12 April 2018
Spencer's Risk by Andy Greenhalgh
I don't normally review fiction on this blog but I'm going to make an exception for Spencer's Risk, a hugely enjoyable first novel by the actor Andy Greenhalgh. An essentially comic tale of a man on the run to escape a gambling debt, this is no heartless romp, more an accidental voyage of discovery for its self-destructive hero with many unexpected twists and turns en route to keep the reader guessing right till the last page. It is also rich in descriptive detail, creating a convincing world: those with a toe in drama teaching will surely recognise Greenhalgh's hilarious account of its indignities, anxieties and infrequent triumphs.
There are touching moments, too, as we are taken more deeply into Spencer's struggles and the characters he meets along the way, catching glimpses of the person this loveable loser has the potential to become - if it's not too late. And throughout the story, the tempo is well judged: Greenhalgh has a surefooted sense of when to dwell on particular moments, comic or dark, and when to power on to the next curveball. Highly recommended.