Resort by Andrew Daley arrived in my post from Canada and was a book I was looking forward to reading in this cold Derbyshire winter. I’m trying to widen my reading at the moment to include authors whose books are new to me, given the amount of Nordic noir I’m getting through for the Petrona Award. Resort is a classic style thriller following the trail of Jill Charles and Danny Drake, two actor friends and lovers. In Acapulco, broke and experienced in the art of scamming other resort residents, they hatch a plan to latch onto a English couple, a decision which leads them to Veracruz in Mexico and Kings Reach correctional institution on Vancouver Island.
It’s a great premise for a novel. Jill and Danny remind me of the Lammies in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, scheming and extracting money from the wealthy by ingratiating themselves to their circle. Their use of affluent resorts, as reflected in the book’s title, is a modern parallel to Dickens’ world, playgrounds for the idle rich willing to splash around cash to prove their affluence and status.
It’s clear from the outset that everything goes disastrously wrong. Sections of the narrative are told from inside prison as Danny tells the story of meeting Jill, and the development of their relationship. Of the two, it’s Danny who is the more sympathetic although an air of dissipation hangs over both of them. They are, however, very sympathetically portrayed and their life of crime is told with an air of humour. They have none of the meanness of the Lammies.
Resort turned out to be a fun and charming read. Despite knowing early on that their scheming ends in trouble, it’s worth carrying on because Daley has plenty of surprises for the reader and a very enjoyable ending.