Junior creative Tim Callaghan can hardly believe his luck when he's flown out to Dubai to supervise the filming of an advert for an international charity.
He is immediately entranced by the city - a futuristic environment unlike anywhere he's ever been before, with an almost uncanny level of customer service.
Shimmering and seductive, it seems as though nothing bad could ever happen in Dubai.
But when a crew member is found dead in in mysterious circumstances, Tim learns that if a place seems too good to be true, it probably is . . .
The Place That Didn't Exist by Mark Watson was published in hardback by Picador on 14 July 2016,
I have one hardback copy of The Place That Didn't Exist to give away. Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget at the end of this post. UK ENTRIES ONLY PLEASE. Good luck!
Mark Watson is a well-known comedian and writer. His dry wit and sharp sense of humour is apparent throughout The Place That Didn't Exist, although this isn't a comedy-novel. The plot revolves around a murder, but this isn't a crime novel, or a mystery story. It's a really compelling, quite refreshing story about an ordinary guy, in an extraordinary place, in the middle of some very strange goings on.
The lead character, Tim, is an advertising executive. He's creative, full of ideas, but a little bit reserved. He pitched for a big advertising campaign, highlighting the inequalities of poverty throughout the world, and his firm won the contract. Tim finds himself in Dubai, surrounded by high-profile charity campaigners, more than a little strange celebrities and a crew of film-makers.
Dubai is a crazy place. Tim is overwhelmed by the luxury and the wealth. He doesn't even have to turn down his own sheets, everything is provided, every last thing is done for him. This is like nowhere else he's ever been. Unfortunately, not everything is perfect in Dubai, and the ad shoot is rocked when one of the crew is found dead, in one of the perfect chalets, not far away from Tim's.
The Place That Didn't Exist is driven by the characters, who are well-drawn and believable. Alongside the human cast, is the location of Dubai, which is as much a character as Tim and the others. Mark Watson details a peculiar yet very atmospheric place. Starkly clean and clinical, yet teeming with darkness and hidden secrets.
Sharp, well written, astute and clever. The Place That Didn't Exist is a novel with bags of emotion and great shots of warmth. I enjoyed it.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.
One Hardback copy of The Place That Didn't Exist by Mark Watson
Mark Watson is the acclaimed author of several novels, most recently Hotel Alpha and the co-authored (with Oliver Harud) graphic novel, Dan and Sam.
He regularly appears on TV, has had his own cult Radio 4 series and been named the Edinburgh Fringe Festival's highest achiever of the decade by The Times, having performed a series of legendery 24-hour shows.
He has a home in north London, but mostly lives in hotels.
Find out more at www.markwatsonthecomedian.com
Follow him on Twitter @watsoncomedian