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Dead Air

Iain Banks

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Little, Brown and Company

Published : 2002

Copyright : Iain Banks 2002

ISBN-10 : HB 0-316-86054-9
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-316-86054-3

Publisher's Write-Up

A couple of ice cubes, first, then the apple that really started it all. A loft apartment in London's East End; cool but doomed, demolition and redevelopment slated for the following week. Ken Nott, devoutly contrarian leftish shock-jock attending a mid-week wedding lunch, starts dropping stuff off the roof towards the deserted car park a hundred feet below.

Other guests join in and soon half the contents of the flat are following the fruit towards the pitted tarmac… just as mobiles start to ring, and the apartment's remaining TV is turned on, because apparently a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Centre…

lain Banks' daring new novel starts with a bang and then accelerates through one man's political obsessions, manic media manipulations and wildly dangerous private life, speeding through a London of pubs, clubs and geezers of extreme dodginess to a twinned climax of nail-shredding intensity.

A novel about politics, trust, paranoia and - perhaps - redemption, Dead Air is lain Banks at his coruscating best.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nigel (180303) Rating (8/10)

Review by Nigel
Rating 8/10
Dead Air is a cross between The Crow Road and Complicity and sees Iain Banks returning to familiar ground with his characters and plot.

Ken Nott is a shock jock with Capital Live!, a London commercial radio station. He is not over the moon about his current employment as the constant commercials interfere with his carefully structured banter about everything from religion to guns to congestion. The story basically sets up the character of Ken then drops him in some interesting situations involving death threats, women, drugs, live television and bands.

The main story revolves around Ken’s affair with a gangland boss's wife. When Ken leaves an ill-advised telephone message on her answering machine, when he is far from sober following a night on the tiles, things start to spiral out of control.

It was at these points that the book had me in hysterics. When Ken is in the Gangland boss's house, hiding in the gym closet, the story turns to riotous situation comedy that could have been a scene from One Foot in the Grave or Only Fools and Horses.

To tell you the truth at the end of this novel I wasn’t sure what it was actually about. OK, it delves into Ken’s life and you see him in some predicaments of his own making, from the deadly serious to the hilarious, but you don’t get a sense of a whole.

Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is well written, clever and funny with great characters and set scenes… I’m just not sure if it actually had a plot, with a beginning, middle and an end… perhaps it’s me? The story just seems to start at the beginning of the middle, if you see what I mean. We are dropped in to Ken’s Life and watch the following weeks unfold, then it is over and everything carries on.

All very good and fantastic entertainment… be warned though, like Complicity, Dead Air is not for the morally squeamish.
Nigel (18th March 2003)

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