The Desolate Garden by Danny Kemp Includes Surprisingly Touching Love Interests
The great thing about being a ‘Brit’ writer is growing up in the class conscious environment that is Great Britain and having access to worlds peopled by characters representing their social class. Danny Kemp’s, The Desolate Garden, succeeds on many counts.
First and foremost, the stream-of-consciousness kind of inner monologue of the protagonist, Harry Paterson, peels away onion skin layers of character development for the reader in the style of the great John Le Carre. The book presents a long historical past populated by a cast including Maudlin, the Brit-to-the-bone patriarch in the early part of the century, striving to keep capitalism and Great Britain safe.
As the owner of a private bank, the end of World War Two and the arrival of a peculiar brand of socialism in England, Maudlin decides to protect his bank’s capital by turning its finances over to the spy agency, SIS, then forming out the coals of war. His goal is multifarious. As an Earl, representing his class, his goals become England’s goals, but he has had some bad experiences with bureaucrats and decides to wage a private anti-communist war, and uses his bank to finance it.
Mixed into this complex history is the Earl’s inability to keep it in his proverbial pants and the sire and mother of his amorous efforts needs protection, muddying his altruism.
Throw in oblique references to Blunt and Philby and I think any spy fiction reader today knows the kind of beautifully twisted plot he will be rewarded with by choosing to read The Desolate Garden.
Cutting to the quick of Harry Patterson’s lovely love affair at the end of the book, surprised and completed the Le Carre tradition of stabbing the nice guy in the book.
But buried inside this convoluted and rambling tale hides a gem. Mister Kemp is a master of feminine psychology. His woman, Judith, reads like a woman author’s star. Harry’s jilted love appears to define the man, just as Judith’s walking out on H., as she has affectionately called him, in her grand ‘finale’ makes surprisingly perfect emotional sense. The Desolate Garden by Danny Kemp includes surprisingly touching love interests that distinguish him from the look-a-likes.
The slow build up of repartee, laced with both sexual and day-to-day innuendo leaves Harry broken by the sheer weight of his cleverness. A great read that could have been a touch less cerebral at times. It is not surprising Mister Kemp has a 30 million movie deal in the works.