Wednesday, 25 July 2012

MR GLAMOUR by Richard Godwin - a review

MR GLAMOUR by Richard Godwin

First of all, let me just say, I'm a huge fan of Richard Godwin. I first became acquainted with Richard Godwin's fiction via his short stories a couple of years ago through top ezines in the crime/noir genre such as A TWIST OF NOIR and PULP METAL MAGAZINE. Anyone who has read a Richard Godwin story knows they are in for a ride in the dark places. Richard Godwin is a writer who fears nothing. His prose is dark and vibrant, filled with equal amounts of poetry and blood. He is a master at mixing crime and horror, a finer writer as I've come across on my writing journey.

Mr Glamour is Richard Godwin's second novel.

Something dark is preying on the glitz of the glamour set. DCI Jackson Flare and Inspector Mandy Steele investigate a series of bizarre killings targeting the wealthy and glamorous. Cameras, designer labels, beautiful women and wealthy men fill the pages of this dark narrative that will keep you guessing until the unforeseeable end. All part of a gripping mystery novel about a glamorous world with an unknown intruder. The killer in Mr. Glamour knows all about design, he knows what brands mean to his victims. He is branding their skins. He is invading and destroying at will. And he has the police stumped. Detective Chief Inspector Flare and Inspector Steele try to catch a killer who has climbed inside their heads. As they investigate they step into a hall of mirrors and find themselves up against a wall of secrecy. The investigation drives Flare and Steele - who are themselves harbouring secrets - to acts of darkness. And the killer is watching everyone.

Mr Glamour opens thus:

She has the eyes of a pit viper and the mouth of an angel.
She parts her lips slowly,
Holding you in her cold green camera shutter eyes
Whose irises are segmented like fine sections of fruit.
She runs a manicured hand across the hard surface
Of her Vivienne Westwood snakeskin bag.
Her flesh is soft,
It will split like a peach skin,
You know the fine spray that shoots out from the fruit
On a hot summer's day
As you run the paring knife along the contour
Of the carved peel,
All those fine hairs standing to attention,
And the others, their wounds cloaked in Versace,
They think they're playing the game.
Welcome to my world,
Only I know the rules.

These are the words of the killer. And that is chapter one.

Our heroes - if we can call them that - are Chief Inspector Jackson Flame and his partner, Inspector Mandy Steel. I say 'heroes' purely as they have the job of tracking down the killer, yet Godwin imbues Flare and Steel with such personal demons that, at times, they seem no better than the violent sadist they are attempting to catch. In some novels, there is a thin line between between the good and the bad - in MR GLAMOUR there is almost no line at all.

MR GLAMOUR unveils the world of a high fashion London set - ripping the veneer from the wealthy men and women whose main goal in life is to make the next financial killing or own the latest high status handbag. Even though the killings are graphic and they are sadistic, the victims are so odious, it is difficult, at times, to feel too much sympathy for them. When a writer of Godwin's quality writes, the reader is always challenged.

In MR GLAMOUR,  the reader is challenged from the very first line.

As I said in the introduction, Richard Godwin is a writer that fears nothing.  He writes - unashamed.
Never before have I read a book in which I, the reader, have been more uncomfortable, yet more compelled to read on. And that is due to the brilliance of Richard Godwin's writing.  The horrifically seductive nature of Godwin's prose lures the reader into a world in which they become just as much a part of the killer's game as every other participant. We watch the killer at work, we turn the page, knowing what we are indulging in is beyond our better judgement, but we do it anyway.

The front cover of MR GLAMOUR depicts a frightened woman through a camera lense. For just shy of four hundred pages, it is the reader behind that camera, watching this London fashion set being torn apart by MR GLAMOUR . . . and we do nothing.

MR GLAMOUR is a book dripping with voyeurism and sadism - almost every character playing a part in such pursuits. No less, the reader himself.

Richard Godwin takes the reader on a journey into the reader's own darkest self. Stay with him, and the rewards are immense. A truly brilliant book.

MR GLAMOUR is available in the UK in paperback here and in the US here

My review of Richard Godwin's first novel - APOSTLE RISING - can be found on my blog here

And I highly recommend a visit to Richard Godwin's blog here

1 comment:

  1. I have this but haven't had a chance to start reading it yet. I know how good Richard writes, though.