When secret agent Arlo is subjected to a gratuitous attack from an unscrupulous well-known thug his career is thrown into question having sustained injuries in an non operational encounter. Whilst his self-confidence is severely damaged, to the extent he seriously considers withdrawing from the secrat service, his fellow agents plan a revenge on his adversary. In a series of claw biting actions they execute a coordinated action to inflict retribution and humiliation on the dastardly animal. This is a tail gripping story that makes the fur stand on end and finishes in a suitably crushing, fur flying…..but I will not spoil it for you. You must read this book.
<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/24580550-douglas-wallis”>View all my reviews</a>
SOME REVIEWS OF BASIL ACKROYD’S FRANCE
“With the solution to all of his problems almost within reach, the mayor of a small French town, a British expatriate, becomes the focus of a national scandal, fraud investigation, counterterrorism manhunt, blackmail scheme and paparazzi feeding frenzy.
This story is a delightful romp through the trials and errors of Basil Ackroyd’s life. His ups, downs, advances, retreats, genius and ineptitude. The author has crafted a tale that involves a bit of political intrigue, a touch of mystery, a well thought out comedy of errors, irreverent humor, a well-written supporting cast and Basil.
Basil Ackroyd is completely despicable—morally bankrupt, corrupt, completely self-serving and abrasive. He is thoroughly convinced that he is the only intelligent being in a world of idiots, and tirelessly endeavors to perfect the art and science of official malfeasance for personal gain. He attempts to corrupt everyone and everything he touches. Basil is also one of the most interesting characters I have read in a long time. I enjoyed his faults, elaborate schemes, tirades, irreverent observations and ability to unwittingly destroy his own plans. He is one of those characters I know I am supposed to hate, but I like him anyway. He made me laugh, cringe and shake my head in wonder.”
“The author does a wonderful job of bringing Basil’s world and its inhabitants to life. Several minor characters are introduced, in rapid fire fashion, at the beginning of the book, but individual personalities stand out quite well—a no-nonsense barkeeper, the timid policeman, a band of geriatrics who behave like a gang of teenaged miscreants, Basil’s seemingly brainless secretary who consistently saves the day, Basil’s unhappy yet dutiful wife and others. These are the residents of Durac, a French town saddled with Basil’s unique brand of governance and drawn into the machinations of nefarious outsiders.
The author does a wonderful job in some of the dialogs in which the characters have completely different perceptions which turns the meaning of their speeches into three distinct interpretations: what the speaker thinks he is conveying; what the listener thinks the speaker means; and what the reader learns by knowing the mindsets of the speaker, the listener, and what is going on.”
“Real estate shenanigans, marijuana-infused beer, a French-style theme park, and numerous liaisons are mixed and mashed together in this sprawling fast-paced story which takes place in the days leading up to VE day in a small French town. Subplots abound to accommodate various pairings and nefarious business arrangements. Deceptions are the order of the day. Government ineffectiveness is an underlying theme. As befitting a farce, as the mass of lies increased, the pace accelerated as the characters headed toward their inevitable collisions.”
“Quirky characters populate the French countryside in Douglas Spencer Wallis’ Futile Deceptions. The story mainly centers around Basil Ackroyd, a corrupt British expat who serves as mayor to a sleepy town in rural France, largely populated by other expats. He is engaged in a wide array of unethical/illegal wheelings and dealings. It would have been easy to make Ackroyd a villain, but Wallis provides such a cast of comically nefarious characters, he doesn’t come off too bad. Everybody has an angle, some of them are just too dull to be any good at scamming each other. This is a farcical comedy that invites readers to revel in the absurdity of serious matters including runaway nationalism and corruption.
None of the characters is realistic, but they are all still relatable. Rural France comes off sounding like a lovely place to visit, even if all of the locals are crazy.
In all, Futile Deceptions is a fun read, good to take on vacation or for general unwinding.”
