Marlow’s Landing by Toby Vieira
John Murray Originals
Diamonds, deception and double-crossing smugglers are all part of the dizzying plot of Marlow’s Landing, the intriguing debut from Toby Vieira. Born in New Delhi, the author’s peripatetic lifestyle feeds his writing. Moscow is “far too cold: the girls snotty and expensive; the cops too well-informed”. The Caribbean island of St Andrews, where much of the action takes place, is simply “malaria and drive-by shootings and drugs”. No matter what the setting, chaos and violence reign. An accountant from Hull is the book’s main narrator, a man grown tired of the daily grind who dreams of making millions through nefarious means. As he travels upriver with his cagey guide, Old Road, in search of pink diamonds, there are echoes of Graham Greene and, of course, Joseph Conrad, whose masterpiece Heart of Darkness is referenced in the title. Our accountant is at times gratingly omnipotent, but ultimately this is a modern-day homage from a writer of promise.