Pariche is published by Austin Macauley of London and New York. It’s a tale of political and criminal skulduggery, and of romance, that has been testified as a good read; a well written book that appeals to readers’ intelligence, with multiple strands and a mystery that will draw the reader in. The book has been some years in germination, and has undergone many transformations, from the time it mirrored Rob’s younger, dare one say, hippy days, through to those of a more mature and reflective assessment of the material. The outcome is a novel, set in America, that deals with contemporary issues with a light, often comedic, touch, with richly drawn characters, two of which are strong female leads.
What begins as something of a campus novel, with tales of academic intrigue and infighting at University of California, Berkeley, becomes more serious when these troubles are transported south to Mississippi. It is a tale of people and events somewhat out of place; of liberal academics adrift in the Deep South, a cantankerous, but lovable, old fool of a lead character, an investigation of the mafia, a woman detective, and a romance that crosses the racial divide; all brought together through murder. The issue of race is treated with a degree of nuance, very much in the spirit of Zadie Smith, where characters are allowed to speak for themselves. The other literary and stylistic influences are an eclectic mix, of the likes of John Mortimer, Andrew Davies and Michael Chambon, that provides an underlying nod to a restrained, comedic farce. What has been produced is a mixed genre novel that will appeal to the literate and intelligent reader who likes a book that is a slow burner that builds into a thriller as the story unfolds. In the end, though, it is the writing that Rob is most impassioned about, and he is very proud of what he’s produced, with the characters appearing to take on a life of their own.