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A Pleasure and a Calling
by Phil Hogan


Overview -

A DELICIOUSLY UNSETTLING TALE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE THAT DELVES INTO THE MIND OF A MAN WITH A CHILLING DOUBLE LIFE.

Mr. Heming loves the leafy English village where he lives. As a local real estate agent, he knows every square inch of the town and sees himself as its protector, diligent in enforcing its quaint charm.  Read more...


 
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More About A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan
 
 
 
Overview

A DELICIOUSLY UNSETTLING TALE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE THAT DELVES INTO THE MIND OF A MAN WITH A CHILLING DOUBLE LIFE.

Mr. Heming loves the leafy English village where he lives. As a local real estate agent, he knows every square inch of the town and sees himself as its protector, diligent in enforcing its quaint charm. Most people don't pay much attention to Mr. Heming; he is someone who fades easily into the background. But Mr. Heming pays attention to them. You see, he has the keys to their homes. In fact, he has the keys to every home he's ever sold in town. Over the years, he has kept them all so that he can observe his neighbors, not just on the street, but behind locked doors.
Mr. Heming considers himself a connoisseur of the private lives of others. He is witness to the minutiae of their daily lives, the objects they care about, the secrets they keep. As details emerge about a troubled childhood, Mr. Heming's disturbing hobby begins to form a clear pattern, and the reasons behind it come into focus. But when the quiet routine of the village is disrupted by strange occurrences, including a dead body found in the backyard of a client's home, Mr. Heming realizes it may only be a matter of time before his secrets are found out.
A brilliant portrait of one man's obsession, "A Pleasure and a Calling" by Phil Hogan is a darkly funny and utterly transfixing tale that will hold you under its spell.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781250060631
  • ISBN-10: 125006063X
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: January 2015
  • Page Count: 288


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Psychological
Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Psychological

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-09-29
  • Reviewer: Staff

British writer Hogan’s fourth novel (after All This Will Be Yours) is a gripping psychological thriller that pegs out the creep-o-meter with its chilling, original plot. Mr. Heming is a real estate agent in an English village, very successful, very curious, and very dangerous. He has sold hundreds of houses in 17 years and has kept the keys to all of them. He uses the keys to enter homes and spy, obsessively and surreptitiously interjecting himself into the homeowners’ lives, occasionally altering things for his own amusement, learning everything about each family: “I squeezed the juice out of them, though they didn’t know it.” Mr. Heming doesn’t think of himself as a stalker or voyeur, and he doesn’t consider himself a thief. He is, however, a man who will act decisively if threatened or even merely annoyed. His orderly life is suddenly complicated when he becomes smitten with Abigail Rice, a young woman to whom he sold a house. Abigail is involved with a philandering predator—a married man named Douglas Sharp, another one of Mr. Heming’s clients. Mr. Heming decides that Sharp must be removed, and, with his customary thoroughness, the realtor decides to discredit Sharp, but his complex plan takes a deadly turn. Hogan’s Mr. Heming is a monumentally diabolical character—the fact that he narrates the story further ups both the stakes and the tension. Readers won’t soon forget this first-rate, white-knuckle suspense novel. (Jan.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Journey inside an obessive mind

Mr. Heming, the narrator of A Pleasure and a Calling, is more than an uninvited guest: He’s the guest you never knew you had. Channeling the socially detached and unnerving personality of Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, Phil Hogan creates a character that will inspire intrigue as well as ire.

Heming owns the premiere real estate agency in his small English town, which provides him a steady flow of money—and keys to most of its residents’ houses, which he uses to indulge his penchant for snooping. He takes his obsession to sociopathic levels, noting the routines and habits of every house he violates and taking home mementos of his conquests. Heming hides his fetish well, until the day he is caught sneaking through a house after a lovers’ quarrel. Readers will begin to question their own morality as they watch the protagonist go to extreme lengths to cover his tracks.

A Pleasure and a Calling takes readers into the mind of a truly disturbed man and follows the development of his psychosis. Jumping from the present day to Heming’s past, from childhood curiosity and tragedy to the inability to maintain conventional relationships as an adult, the creation of a monster is unveiled.

Hogan’s writing style echoes the creepiness of his main character. The lack of emotional adjectives and use of idiocentric phrases further solidify the darkness of our complicated narrator. This perfectly paced psychological suspense story is a roller-coaster ride through paranoia and manipulation.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews