Philip Kerr – January Window (2 stars)

Murkiest aspects of Premier League football explored in narrative that tests the bounds of believeability

Philip Kerr – January Window

(Head of Zeus)

Edinburgh born-and-raised crime author Philip Kerr has certainly cottoned on to a worthy and unexplored setting for the genre, amidst the backdrop of English Premier League football. A self-confessed Arsenal fan, he’s taken the murkiest aspects of the game – the oligarch owners with one foot in the political, the arrogant boy-children with money lavished upon then, the excesses of partying and sexual bad behaviour – and wrapped them up into an overdriven vehicle which tests the bounds of believability.

Chief among the many unlikelihoods here is that the hard-living Scott Manson, coach at London City Football Club, would be tasked with trying to find the killer of his club’s manager Joao Zarco. It’s a novel which is clearly in love with the game’s politics, and Kerr dives into them in pacy fashion, exploring the club and its characters with relish.
Yet his decision to tell the story in Manson’s (a black lead, which is pleasing to see) first-person voice lends the wordy text an info-dump quality, with his amateur sleuth / coach taking second place to chiselling away at the mystery.

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