In between my non-fiction writing, for a few years now I’ve been working on my first novel. A comedy spy adventure set in the early 1960s, we follow the drunken exploits of Hugo Dean, a secret agent for Her Majesty’s Government. Like James Bond, he enjoys the finer things in life. Unlike James Bond, Dean just can’t handle his booze and tends to find himself on the back foot, in hot water and in desperate need of the toilet.
France 1964. After a potentially lethal monkey attack upon arrival in Paris, our eponymous hero finds himself in a mysterious and unnecessarily convoluted mission that takes him deep into the dark heart of Europe at the height of the Cold War – when all he really wants is a stiff drink and a sit down.
It gets worse. A tragic assassination forces Dean to engage in a deadly confrontation with a mysterious assailant over the river Seine. After a small detour to Montmartre for answers, he flees through the Alps and across the border to Switzerland, in the company of the enigmatic Isabella Gadbois. By the waters of Lake Zug, he discovers the true nature of his mission, to win a brutal race and retrieve a mysterious artefact from Spanish military history that could dramatically change the course of the Cold War. From Switzerland, Dean and Gadbois take a night train south to Italy, with an on-board menu that includes unbridled passion, brutal violence and an incredibly well-stocked mini bar.
Having reached Italian soil more or less unscathed, Dean and Gadbois get caught up in a climactic and explosive showdown between local militia and a secret terrorist organisation in a derelict fortress town high in the Tuscan hills. Who will win? Will anyone survive? Where IS the nearest toilet?
I’m going to publish the first few chapters on here to give you a flavour of this wonderful piece of nonsense. It’s a thrill. It’s a romp. It’s a farce. Think classic James Bond meets Indiana Jones meets The Thin Man, all told through the eyes of a man who really shouldn’t be doing this for a living.
Read Chapter One here