Mr. Heming, the narrator of A Pleasure and a Calling, is more than an uninvited guest: He’s the guest you never knew you had. Channeling the socially detached and unnerving personality of Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, Phil Hogan creates a character that will inspire intrigue as well as ire.
Heming owns the premiere real estate agency in his small English town, which provides him a steady flow of money—and keys to most of its residents’ houses, which he uses to indulge his penchant for snooping. He takes his obsession to sociopathic levels, noting the routines and habits of every house he violates and taking home mementos of his conquests. Heming hides his fetish well, until the day he is caught sneaking through a house after a lovers’ quarrel. Readers will begin to question their own morality as they watch the protagonist go to extreme lengths to cover his tracks.
A Pleasure and a Calling takes readers into the mind of a truly disturbed man and follows the development of his psychosis. Jumping from the present day to Heming’s past, from childhood curiosity and tragedy to the inability to maintain conventional relationships as an adult, the creation of a monster is unveiled.
Hogan’s writing style echoes the creepiness of his main character. The lack of emotional adjectives and use of idiocentric phrases further solidify the darkness of our complicated narrator. This perfectly paced psychological suspense story is a roller-coaster ride through paranoia and manipulation.