Book Review: I Am Max Lamm by Raphael Brous

I Am Max Lamm by Raphael BrousI Am Max Lamm: What it is about

The publisher says: “A young tennis prodigy with a wildcard to the US open, Max Lamm’s future looks bright . . . until footage of him enjoying a night of passion with a Salvadorean prostitute in New York appears on the Internet, and categorically derails his career. After a bungled suicide attempt in the Hudson River, he decides to flee America and begin a new life in London.

But Max is jinxed. One night, in Camden, he accidentally kills a fifteen-year-old Pakistani boy who tries to mug him -inadvertently sparking the worst race riots seen in the East End of the capital in over a generation. On the run, Max finally finds refuge beneath Hyde Park. Deep underground, with chaos raging in the streets above, he tries to plot his salvation.

I am Max Lamm is a darkly humorous exploration of family loyalty, disgrace and collective hysteria in an age of terror.

I Am Max Lamm: What I thought

I loved the premise of this book: a young man accidentally kills a Pakistani boy which leads to race riots in London. Max Lamm, the perpetrator, goes into hiding even before he realises the extend of the consequences of the murder. We follow him over the next few days.

There are very few characters in the book. There is one other main character, Kelly, who is introduced quite late in the book, at the point where I didn’t expect another main character to enter the story. Kelly was briefly present in an early chapter, but she seemed peripheral at the time. I liked Kelly’s story a lot more than Max’ and she made the book much more interesting for me. She was a weak woman who became strong through training, and I loved reading about her history from before she arrived in London.

Max’ story is full of politics, sex, and a bad tennis career. I especially found his thoughts on politics and his own history as a tennis player almost like an onslaught on my brain. There were so many images, ideas, situations, that it became rather too much to be interesting, at points.

Max, in his runaway confused state, is rather naive in thinking that he can solve his problems via Kelly. I wasn’t convinced that he really thought this was a good plan. Still, I must have somehow got attached to Max, as towards the end I was really hoping for a good outcome.

The idea that an accidental attack leads to race riots was very good, and Max’ hiding story was also interesting. Kelly’s story was the best for me. The book contains a lot of good points, but overall, I wasn’t quite as gripped by it as I had hoped.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (OK to good)

Number of pages: 240

First published: 2013

I got this: from Corsair for review

Genre: contemporary fiction

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

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