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The Crack Magazine

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The Perfect Golden Circle by Benjamin Myers

While reading Benjamin Myers’ latest I was reminded of the BBC series ‘The Detectorists’. The joy of that programme was that while it featured two blokes mucking about in fields with metal detectors, it wasn’t about two blokes mucking about in fields with metal detectors. It was about how the pair interacted with each other. It was also about the beauty of the landscape they inhabited. ‘The Perfect Golden Circle’, meanwhile, also features two blokes mucking about in fields. They’re not, however, looking for buried Saxon treasure or Roman coins. They’re making crop circles. It’s 1989 and the two blokes are Calvert, a traumatized Falklands veteran, and Redbone, sometimes member of sundry anarcho punk bands and enthusiastic consumer of homemade cider and hallucinogens. Redbone is the one tasked with coming up with the increasingly outré crop circle designs, while Calvert has the expertise to see them brought to fruition. There’s no contrived narrative pull – no rival crop circlers to outwit, no intrepid coppers hunting them down – but the subject matter is perfect for Myers. His novels, from police procedurals such as ‘Turning Blue’ to historical pieces such as ‘The Gallows Pole’, have always felt like they’ve been hewn from the earth’s clay and ‘The Perfect Golden Circle’ is no different: “And after the thunder and the storm, the air has cleared. It has a fresh new scent, and earthen musk, and the July night is a folk song, sung between the soil and the sky.” This book is like a slice of folk horror without the horror. Folk peculiar. Or peculiar folk, perhaps. RM