Sitting Duck by Robert Dodds

sittingduckI looked forward to reading this book which was described as a pacy, comic novel, which was ‘Not a whodunit, but a who’ll do it!’

Sitting Duck is written in the form of a journal, and right at the beginning, the reader is informed that ‘This is a journal of a man about to die’. So no surprises there – Martin Mallard, the man writing the journal will not survive.

Martin is not a particularly likeable man. He is a middle-aged dentist who comes over as pedantic, staid, and uptight, and the journal follows his first holiday outside Europe. He has chosen the island of Pootapuri which is a somewhat rough and ready place more likely to attract backpackers.

His fellow holidaymakers are an odd bunch and he succeeds in alienating quite a few of them. I felt this was a place and holiday which was an odd choice for this man to make. I also felt the holiday venue could have done with an inspection by health and safety, because many of the tours the holiday makers took were fraught with danger.

As I read further into the journal I couldn’t help feeling Martin was accident prone, but then the accidents took a sinister turn. Things like a pile of roof slates falling on him when the group visit a slate making factory, then his bed goes on fire, he’s pushed over a precipice, warned of danger by a priest, and is lost in the jungle. All this, plus the knowledge that this man will not survive, makes it plain he is being hunted by someone with homicidal tendencies.

I did cringe at places when he did silly things, such as eavesdropping, looking through bathroom keyholes, and his encounter with a masseuse – I won’t go into details about that.

I didn’t find Martin a likeable character, nor did I find his antics particularly appealing. The comic nature of the situations he found himself in, also eluded me, however I think I may lack a funny bone, and I’ve never found the slipping on a banana skin type of humour, funny.

However there was a growing feeling of menace as the journal progressed. There was also a great feeling of the primitive nature of the country which was largely uncivilised.

I think the author achieved what he set out to do and this was an unusual and intriguing book.

Reviewed by Chris Longmuir

Available in Kindle format 

Find out more about Robert Dodds



One thought on “Sitting Duck by Robert Dodds

  1. It did concern me that I failed to appreciate the humour in this book, therefore I asked a friend, humorous writer, Liz Strachan (author of A Slice of Pi), for a second opinion. Liz not only read the book but she also bought her own copy, and said she enjoyed reading it. She felt it was a spoof on package holidays, and there were places where she laughed out loud, so her verdict was that it was a comic novel.

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