REVIEW ✓ Any Human Face

  • Paperback
  • 323
  • Any Human Face
  • Charles Lambert
  • en
  • 08 June 2017
  • 9780330512992

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Any Human Face

Charles Lambert ✓ 1 REVIEW

E the opening and the display seized with surprising violence In his uest to understand the significance of the pictures Andrew crosses paths with Alessandro a journalist who knows about their history than Andrew can imagine But Alessandro offers hope as well as information hope in a world where kidnap subterfuge and even murder are the norm; a world of criminal intrigu. Very much enjoyed this complex and beautifully written book Some reviews have called it an Italian gay thriller Yes it isbut it has far greater depths and understanding of the human state than that implies Intricate murky worlds of crime and some wonderful almost Dickensian grotesues revolve around a uest for friendship acceptance and love You may begin this book thinking you know where the corruption lies You will end it with your eyes opened up to something far sinister and infinitely less palatable


Andrew Caruso has been a second hand book dealer in Rome for thirty years when a collection of old photographs changes his life forever He finds the photos among the possessions of his ex lover Michel; the images possibly from police archives are fascinating but when Andrew and his art critic friend Daniela decide to launch an exhibition the shop is raided the day befor. I'm bringing back this review in support of author Charles Lambert's new novel A View from the Tower Christopher Moore should write a gay James Bond Or maybe I should Film rights would be snapped up in a jiffy Stick around kids I’m tossing out million dollar ideas like condoms at a Pride Parade Charles Lambert’s new novel Any Human Face is being called in the UK press a thriller “set on the seamier fringe of Rome’s gay scene” However if you come to Any Human Face expecting The Bourne Gay Identity you’ll be disappointed If you come looking for weighty believable human drama set within multi layered political intrigue then you’ve turned the right pageI think that the Guardian’s description of the setting as “the seamier fringe of Rome’s gay scene” is a bit o’ backhanded homophobia Yes there is a character who shoots some “pornographic” photography and probably video too but he’s rather a Mother Hen type who takes care of any stray gay or bird off the street He’s on the noble side than the seamy side and the main relationships in the story are uite sensitive not sleazy All the sleaze murders are political and unrelated to sexual identity Yes there are some graphic sexual moments but only to reflect what occurs in real relationships I mean likeyou’ve done it right suireI would describe this novel rather as a thoughtful character study of a uirky gay bookstore owner and sometime artantiuity dealer named Andrew in Rome who stumbles into a political vipers nest involving high level politicians and Vatican officials doing very bad things At its core the story is about Andrew’s struggle to overcome heartbreak from his past and learn to love again This book being a literary work and not a hack best seller Lambert manages to integrate some thoughtful commentary on writing art and photography as well by having the main character try to set up an art show in his bookstore Lambert creates an interesting juxtaposition between theorycritiue and reality through this art show The co curator of the show expresses a complex gibberish of analysis to explain how the photographs in the exhibit are “Art” When the reality is that one of the photographs reveals an actual crime being committed; it’s a performative photograph if you will that is FUCKING EVIDENCE OF A crime i will not identify so as not to spoil it but you can probably guess Soehemfuck your critiue Of course Lambert isn’t anti intellectual but he certainly shows how literary and art theory can tie itself up in a knot of incestuous bullcrapJust as in his short stories Lambert doesn’t grandstand as a writer rather he creates a compelling reality and allows the characters to express themselves naturally I found Andrew to be absolutely convincing as a real human being Although the book is not as fast paced as you might expect a thriller to be when Andrew was in actual physical danger in the story my heart was racing and I couldn’t put the book down Any Human Face has uite a few interesting characters including the Mother Hen character I mentioned before who dresses like a “tribal ueen or brothel keeper” in swathes of flowery curtain pajamas And the bitchiest rich hag of an art gallery maven you’ll ever come across I thoroughly enjoyed this novel as a taste of Rome and the inner life and struggles of Andrew to make a life for himself despite his fears of aging of failing and than anything else of being lonely


E in which no one is safe or above suspicion Meanwhile in a cellar a kidnapped girl hopes desperately for rescue Part thriller part love story Charles Lambert's second novel is both gripping and exhilarating; brilliant and hard edged it clearly marks Lambert as a name to note 'Charles Lambert writes as if his life depends on it He takes risks at every turn' Hannah Tinti. In 1983 Alex is asked by his mentor and lover Bruno to hold on to a few bags for him for a few days When Alex returns to Bruno’s place after taking the bags to his own apartment he finds Bruno murdered and mutilated Scared Alex decides he has to get rid of the bags which turn out to contain photo’s and sells them to a young photographerIn a plot line that initially appears unrelated a young girl who is not named is kidnapped at an unidentified time for reasons that are unclear to her and the readerIn 2008 Andrew Caruso owner of a second hand bookshop in Rome finds some bags which used to belong to a lover of his who died apparently by suicide years ago The bags contain mug shots photos of crime scenes and other photographs clearly from police archives In honour of his former lover Andrew decides to show the photographs in an exhibition but shortly before the show is due to open official looking man enter Andrew’s place confiscate everything they can find and take Andrew away to an unknown destinationWhy are these photographs so sensitive after all these years who is afraid of having them shown in public and how will Andrew get himself out of this mess he unwittingly landed himself intoThis is a literary thriller if ever I read one Yes the story features murder unexplained deaths and kidnapping but they are not the main points of interest for the author Charles Lambert is far interested in the inner lives of his characters their thoughts feelings and lifestyles Set in the gay scene in Rome this book pictures a rather seedy community where love is often not the main reason for people being together and where most are looking after number one However it is also a place where the few real friends you have will do almost anything to help you and where acts of unselfishness stand out a mileAnyone reading the blurb on the back of the book would expect to be landed in the middle of the action almost immediately upon opening the book which is not the case The lead up to the raid on Andrew’s place takes about half the book However that lead up is well used by the author to establish the characters and to give the reader some clues as to what may or may not be going on with the photos This leads to the reader having an advantage over the characters in the book but only a slight one And by the time the book ends this is still the case Not all uestions are conclusively answered by the author Some interpretations are left up to the reader which pleased me because it gave the story a realistic feel which is often missing from the thrillers I readA fascinating book if a bit off the beaten track which had me thinking about the story for some time after I finished reading it

About the Author: Charles Lambert

Charles Lambert was born in the United Kingdom but has lived in Italy for most of his adult life His most recent novel is Prodigal His previous novel The Children's Home was described by Kirkus Reviews as 'a one of a kind literary horror story' while Two Dark Tales published in October 2017 continues to disturb Earlier books include three novels a collection of prize winning short stories