reviewed by Cy Wyss
The Rimmer Tree is the story of Alan Cain, a mid-level government housing manager in a mid-sized town in England. He’s in many ways not entirely sympathetic, as the general dislike of him by almost every other character in the book evidences. Still, at this particularly difficult juncture of his life, he manages to find the strength to rise up and overcome the odds against him. These include a nasty divorce that is turning his kids away from him, a murder rap, and a fraud accusation. I found the book gently difficult in the beginning because of dialect issues (there are many British colloquialisms whereas I am American). On the other hand, if it weren’t for the dialect and hopping prose of Kildarra I might have missed such gems as one character’s face being compared to a “gargoyle suffering from constipation” or the one about an “ant’s pecker” and an “elephant’s arse.”
The book really takes off at 40% when Cain saves Rebecca from an unknown assailant in a parking garage. From that point on, it’s constant action and chase, which I love. The police are after Cain, the assailant is after Rebecca (and Cain), and everyone else is out for Cain’s blood too, which somehow Rebecca is not (gotta love her for that, she recognizes his self-deprecating moroseness for what it is, not for an antisocial psychopathy). Who are the bad guys? Everyone? Well, the plot is full of twists and turns but Kildarra pulls everything together by the end and unifies the cast at last. It’s a great ending after a great read. Don’t hesitate!