Wednesday, 20 July 2011

APOSTLE RISING by Richard Godwin - A REVIEW


The Publisher's Blurb
Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now years later, mauled by the press, and traumatized by nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case.

He and his partner DI Jacki Stone enter a deadly labyrinth, and at its centre is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He’s running a sinister cult and playing dark mind games with the police. The investigation has a shattering effect on the lives of Castle and Stone. The killer is crucifying politicians, and he keeps raising the stakes and slipping through their hands. Dark coded ritualistic killings are being carried out on high profile figures and the body count is rising. Castle employs a brilliant psychologist to help him solve the case, and he begins to dig into the killer’s psyche. But some psychopaths are cleverer than others.

The Review
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to share a pint - not the same one, it's a figure of speech - with Richard Godwin, author of Apostle Rising.  A little star struck, to be hones, I asked if he'd sign my copy of his book.  He did.  And then I read it.  Not at the time, that would have been a bit rude and not a little anti-social.  But on the train on the way home.  I was unable to tear my eyes away until the last of the nearly four hundred pages was done.  And blimey, what a journey - the book, not the train.  

So.  What to say.  Anyone who has read any of Richard Godwin's short stories knew how eagerly anticipated his debut novel was going to be.  But a debut novel from someone known ostensibily for his brilliant short stories and beautifully dark poetry was always going to carry some sort of risk as, I suppose, all debut novels do.  Will it live up to expectations?  Can the author make the leap from short stories and poems to a near four hundred page novel?  Silly, silly questions, on the face of it, where a writer as talented as Richard Godwin is concerned, but questions I had all the same when I opened the book.  Within a couple of pages, my concerns were emphatically put to rest - as was the life of the first seemingly endless array of victims - hacked up by not one, but two, serial killers.

In fact, Apostle Rising is full of victims - not just those ritualistically chopped to bits and left in Richmond Park.  The whole cast are victims of one sort or another - and it is a testament to Godwin's brilliance that he is able to create a slew of characters psychologically crumbling on every page yet does not make us feel sorry for them.  He merely presents them to us and allows us to attach their darkness to ours.  Each character has their own darkness, their own demons.  No less so than Detective Inspector Frank Castle - the detective assigned to the case.  With the body count rising relentlessly, DI Castle seems as helpless as I felt reading the book.  With  the short chapters - two, three, four pages - ratcheting up the pace and the tension, and the body count rising, I began to feel as helpless as DI Castle himself.  I had to read on, read on without hope.  And that is an odd feeling.  I'd become a part of the book, a vested interest in the outcome.

And the outcome.  Blimey.  I knew there was going to be a twist.  So I started out looking out for it, but like I said, I'd become a part of the book.  Lost.  So when the twist came, it punched me in the gut just like it was meant to.

Apostle Rising is brilliant, it's disturbing, it's beautifully written, and it sucked the life out of me for nearly a week.

It is available direct from the publishers here or from Amazon in the UK here and the US here

5 comments:

  1. I'm sold. Buying it now!

    Great review.

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  2. Great review, really enjoyed that. Apostle Rising is brilliant - I'm about two thirds of the way through and loving it. Richard is hugely talented, he deserves great success.

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  3. This is one I've got to read. Great review!

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