J.G. Ballard - "Cocaine Nights"

‘Crossing frontiers is my profession. Those strips of no-man’s lands between the checkpoints always seem such zones of promise, rich with possibilities of new lives, new scents and affections. At the same time they set off a reflex of unease that I have never been able to repress.’ The unease here in the opening lines of Ballard’s Mediterranean masterpiece is the current that flows between all its wealthy and retired characters, set against the white balconies and tennis courts of the Costa del Sol. At the Estrella del Mar resort the travel writer Charles Prentice arrives to find his brother, manager of the Club Nautico, held in prison on five counts of murder. Searching for answers, Prentice is swept towards an inner world of vice and criminality within the gated luxury complex, whose bored occupants devote equal time to leisure activities and night-time bacchanalia. Reading with a towel around your shoulders and sipping gin and cucumber, you may find yourself thinking that Cocaine Nights is the holiday novel. JD

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