Last year we reviewed John’s two autobiographical memoirs, You Did WHAT? and Table for One, Sir? Now, the Chesham-based author has taken his writing career in a new direction with his latest work of fiction, Strong Tea, Three Sugars.
We were excited to read the book after John told us it was very different to his previous work. Written in first person, the protagonist, also John, finds his life turned upside down following the arrival into his office of an unpleasant manager from the States, Sørensen. After being replaced by Sørensen, John, his colleagues and his wife Sue try to continue as normal, but Sørensen’s unnerving presence gradually begins to take over. He is hated by them all, most of all John, after Sørensen forms a disturbing obsession with Sue, spying on her through curtains and turning up at she and John’s house unannounced. Sørensen spends his days spying on the office through his one-way glass wall and listening in to conversations, in particular John’s, to try and work out when he will be out of town, leaving Sue alone at home.
To avoid spoilers I won’t reveal the ending, but the constant presence of Sørensen in John and Sue’s life eventually takes a dramatic turn, and many themes are explored along the way including the paranormal, life and death, obsession and betrayal.
The writing is simple yet witty and John manages to establish a feeling of claustrophobia within a typical British office environment that many of us will be familiar with. The contrast between mundane everyday goings on and life changing events is brilliant and although the book is only 73 pages it leaves you wanting to know what happens next. Perhaps a sequel is in order?
For more information about John or to buy a copy, click here.