Jonty crumples to the ground. I jump out of the Bentley and run over to him as fast as I can manage in my wedding dress. Jonty is bleeding from the head, the chest and the tummy. The last words he says to me before he dies are: ‘Code 17’.
My thoughts – a wacky, pacy spy thriller with an original, quirky protagonist! I genuinely had a fun time reading this.
‘Code 17’ consists of many short chapters from the first person perspective of Lady Laurencia Artemisia Claudia Summers…phew! AKA Laura, or Lady Laura Summers, AKA slightly dodgy art dealer. We get thrust straight into the plot after the groom gets shot on his way to his wedding to Laura – and although the wedding is one of convenience, Lady Summers is determined to seek retribution and immediately discovers, and is pitted against a network of undercover agents, and in particular the unsavoury Persephone. Lady Laura now has a challenging nemesis.
The writing is sharp, direct and consistently to the point but we still get enough to develop the characters and build plot. Its mini-episode style is suited to reading on the go, and it’s easy to drop back into the story as the scenes are very pictorial. There’re quite a few spoofy antics featuring both Laura, her sidekick/friends Muffie and Ronni. At times it’s humorous as the women begin to investigate, from picking up some C&A catsuits for a break-in job to accidentally causing a few violent ends!
There’s also the backdrop of the swinging sixties London, so the vibe is full of expression, art, glamour, music, celebrity and a dash of romance. It’s a fun journey following the antics of the characters in this book, and I happily recommended it to fellow readers.
Words from the author:
Code 17 was originally a musical idea.
Ten years ago I made an album that paid homage to the theme music of 1960s British TV spy series like The Man from UNCLE, The Baron and Department S, and to films like Modesty Blaise and The Ipcress File. The music on the album was from an imaginary TV series called Code 17, featuring the glamorous art dealer/spy Lady Laura Summers. She was imagined as a cross between Sharron Macready of The Champions, Emma Peel of The Avengers and Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward of Thunderbirds, though none of these women was the lead character in their own show.
Ten years later I thought I could make a novel out of Code 17 and Lady Laura – a fast-paced, female-led thriller set in the art world of Swinging 1967 London. I kept to the format of a twelve-episode TV series and tried to imagine each chapter as a self-contained thirty minute episode, split into short, cinematic scenes; I imagined our heroine getting into deep water in every episode but always getting out of it before the credits rolled.
I hope you can imagine it that way too.
You can hear the music at https://www.mixcloud.com/planckmusic/code-17/
And watch the promotional video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfZsXqxch5I
Francis Booth Author Profile
Francis Booth’s novels are all available as eBooks and paperbacks on Amazon. They include:
· The Watchers series of Young Adult fantasy novels: The Charlotte Strain and The January Legacy;
· The Nevermore novel sequence Nevermore, Evermore, Gone Before and Nothing More, a series of dark revenge tragedies;
· Code 17, a fast-paced, female-led thriller set in the art world of Swinging Sixties London.
Francis is also the author of several academic books on modern literature and culture, also available on Amazon:
· Amongst Those Left: the British Experimental Novel 1940-1960 (to be published by Dalkey Archive Press);
· Everybody I Can Think of Ever: Meetings That Made the Avant-Garde;
· Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid Twentieth Century Woman’s Novel;
· Text Acts: Twentieth Century Literary Eroticism;
· Comrades in Art: Revolutionary Art in America 1926-1938.
As a translator, Francis Booth has published English versions of the Marionette Plays of Maurice Maeterlinck and produced libretti adapted from Akutagawa, Strindberg and early Sanskrit and Buddhist texts, several of which have been set to music and recorded.
Francis also produces music under the name Tektonix, all of which is on YouTube and at mixcloud.com/planckmusic. He is currently at work on Code 17.1, the sequel to Code 17.