James is exactly what you’d expect from one of London’s most promising, young town planners. He’s cautious, respected by colleagues and performs well in team meetings. But while James understands the glitter and grime of the city better than almost anyone, he hasn’t actually experienced much of it. And, as he watches his university friends blossom bewilderingly into rich and successful adults, he has the nagging sense that he has somehow fallen by the wayside.
That is, until he meets Felix, who navigates the glamorous and cynical capital with sophisticated ease. Felix introduces James to a London that he has never known, and which doesn’t feature in the planning manuals: a world of private clubs and executive football boxes; of book launches, contemporary art galleries, suburban drug dealers and dates with women even more exotic than the peculiar vodka shots they drink.
But London is an expensive city in many ways, and the world Felix has opened up comes at a cost. James may know how to design housing estates and high streets, but is it really possible to redraw the masterplan for his own life? And what will he lose along the way?
"Made me laugh more times than any book in recent times, while being in some ways colossally sad. Campbell treats the subject of modern London with an elegant, vicious wit that is hugely addictive, but also with a sort of compassion and even affection. A genuinely funny, scathing, intelligent book that manages to nail both the lunacy of modern urban living and the more general problem of being a human being" - Mark Watson
"Compelling, mysterious and deeply beguiling, The Planner maintains its suspense until the very last page" - Matt Thorne
"Campbell's congenial satire is often acutely observed and his morsel of pabulum are always palatable . Most importantly, Campbell has created his own strategic framework to achieve the key objective of commanding our sustained attention. A consistently enjoyable page-turner". - Independent on Sunday
"His tumultuous journey of hedonism and aspiration is told in refreshingly plain (and sometimes explicit) language, with witty observations about the city that are wickedly accurate . Both hilarious and insightful" - 5 stars, Lady
"I'm spoilt for choice with lines to quote from this deliciously cynical view of London's bright young things" - Sainsbury's Magazine
"Tom Campbell's second novel draws for us a map of London. It is a sprawling, unpredictable web, running on cocaine, staffed by escorts and observed from corporate football boxes...THE PLANNER is a familiar story of a rational bloke, outstripped socially and professionally by hedonistic friends whose gratuitous lifestyles should have earned some kind of comeuppance. London is comically framed through the eyes of this ordinary man and resists order, morality and good economic sense. And therein lies the injustice, but also the thrill, of modern, urban living." - India Ross, Financial Times
"Tom Campbell employs his lavish comic gifts to especially good effect...I loved it." - Oxford Times