Toby ‘English’ Litt opens the eighth of his projected twenty-six novels with a brilliant piece of defamiliarisation. He brings us in to land on the halogen-lit helipad of Hospital in a Dauphin XTP 3000 piloted by Hank ‘Cowboy’ Smith; Bill ‘Zapper’ Billson unloads an unidentified Caucasian male – plus a worried small boy – into the waiting hands of one Sir Reginald Saint-Hellier and his trauma team. Electric doors shoom; strip lights scroll. The language signifies science fiction – but it takes a second reading to confirm that no detail Litt has given us is especially futuristic, or inconceivable. In fact, this is pretty standard modern medical procedure. But isn’t it strange?