WHEN ONE HAS been as stratospherically successful as Helen Fielding and hit all the jackpots at once - the bestseller jackpot, the film jackpot, and almost the Oscars jackpot into the bargain - the temptation to abandon oneself to a decadent life of leisure must be strong. The reason for Fielding's continuing to write is, I suspect, contained in a line in this book. Olivia Joules, the glam, globetrotting journalist heroine, is from Worksop. Despite numerous fascinating distractions, she always hits her deadlines and the pieces are always perfect - exemplifying, Fielding wryly remarks, 'the northern work ethic that got her out of the land of the northern work ethic'. There is, one imagines, a lot of Yorkshire-born Fielding in Olivia Joules.
Olivia will no doubt fly off the shelves thanks to the popularity of her predecessor, Bridget Jones. But what will Bridget fans make of her? The book has some very unBridget-like dark areas, including scores of violent deaths and an anti-hero who turns out to be a psychopathic Al-Qaeda member