I've just finished reading 'Meltdown' by Ben Elton. I've been an avid reader of his books for a number of years now; his style of writing is so dry and he doesn't even try to pretend that he's not ripping off the X-Factor (in Chart Throb), transport systems (Gridlock) or Big Brother (Dead Famous). His general style is to take something that's happening at the moment - whether it's a TV programme or a political or social movement, and to run it to the absolute extreme. His humour is brilliant, and it's so easy to recognise yourself in so many of his characters.
However, I've found his last couple of books to be somewhat lacking. 'Chart Throb' I found to be annoyingly repetitive (though as this is the same effect that X Factor has on me maybe it did its job!) and Blind Faith to be just a bit too extreme so it became unbelieveable.
It was fantastic therefore, to see him return to form in his latest offering, 'Meltdown'. This book follows a group of high flying friends through the credit crunch as their fortunes (and friendships) take a nosedive. He looks at the banking crisis (the first bank to go under is Caledonian Granite, reminiscent of Northern Rock anyone?!), cash for honours, MPs expenses, insider trading and the the property market. With such a wealth of subject material he can really go to town on developing a great cast of characters, some of whom you love and some of whom you want to slap.
If the credit crunch has been getting you down and you can't see the funny side, then read this book. The subject matter may be serious but the writing is hilarious.
(Picture from www.amazon.co.uk)