Armadillo (Vintage International)

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9780375702167: Armadillo (Vintage International)
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One cold winter's morning, Lorimer Black - insurance adjuster, young, good-looking, on the rise - goes out on a perfectly ordinary business appointment, finds a hanged man and realizes that his life is about to be turned upside down. The elements at play: a beautiful actress glimpsed in a passing taxi . . . an odd new business associate whose hiring, firing and rehiring make little sense . . . a rock musician who is losing his mind - and a web of fraud in which virtually everyone Lorimer Black knows has been caught and in which he finds himself increasingly entangled.

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Review:

Lorimer Black may suffer from a serious sleep disorder and an obsession with the labyrinths of the British class system, but Armadillo's peculiar protagonist is the star insurance adjuster of London's Fortress Sure PLC, unkindly known as the Fort. At the very start of William Boyd's noir-ish seventh novel, however, things take a decided swerve for the worse. On a bleak January morning one of his cases has apparently chosen to kill himself rather than talk: "Mr. Dupree was simultaneously the first dead person he had encountered in his life, his first suicide and his first hanged man and Lorimer found this congruence of firsts deceptively troubling."

Soon our hero, who himself has a lot to hide, finds himself threatened by a dodgy type whose loss he has adjusted way down and embroiled with the beautiful married actress Flavia Malinverno. "People who've lost something, they call on you to adjust it, make the loss less hard to bear? As if their lives are broken in some way and they call on you to fix it," Flavia dippily wonders. Lorimer also has his car torched and instantly goes from an object of affection to one of deep suspicion at the Fort. Then there is another case, the small matter of the rock star who may or may not be faking the Devil he claims is sitting on his left shoulder.

Needless to say, Lorimer is "becoming fed up with this role of fall guy for other people's woes." Boyd adds a deep layer of psychological heft and a lighter level of humour to this thinking-person's thriller by exploring Lorimer's manifold personal and social fears. This is a man who desperately collects ancient helmets even though he knows they offer only "the illusion of protection."

Another of Armadillo's many pleasures: its dose of delicious argot. Should Lorimer "oil" the apparent perpetrator of the Fedora Palace arson before he's oiled himself? Or perhaps he just needs to "put the frighteners" on him. Boyd definitely puts the frighteners on his readers more than once in this cinematically seedy and dazzling literary display. --Kerry Fried, Amazon.com

Review:

"[T]his novel is everything good fiction should be." --The Washington Post Book World

"Combines a touch of Dickensian realistic comedy with a Kafkaesque sense of modern urban terror. . . . [William Boyd] has a rare talent." --The Baltimore Sun

"Boyd has a frisky style . . . that will keep you chortling . . . all the way to the end." --The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"The storytelling talents that marked Mr. Boyd's earlier books are fully in evidence in this entertaining novel." --The New York Times

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780375402234: Armadillo: A Novel

Featured Edition

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Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc, 1998
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Hamish..., 1998
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9780149021357: Armadillo Poster

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Penguin, 2001
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9780241965467: Armadillo (Penguin Street Art)

Penguin, 2013
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