“Take a generous helping of Âllo Âllo, add an equal measure of Fawlty Towers and a soupçon of Brian Rix farces, whisk thoroughly into the batter of Douglas Wallis’ vivid imagination then pour into a very deep pan. Bake at a high heat to allow the many layers of subplots to separate out and voilá – you are ready for the rollercoaster experience of Basil Ackroyd’s France.
“This story is about the English mayor of a small French town Basil Ackroyd. It would have been easy to make Ackroyd a rogue in this wonderful gambol through the tribulations and blunders of this corrupt British expat’s life but he is skilfully revealed as inept as he is ineffective in his cumbersome schemes of self-betterment. We should dislike this unprincipled and totally amoral man who tries to profit from all around him, but one ends up hoping against hope he will survive the maelstrom of self inflicted disasters, which cove an unlikely broad canvas of political intrigue, administrative corruption, racial tensions and terrorism. It is a chaotic helter-skelter of a story that cannot be put down and is well worth reading.”
“Just Recompense, the second instalment of Basil Ackroyd’s France, rises to the lofty bar set by Futile Deceptions.
Amid the aftermath of his previous series of disasters, Basil is confronted by characters from his past. We learn a little more about him, as the master manipulator and swindler is played by those of his own ilk. Everyone is working an angle, some more than one, or hiding a secret. Even Basil’s wife and the uselessly timid policeman are knee deep in conspiracy.
Once again, the author weaves irreverent humor with comedy of errors and Basil’s unique penchant for self-destruction into a laugh-out-loud entertaining tale. Fear not, the author does not recycle his gags from the first book. Basil falls into new traps, of his own making, and finds new ways to thwart himself at every turn, while the townspeople scratch their heads with disbelief, jump to conclusions and scramble to conceal their own secrets.
Basil’s secretary, Sylvie, has her performance kicked up a few notches and is the surprise gem of this tale. She simultaneously serves as the story’s bubbly air-headed sex object, moral compass, Basil’s harshest critic and chief saviour.
If you enjoy dark humor, read this book. If you do not enjoy dark humor, read this book and you will learn to like it. Read this book and its predecessor, and you will be hooked.”
“This book reads like a BBC comedy, in a good way. The characters are quirky, and they create their own mayhem in a confined community in France. The characters and their foibles become the plot elements that move the story forward, with ever- escalating conflicts playing off the various personalities. It took me some time to adjust to the comedic tempo. Once I adjusted I found the tempo of the story telling was a good match for the plot as it plodded and tumbled humorously forward. The story centers around a recreation center that has burned down, and the extreme measures the mayor takes to make sure the resulting insurance claim is handled the way he wants. It turns out everyone in town has their own secrets that relate back to that event, and they all have to come clean in one way or another. This is a welcome find in an independent book. You’ll like it the most if you like quaint, small-town humor. This is a welcome change from the formula based books you may find in main-stream publishing.”
I had a long discussion with a gentleman in Morocco at lunch time, they are having remarkably good weather for the season and life seems very pleasant. It obviously induces a feeling of well being because he appeared to be oblivious of the fact that I was bloody furious and find being telephone every lunch time by someone offering the services of an expert to heat my house by solar panels, despite it being obvious I am in a town of historic interest where such things are forbidden and I don’t wish to to be sold things unsolicited by phone. I wish him and his family well, but I wish his employers be hit by a bloody meteorite.
Does any man out there really understand women?
I was for a longtime annoyed by persistent harassment from people who sent me messages from Linkedin, and one day decided to see if I could stop the nuisance on the site itself. In doing so I inadvertently unlocked hours of enjoyment and had some really amusing conversations with writers from around the world.
THIS NOT A PROMOTION!
I found they have groups and some of them are writer’s and publisher’s groups and you can discuss whatever you want. It is great fun to have a meandering conversation with people who have attention spans of more than a nano-second and additionally I have learned a great deal from established and knowledgeable writers, screenwriters etc.
Why am I writing this? Well the day before yesterday I saw the following message.
