Saturday, 12 August 2017

Body And Soul by Roddy Murray


Body And Soul by Roddy Murray
Self published in November 2013.

259 pages towards Olivia's fun August Reading Challenge to read an average of 50 pages each day throughout the month. Total = 864.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the book from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Took advantage of a free Amazon download promotion

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two very different men are on a pathway to a meeting which will change both their lives for ever. One is a Scottish ex-soldier, ex-boxer, ex-husband, ex-father and ex-drunk struggling to turn his life around. The other, the CEO of an American multi-national, has both wealth and power. They do not know each other and only the American believes he knows the true purpose of their meeting. In fact both have been duped in different ways and as their lives begin to unravel they must try to deal with the truth if they can. Only one has the skills and determination to survive.

Despite its science fiction themes, Body And Soul reads more like a macho adventure novel. We are constantly reminded of our protagonist, Frank's, ex-army credentials, glamorising his violent tendencies. The story itself starts out well with Frank being rehabilitated from extreme alcoholism to become a successful personal trainer. He then receives an unusual commission from an American corporation, Nebus. At the same time we meet Blaine, a high level Nebus manager visiting the company's Scottish manufacturing facility. I enjoyed reading about the plant and its workers. Murray does a good job of introducing his lead characters and setting the stage so I was interested to see where the story would lead.

Unfortunately the middle of Body And Soul is slow going, bogged down in far too much repetition of the same routines and with very little direct action or even speech. We are told what characters do, eat and how they feel, but we aren't shown so I felt too removed from them to appreciate their situation. Murray's plot raises deep philosophical questions about body sovereignty and personal identity, but these are barely explored leaving us instead to be told again and again about Frank's incessant lechery. A major irritant in this book is that none of the women are remotely realistic. Instead they just exist to provide eye candy and easy sex.

The narrative does pick up energy again towards the close. I could appreciate Frank's physical struggles and the final wrap up is satisfying. However I was disappointed by the earlier squandered opportunities to engage me as a reader. I thought the real bones of the story needed stronger presentation because all the excess padding overly dilutes what should have been a much more exciting read.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Roddy Murray / Science fiction / Books from Scotland

2 comments:

  1. This is a great review. I haven't heard much about this book. It does seems kind of interesting.

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