“The eyes are exceptional, dark framed like his hair, even the lids are shaded. It is a wonderful Norse face, not handsome in a conventional sense; the nose is too sharp his expression too intellectual. No you don’t need to tell me, it is obvious I have fallen under his spell.”
Kotlyarevski on Gunnar
An entertaining blend of mystery, humour, and drama, laced with some shots of graphic sex, GUNNAR spins four novels into one experience, with more than sixty named characters and 155,000 words.
Part I - Gunnar and the Hit Man: Wealthy Financier and art collector Gunnar Sharness has a predilection for attractive men. A chance pick-up in a London gay bar threatens to end his life when he discovers the stranger is a hit man and he is the target. But who is the hit man and where do the police fit in?
Part II – Gunnar and the Porn Stars: Ukrainian magnate Sergei Kotlyarevski asks to meet Gunnar at an Eastern European Embassy conference. In the same week Gunnar receives an anonymous porn video set in Kiev and decides he’s fallen for the star. In trying to locate him Gunnar becomes embroiled in a plot to extricate gay activists from Russia and finds himself a murder suspect.
Part III – Gunnar and The Ahasverus: Gunnar wants to purchase a vintage trysail ketch The Ahasverus, to say nothing of its mythic four-man crew. French owners, Lofrés, are procrastinating. Meanwhile the Russians have obtained a hostile FBI report - a US strategy for the colonization of the Moon, but is it authentic? A further complication: French Canadian researchers have discovered rock samples from the Moon could revolutionize nuclear energy production. Unexpectedly Lofrés want to negotiate with Gunnar about The Ahasverus, but why?
Part IV – Gunnar and the Ethiopian: Builders in Berlin uncover a hoard of 20th century artworks apparently seized by the Nazis. The find is complicated by the bodies of two Russian officers, shot dead by British revolvers. When the Italians cancel a Berlin exhibition featuring Futurist works from Gunnar’s collection, his friend Lord Pemmerton persuades him to contact Theodore Rimmer, ex-model turned diplomat.
‘I find I’m fingering the laptop and realize D drive is active, are yes, he was talking about this DVD of his uncle’s, funny the way Gunnar goes off at tangents, multi-millionaire’s license I suppose. I put the cursor on play, hoping his uncle isn’t into motor racing - I’ve had enough of Kelder for one day.
Now I’m all knocked back. Everything’s transforming around me: all the lights are dimming down, blinds are unfolding on the windows and a giant screen is opening from nowhere in the far wall. This is crazy: my chair is adjusting all by itself. I pull my fingers back in case the laptop slams shut. Gunnar is seriously detached from reality – ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ fantasies. No wonder he doesn’t relate to Inspector Taine.
No credits either, I’m pitched straight into a Technicolor thirty-five-millimetre panorama job. Lake, mountains, snow in the distance, superb photography, but the camerawork is personal not travelogue, no way. The soundtrack is special too, music’s utterly unfamiliar to me. It’s plain Gunnar’s Chapel has the latest surround-sound technology; I’m find I’m subsumed in this cold, incredibly solitary melody; not electronic exactly, it is floating, detached, now glissades through the orchestra and this is suspended too, the harmony static. The camera focuses on a cycle path coming up from the valley and I’m following a lone cyclist, slim wiry, glistening black hair like its wet. Ah he’s coming more into view; I realize he is dressed only in white shorts, stripped to the waist. This is still a teenager, about eighteen.’
Writer and media executive Conrad Robarts, read English Literature at Cambridge University. After graduating, he joined The Times and has since worked for several European media groups. Gunnar is his first novel.
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