Published by Baskerville on July 21, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, General, Computers, Artificial Intelligence, Glasgow Noir
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*THE INSTANT SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER*
'A gloriously funny mystery' Telegraph
'An enjoyably dark and entertaining tranche of Glasgow noir . . . Imagine Withnail and I stumbling into a Bond movie co-written by William McIlvanney and Mick Herron . . . [A] deft, engaging thriller' Observer
Glasgow, 2015. When Valium addict Felix McAveety's best friend Marina is found murdered in the local park, he goes looking for answers to questions that he quickly forgets. In a haze of uppers, hallucinogens, and diazepam, Felix enlists the help of a brilliant but mercurial GP; a bright young trade unionist; a failing screenwriter; semi-celebrity crime novelist Jane Pickford; and his crisis fuelled downstairs neighbour Donnie.
Their investigation sends them on a bewildering expedition that takes in Scottish radical politics, Artificial Intelligence, cults, secret agents, smugglers and vegan record shops.
Meantime is a picaresque detective story set against the backdrop of post-referendum Scotland. Frankie Boyle's compelling debut novel is a tale of murder and revenge, and of personal and political loss.
'A darkest noir, unputdownable crime novel that swerves and surprises, with a gut-punch ending. I loved it!' Denise Mina, author of The Long Drop
'Reads like a twisted Caledonian take on Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye. Inherent vices and scalpel-sharp jokes vie with a very human concern for those least garlanded in the rat race of life' Ian Rankin
'A surprisingly moving and beautiful journey through one man's shitshow of a friend's death / hangover' Lucy Prebble, executive producer and writer of Succession
Meantime is beautiful in its harsh and brutal narrative. The writing is crystal clear, each word soaks into your skin like the bleak Scottish rain. No happy endings but it is intricate, it settled under my skin and had me craving more. Every mistake carves a deep and unsettling wound. If one sentence could sum it up it would be that.
Meantime captures the banal and lively existence of being Glaswegian like a seesaw that drops you into oblivion. There are many downs, but it’s occasionally peppered with some good. It holds a different kind of magic, one where the disappointment from the referendum eats at the shoes of people walking to work, hailing taxis, and people on serious comedowns in dingy wee flats that contain all the hope of a mouldy pizza sitting on the countertop. Felix McAveety’s life has always been the sad rendition of unrealised potential. The death of his friend, Marina, is the fuse to allow himself to care about something again.
Felix is stuck in a rut. He’s willing to have a “pop” at any mind-altering pharmaceutical. Alcohol, Diazepam, Cannabis, if it gets him buzzing then he’s in. Valium being his ruination of choice. An ex-employee of BBC Scotland he became disenfranchised with… everything really. He’s a non-football supporter and in Glasgow that is close to committing a murder yourself. His life has been hard but ultimately, he is a good guy, and one thing that Frankie Boyle has in common with George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” is that likable characters rarely have a happy ending.
Meantime is heavily embellished with Boyle’s sense of humour. Those that get him get him fully and those that don’t, well don’t. There are pages upon pages of one-liners that had me cackling. Some that particularly floated my boat were – “A body like a dropped Lasagne.” “She was dripping talking about him like a knackered fridge.” Boyle is well known for his controversial brand of comedy and Meantime is no exception. He’s an equal opportunity comedian – he can take a pop at anyone.
Felix’s friend, Marina, an American in Scotland is found dead in a Glasgow Park. He finds out this devastating news when the police wake him out of his drug-fuelled slumber. He’s taken to the station where he later finds out that sperm was found on her scarf. He is later released and with the help of his Watson, Donnie, his downstairs neighbour undertake an investigation of their own. Donnie who is also partial to mind-numbing substances provides some light-hearted relief. An overweight middle-aged guy who is struggling with his divorce but who also appears to have no internal filter – “We were the two people least suited to investigating anything, but with the right drug combinations we could be whoever we had to be.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Francis Martin Patrick “Frankie” Boyle is a Scottish comedian and writer, well known for his pessimistic, often controversial sense of humour. He was a permanent panellist on Mock the Week for seven series and has made guest appearances on several popular panel shows including Have I Got News for You, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie to You?, You Have Been Watching, Never Mind the Buzzcocks (as guest host and team captain when Phill Jupitus was unavailable for recording), and Argumental, as well as writing for Jimmy Carr’s Distraction and Sean Lock’s TV Heaven, Telly Hell.