Nick Cave (Canongate) Out now

There’s no question that, when it comes to making music and scoring films, Nick Cave’s talents are second to none. But his second attempt at writing literature leaves much to be desired.

The novel’s anti-hero is Bunny Munro, a middle-aged, self-styled “cocksman” whose infidelities have driven his wife to suicide. Adrift and subsumed by a grief he can barely acknowledge, Munro drags his young son Bunny Junior on a desultory road trip (basically Junior gets left in the car while his dad, a door-to-door salesman, tries to flog beauty products to female customers while trying to mount them).

There’s some atmospheric writing, especially towards the end as Bunny’s day of reckoning looms. But the plot never gets going and it’s hard to sympathise with the reprobate protagonist.

For the same themes of male vulnerability, rage and emotional impotence, you’re better off checking out Cave’s superb Grinderman LP.