I have received a few emails from unpublished or little-known authors offering me free copies of their novels to review on my blog. The first one was from David Milnes who sent me a copy of his novel ‘The Ghost of Neil Diamond’ about six weeks ago and I also have two more books sent to me by their authors which I will try and get round to reading very very soon!
I was immediately struck by the title and the basic premise of the book: a washed-up English ex-pat folk musician called Neil Atherton takes on work as a Neil Diamond impersonator touring the seedy karaoke clubs in Hong Kong after being spotted by Elbert Chan who has some big ideas for his future. Naturally, a series of bizarre events will follow. It’s definitely original. At first, I wondered if the quirky concept might have worked better as a short story rather than a full length novel but the plot is well sustained with a range of interesting characters and the pace is mostly quite snappy. Some of the scenes where Neil is performing would probably work better on screen but on the other hand, you don’t need to be an expert or a fan of Neil Diamond to enjoy this book. In fact, it is probably better if you’re not, as the real story is more about disillusionment, tainted nostalgia and the reality of the ex-pat experience in Hong Kong.
‘The Ghost of Neil Diamond’ is darkly humorous, sometimes even tragically comic, and the setting of Hong Kong and its shady, shabby nightclubs in the 1990s is very well captured. I highly recommend it especially if you are looking for something to read that’s a little bit different. Click here for more information about the book.
If there are any other budding writers or publishers out there with a novel they want me to review, please contact me by email. I hope to read more of these in the future but please bear with me if it takes a while for a review to appear on my blog!
5 responses to “The Ghost of Neil Diamond by David Milnes”
What a coincidence! I’m reading this right now. Actually put the book aside to check my email, etc. I don’t like it as much as you did. It’s different, but not compelling enough for me. But it’s not bad at all. I am almost finished and will write a review in the next few days.
I’m surprised by how many “unknown” books I’ve ended up enjoying since wading into the messy and strange world of small/indie/self-publishing. There’s a lot of chaff, but quite a few gems to be found as well. Can’t wait to see what else grabs your interest now that you’ve basically opened the floodgates.
I certainly qualify as a little known author published by two small presses.
I’m including a copy of my novel, New Moon Rising. I hope you decide to give it a read.
Yours truly, Walt Trizna
I loved this little book and read it When it was first published. Very evocative of the seedy side of life in Hong Kong and a geat comic portrayal of wannabe celebrities. I agree you don’t have to be a fan of Neil Diamond to enjoy the book – but I certainly had Cracklimg Rosie playing in a loop in my head by the time I’d finished it 🙂
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