Director at Lao Insight Books/Owner-manager of Book Café Vientiane
Most writers ARE skint, Brian. Which makes it all the more perplexing that a huge industry has grown up to take money from skint people to edit their ramblings into printed or virtual books, create covers for such books, review those books, create entry-fee prize winning ‘competitions’ for such books, and market them in a world that reads less every day.
Given the state of writing and publishing today, I would say that any writer who procrastinates is performing morally and logically.
Robert I spent all morning cooking in my house coat, all afternoon eating with friends in my kitchen and have just awaken from a from a snooze and it is dark. Usually I would feel a tad guilty, but after you wise words I realise I am doing the world a favour.
He reposted with
Douglas, wise man that he be, does the world a favour, and does his friends a favour, by taking the day so easily he lulls himself into restful sleep. Didn’t hurt a fly, didn’t cut down a tree, didn’t kick a dog, and didn’t bugger his neighbour’s wife (as far as I know). And by such altruistic impeccability, he greatly reduces the risk of blowing his brains out at fifty. Good man, Douglas. Carry on.
I could not leave it there and told him
Now Collin I need to caution you on making unfounded assumptions. Having been just raised to the level of a Saint I almost feel the need to confess some of my sins, but that would have an adverse effect on my status so I will refrain. However I have some advise for those under 7?s out there, do all those things before you are thirty, in my experience you can obtain forgiveness when you are a callow youth. Additionally you can lie back in the grass and watch the clouds drift by, re-living those gloriously enjoyable sins, without having to climb out the back window in a state of undress. No risk to health and very zen.
And this my point, in three short exchanges (among others on the same group I would add) I wrote something, off the cuff, which has set me thinking and may give me the kernel of the next book.
Just writing, but to someone, is creative. It drags things out of you that you would never sit down and write for yourself, much like a stimulation conversation , but without the problem of forgetting it when the moment has passed.
There we are, my words of wisdom for today
The dear old iMac, the one that looks like a pumpkin cut in half, is getting a little sad. I keep it because the screen is a comfortable size and it has an old copy of photoshop which I cannot transfer to a later machine, and I’m damned if I am going to fork out the zillions of bobs they demand for the programme nowadays. So I have been shifting through the piles of images stored thereupon. I don’t know if you have ever embarked on that mission, but is soon becomes a hazy meander through lost memories, a honeyed passing of time.
I have been wondering lately why I am here in this small French town not very far from anywhere really, surrounded by friendly folk who have no connection with me whatsoever. Some of my friends, and I can call them friends, close friends some of them, can casually refer to a great grandfather who lived in a house I have passed a thousand times and never really taken note of, which was left to him by his grandfather. They mention this in a casual conversation, perhaps regarding the butcher that used to be in the same street, little caring that they are talking about events that happened two hundred years ago. This fact has no relevance to their line of thought, it is of no importance if it was yesterday or the century before the last, it is just their daily existence, just part of the fabric that makes up their lives. It is then that I realise I am not from here. I have no memory, direct or passed down that equates to the house down the road that was ………..
So I question myself, do I belong here? Or perhaps, most disturbingly, where do I belong? In fact does it matter? Perhaps not, there are many millions of people who have no roots where they live and a completely content with the fact. I am of that frame of mind, but I still find I am floating in the little bubble where my friends have anchors to the place that can be traced back centuries and I do not.
It was with great joy therefore when I found photos that gave me a sense of belonging and I will drag some of them out to bore you with my memories. This first one is of summertime in France, when it is best to be in the cool of an old building and even better to have a friend bring in a carafe of wine from the sun soaked courtyard. Not long now till summer.
If you want some light reading the local newspaper’s criminal court proceedings take some beating. This week they reported on some guy who used a false identity card and stolen cheque book to buy 15,000€ worth of bits and bobs. In his defence he said he was in need of a few small items. It’s all in the perception I suppose. As a defence it didn’t do him any good, he got two years.