About The Life Assistance Agency
Do you want to live forever? is THE question facing anyone pursuing immortality. But what happens when eternal life is disappointing, and everyone around you keeps dying?
Ben Ferguson-Cripps, a struggling writer with a surname that gets more attention than his creative endeavours, sets aside his literary ambitions to join the mysterious Life Assistance Agency. Their first case is to trace a missing person with links to the Elizabethan angel-caller Dr John Dee.
Pursued by a shadowy organisation - and the ghosts of Ben's past - the trail leads through Europe into the historic streets of Prague, where the long-buried secrets of Dr Dee's achievements are finally revealed, and Ben discovers there is far more to life than simply living…
My review of The Life Assistance Agency
The Life Assistance Agency by Tom Hocknell has been on my to be read pile for a very long time. But during the summer holidays I found time to sit and devour this beautiful, quirky, intelligent and highly unique book. I loved it for being different and for having such a unique voice. This book is part thriller, part historical novel, part comedy and with a dash of fantasy thrown in for good mesure. Now, for me, this mish mash of genres worked, all because of the likeable and male protagonist, Ben Ferguson-Cripps. It also reminded me of the great Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, because of its wit and sarcastic humour.
The novel begins when new author, Ben, is told by his agent that sales for his debut novel are not good, not good at all. He is struggling to pay the rent, and is in desperate need of some income. As luck would have it he finds a business card for The Life Assistance Agency, who do everything and anything that a customer wishes. It is run by Scott, an old friend of Ben's, who employs him on the spot. His first case is that of the missing Mr. Foxe, an eccentric academic and angel caller, and so the fun begins.
This book is quirky, and you never quite know where it is headed, but that is what I loved about it. The pair travel across Europe, while being chased by two men from The Society of Psychic Research, and these are two men who you do not want to bump into down a dark alley.
The emphasis of the novel is that of scrying for angels, something which Mr. Foxe does, and which the great spiritualist John Dee, also did. I'll admit to knowing nothing about scrying (I did a quick Google) but all was explained wonderfully well in the novel. It was also clearly evident to me that the author has carried out extensive research on the subject. What I loved was that the historical aspects of the narrative, involving Jon Dee, were brought vividly to life via this extensive knowledge in the depiction of Jane Dee's diary entries. These passages of the book were simply wonderful.
The writing is sharp, the pace fast and the story a joy to read. It's unlike anything that I've ever read before. From the moment I met Ben, I felt like I knew him, and enjoyed being with him on every step of his journey. The Life Assistance Agency is a quirky, fabulous read. I highly recommend it.
The Life Assistance Agency was published by Urbane Publications on 22 September 2016. It can be found on Amazon here.