Banana Pier


‘This first novel is a thrilling, hypnotic and thought provoking production’

‘a real page turner ‘

‘fast-paced political novel is its ability to straddle and connect the three very different worlds of Northern Irish sectarianism, the fall of the Soviet Union and the oil industry in Aberdeen’

‘The dialogue, like the story, crackles and sparkles’
‘This is a very unusual book’

Thank you so much, it is a lovely read that kept me guessing to the very end. I think I got there…but I’m not actually sure Winking smile. There were mony mony wee inside jokes that mean nothing outside the Granite City, that fair tickled me.

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5.0 out of 5 stars 

Fit Like Mikhail?

This first novel is a thrilling, hypnotic and thought provoking production. Switching convincingly from Aberdeen to Belfast and Moscow, there is more than an undercurrent of rage against the inhumanity of the state machine (of whatever type) grinding on and protecting its perceived interests regardless of the human cost.

Sharp research, Doric vernacular, and clever plotting are turned into a work of real depth by the quality of the writing and the sense of place. Characters are multi layered, and identities are adopted, inherited and exploited to add a dark existential sense to what is much, much more than a ‘run of the mill’ thriller. Who do we trust? Where are our sympathies best applied in a post cold war landsape of change and uncertainty? Alex Chisolm poses some unsettling questions and challenges the preconceptions of the liberal reader. Great stuff, let’s hope there is more to come from this startling new writer.


 5.0 out of 5 stars

Intricate plot, great read

This review is from: Banana Pier (Paperback) This was a real page turner. Set in Aberdeen and Russia with occasional flashbacks to Ireland and Germany the plot is fast paced and intricate. Not one to read as a few pages at a time, needs to be read in chunks to keep track of all the characters. I found the doric at the beginning a little hard to read at the start and I live in Aberdeen, but you get used to it after a few pages and there is less and less of it as the book progresses.

A very enjoyable read and hard to believe it is a first novel. Hope there is going to be another one.

 No Banana Skin with Banana Pier

The great strength of this fast-paced political novel is its ability to straddle and connect the three very different worlds of Northern Irish sectarianism, the fall of the Soviet Union and the oil industry in Aberdeen. It seems clear that not only has the author undertaken a large amount of research into the background politics but also appears to know the areas in which action occurs. Descriptions of Aberdeen and Moscow-Leningrad are especially vivid. Through the crisp use of language I was convinced of the reality of the characters and it was particularly delightful to be faced with the Doric of the North East of Scotland, not often found in novels. The book does make demands of the reader as Alex Chisholm explores the dark, brutal and duplicitous worlds of the Security State and post-Soviet gangsterism but it is well worth it not only for fast action of the plot but particularly so for the subtle psychological flow of the character McHardy around whom much of the action revolves.
I can see how le Carre’s work influenced the novelist. 


5.0 out of 5 stars 

A fine first novel – and a classy political thriller.

“Banana Pier” features a labyrinthine plot involving corruption
in politics and business, allied to the British Government’s
dirty war in Northern Ireland, and one of its’ sleeper agents in the
declining Soviet Empire of the 1990’s.

It travels from Aberdeen in Scotland, via Belfast – with small diversions
in South Africa and West Germany – to the streets of Moscow and Leningrad,
with stories of arms deals, the rise of the extremist right
and gangsterism in Eastern Europe. Along the way there are a wealth of characters,
some on the edges, some pulling the strings and others in way over their

At the centre, the book’s main characters are Robert Coulthard,
described as a “hero with dirty hands” and his long-time
military handler, Roderick Bell – a twisted patriot whose entire family
is mired deep in Britain’s diplomatic and military dirty tricks.

The plot is heavy with suspicion and paranoia with enough well
researched historical and political references to satisfy
the most demanding of conspiracy theorists.

Coulthard is the key. A man of many identities, who stores secrets, stretching
from his childhood to his involvment in British intelligence
machinations in Ulster and Gorbachev’s Russia.

The dialogue, like the story, crackles and sparkles.

People die in mysterious circumstances, others are killed out of hand – all
to maintain various lies some of which, ever so slowly, begin to rise to the surface.

It really is an intriguing tale filled with great insights to people and
places in 1990’s communist Russia and well worthy of any thriller reader’s time.

5.0 out of 5 stars  

First class read

This is a very unusual book, the first chapter is written mainly in the Doric and whilst I am not from Aberdeen I understood every word.

The only bit that put me off was the flow of the Doric was spoilt with too many English words popping up.

The story is set in Russia and Aberdeen and having an interest in Russia I was familiar with many of the place names and one of the characters (Adam Menelaws) who features in the story.

The use of the Doric is a good one as it,like Russian is very expressive and reminded me of my visit to a number of museums in St. Petersburg where the audio guides you can hire have a translation,spoken in a very wimpish English accent.

I tried to explain to my Russian friends that A Scottish voice is what they should have as it would convey the pride and the passion that Russians have. Another reviewer makes a very good point that it is better read when time allows longers sessions rather than a few pages at a time.      





Wars fought with British hardware which bring  slaughter to the hopeless, the jobless, the diseased and the starving in lands far enough away so they are never going to impinge on the conscience of any Westerner with a mortgage on his house

In lucid moments, Coulthard accepts how his mind has become scrambled more than Dinger will ever know. Sometimes then he thinks he is himself. But he doesn’t like himself. He likes being other people

Robert Coulthard couldn’t sleep after Mance’s visit, so he took himself out into the night in search of someone, conceivably Mance, but perhaps just someone like her. He wasn’t thinking that deeply

ISBN 9781780880143

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