Mark Timlin, INDEPENDENT, Crime Books of the Year:
'Chris Haslam's latest novel, El Sid is a classic case of the biter bit, as small time criminal Lenny Knowles, stupid but convinced that his intellect is the equal of anyone's, meets Spanish civil war veteran Sidney Starman, aka El Sid, who claims he knows the whereabouts of a stash of hidden Republican gold. Lenny, Sid and Lenny's ex-cell mate Nick Crick set off to liberate the treasure and live happily ever after. No chance. The story cuts back and forth between the present and the past as Sid relates stories of the war, and the trio rage around Spain getting deeper into trouble every day, until a terrific climax where Lenny discovers he's not half as smart as the old soldier.
Chris Haslam lived in southern Spain for a couple of years. He now lives and works in London.
Haslam's third crazy crime caper puts him in a league all of his own
Chris Haslam's gift for creating excellent crime capers continues unabated with El Sid . . . A brilliantly funny ride
Black comedy with distinctly English kicks . . . A crime caper with a "Lock Stock" twist . . . Highly recommended
Although there is a steady vein of humour, this has more gravitas (and evidence of impeccable research) than Haslam's previous books, and is all the better for it.