing it is to feature John and his accomplishments in my blog. In some circles inhabited mainly by our malicious detractors, all metal detectorists are viewed as ignorant, rough, and bad-mannered louts. Like many others of our ilk, John disproves that erroneous perception. I wonder if the most vociferous amongst them can put a negative spin on this blog post?
Product details for Mr. Prendergast’s Fantastic Find can be seen by clicking HERE
If you’d like a signed copy of John’s second book, please take part in my easy competition. John has kindly offered one as a prize for this challenge
Susie is looking for her grandfather’s hearing aid (the children call it a ‘mousie) that’s been lost in the sand, when she is approached by a metal detectorist. First, read the extract below, then I’ll give instructions on what you have to do.
This competition is open to UK members only. All you have to do is to imagine that you are the detectorist in the novel and you post about the incident on FB or a detecting forum to which you belong. Your effort will be relatively short, but interesting (and perhaps funny) to read. Send your account of finding the hearing aid to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a title of your own choosing.
In the unlikely event of a deluge of entries I’ll ask Mrs. John to choose her favourites, from which I will choose a winner. Good luck! Closing date is the end of Thursday 25 May.
See the original post HERE