Review: The Fairfax Redemption by Christopher Shevlin review

The Fairfax Redemption by Christopher Shevlin

Bjørn reviews The Fairfax Redemption, the fourth, standalone novel in the Jonathon Fairfax series by Christopher Shevlin.

Review(s) of previous book(s): The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax, Jonathon Fairfax Must Be Destroyed, The Spy Who Came in from the Bin

About the Book
Series:Jonathon Fairfax #4 standalone
Genre:Political satire, humorous dark comedy
Date of Publishing:June 12, 2024
Trigger Warnings:murder, bodily injuries of various sorts, politicians
Page count:483
Book Blurb
The Fairfax Redemption by Christopher Shevlin

Ever feel like the whole world is conspiring against you?

Jonathon Fairfax can’t even get on the London Underground without bumping into someone he’s desperate to avoid – like Rachel, his first love, who demolished his heart eleven years ago. His frail nervous system buckles when she tells him that her terrifying uncle (a man Jonathon knows only as ‘the murderer’) is about to be released from prison.

Does the murderer blame Jonathon for his time inside? Will he seek revenge?

To find out, Jonathon follows him – until the trail ends at a mysterious north London chicken shop, shrouded in sinister rumours. As Jonathon tries to untangle the truth, he gets drawn ever deeper into a web of conspiracy theorists, organised criminals and evil Etonians.

But who should Jonathon really be afraid of? The murderer on the loose or bumbling celebrity politician Teddy Robinson? The Russian mafia or the owner of a chain of chicken shops whose fries – if the dark rumours are true – may not be made of potato?

After all, they can’t all be out to get him … um, can they?

The Fairfax Redemption is the fourth book in the massively popular Jonathon Fairfax series, sure to be loved by fans of Douglas Adams, PG Wodehouse and Caimh McDonnell.

Pick up the latest Jonathon Fairfax novel – sequel to three Amazon The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax (‘A comic gem’ Stylist, shortlisted for the Bath Novel Award); Jonathon Fairfax Must Be Destroyed (‘A funny, daft-yet-relatable, nerve-jangly thriller’ Emerald Street); and The Spy Who Came in from the Bin (‘Like The Bourne Identity reworked by Douglas Adams’ Scott Pack, Waterstones Head Buyer 2000-6).

The Jonathon Fairfax novels don’t have to be read in order.

Quote of the Book
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“I never really had a theory about any of the real conspiracies I was involved in. I think maybe if you have a theory, you’ve already missed the conspiracy.”

Song of the Book

I have a problem. [Just the one, dear? – Ed] When I discover a book and fall in love with it, and it turns out to be a series, I immediately binge all of it. This is the worst when the book I just discovered is the latest, or, worse, last part. The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax, book one in the Jonathon Fairfax series, came out in 2012. Christopher Shevlin is not an extremely prolific author, and so when I finished book three – The Spy Who Came in the Bin a week later, I immediately got withdrawal symptoms. And Fortune smiled at me! The author’s website indicated the fourth book was coming out ‘soon’ so I contacted him to ask how soon was soon, and it turned out soon was actually June 12. I received a free ARC, which did not influence this review. It didn’t need to.

The Fairfax Redemption brings back a few characters I got to know and love/fear/hate/have a crush on in the previous three books. One of them comes back from prison, where he landed because of Jonathon, and another comes back from Jonathon’s complicated ex-love life, where… um. Well. Fortunately they’re relatives, so Jonathon is able to avoid awkward encounters with both at once by spending time with them on purpose. This is cut short when he lands in prison himself, for not having noticed that his hearing regarding a folder inside his pants has started (and ended), bunking (this is not a double entendre) with his new friend Jamali, whom I now have a crush on. Being in prison generally helps with not getting killed, especially when nobody including Jonathon’s significant other and the other significant other can figure out which prison it is. Unfortunately, prisons also contain people who would quite like to kill Jonathon. And all he’s doing is being himself.

[Note to Queen: do we have a facepalm to end all facepalms GIF? Can contain a panda. As long as the panda falls off something and kills a passer-by.]

[I’d just skip the GIF and leave this note, honestly – Ed.]

[Um, I’m sorry – Jonathon]

The Fairfax Redemption delivers when it comes to biting satire of the highest calibre. Shevlin picks another topic too close for comfort (mine, not Jonathon’s, although that too) – conspiracy theories. People who create them, share, add to them, and use the worst advice left-wing Twitter (RIP) has ever uttered: “educate yourself.” Oh, they educate themselves thoroughly, with the help of social media and a company specialised in spreading conspiracy theories. Jonathon gets a job there to disprove a different conspiracy theory, accidentally gets arrested with the theory quite literally inside his pants in the form of a folder, which leads the company’s owner to the realisation that the police have arrived a bit too quickly. Almost as if they knew something. Almost as if Jonathon has actually agreed with them that this folder would disappear and land in the safest place, if you never want to find something: my studio police files.

Just because you’re creating and spreading conspiracy theories for living, that doesn’t mean they’re not out there to get you!

Satire doesn’t necessarily have to be funny – it’s not comedy. The Fairfax Redemption is simultaneously hilarious and brutally real. Because this is the world that the humankind has deliberately created. Also, Great Britain gonna Great Britain, and I am writing this while living in a country that sent me a letter to inform me they were going to send me a letter, which then proceeded to never arrive. (The pair of cops who apply the nuclear weapon that is bureaucracy to the person who called them, then, being turncoats, do the same to the one that actually deserves it is both hilarious and terrifying.)The Fairfax Redemption is not as fantastic as my favourite book in the series (and of 2024) so far, Jonathon Fairfax Must Be Destroyed, but then, there can only be one favourite book of 2024, even in a four-book series.

It’s thrilling, bloody, awkward, sweet, realistic, painful, and something inside me whispers “this is actually a real story, and if you don’t believe it…educate yourself.” If it doesn’t make you laugh, please follow me to room 2A, where you will fill the form explaining why you require to fill the form listing all the jokes in the book, ticking the ones you did not get, and we’ll get back to you within 3-4 weeks, which you’re going to spend in medium-rare security prison for your own good.

Our Judgement
Let Their Deeds Be Noted - 4 Crowns

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