If you want a crime novel that’ll keep you up late at night until you’ve finished it grab a copy of The Habit by Richard Armour.
Earlier in the week, I published “The biggest ever best business books list post”. Nearly 100 books recommended to you by guests on the Marketing and Finance Podcast.
One book that didn’t appear on the list was The Habit.
It’s not a business book. It’s fiction. A crime thriller.
But author Richard Armour is a business man. In fact, he used to be a stockbroker and knows what makes the financial services industry tick. Including what goes on behind closed boardroom doors and closed bedroom doors.
So here’s a bonus to my earlier post. And a little light relief from business. And hustle. The Habit is the “best crime thriller written by a business person”.
Here’s a quick review.
Centering around the hectic, hedonistic lifestyle of London city stockbroker Roger Hamilton, the author weaves a police hunt for a serial rapist into his story by playing upon Roger’s longstanding friendship with Frank, the police detective sergeant in charge of the case.
We see the story from Roger and Frank’s point of view, but also from that of the rapist. The master stroke in Armour’s narrative is that we discover the rapist’s identity halfway through the novel and that builds the tension as we root for the police to solve the case.
You know when you watch a TV crime show and you end up screaming at the screen because the cops keep missing the clues. I found myself almost screaming at the page here for similar reasons.
Whilst in no way stereotypical, anyone who works in financial services might recognise the characters who work in the City. The “banter” between the heroes of the story, particularly their attitude to women, compare and contrast worryingly with the thoughts and attitude of the rapist.
Armour also uses some interesting narrative techniques I haven’t seen before. Armour writes Roger’s chapters in the 1st person. He writes the other chapters in the 3rd person except for scenes Roger is in – in which case it shifts to the 1st person.
I’ve never seen this done before and it’s particularly effective.
Highly recommended and a real shame it has never been produced for the TV screen.
The mixture of glitz, sleaze, fear and redemption would have made great crime mini-series.
Check it out: The Habit by Richard Armour