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Stickleback

by John McCabe

Enjoyable, blokey book about a long suffering IT contractor. Irrational hatred of office colleagues and predictable routines sustain Ian Gillick, but on his 29th birthday everything unravels and his life descends into chaos and a shady underworld of criminal activities. It starts out as a fairly typical read about male habits, but its cynical humour and sharp observation lift it above the average.

Extract

Archie planned his evening's viewing from the TV listings. He would mutter and mumble, and scheme, all with the aid of his beloved transparent blue Bic biro, which seemed to be perpetually on the verge of running out of ink. Ian had asked him about it, and Archie had told him his pen was his pride and joy, because in common with everyone else who has ever owned a Bic biro, he had never managed to hang onto one long enough for it actually to run out of ink, and here at last was his big chance. Ian had been envious, momentarily at least, before regaining his composure, and wondering whether there was any way of filling it back up when Archie wasn't looking.

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