This is a superb dark comedy thriller set in seedy 1980s London brimming with larger than life characters and full of humour and wit. Loved it!!
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Clifton Gentle is a civil servant living in North London. Everything about him, even his socks and underwear, is grey. But on the morning we are introduced to him, he does have something rather extraordinary waiting for him in his bath. DCI Dave “Hicks of Hackney” has a high clear up rate in his particularly villainous part of North London due to the extensive repertoire and prowess of his team in extracting a confession. He’s a big lump of lard of a man, still being looked after by his doting old mum. He is not impressed that someone is leaving body parts from his victims all over his manor. Rude! The present count is at least six partial bodies in the freezer. If he can be the man to bring this killer to justice, his fame will know no bounds. Just like his heroes – Holmes, Poirot et al. Clifton was fine whilst he was able to barbeque bodies in the garden but a house move has forced a different method of disposal. The story details how he first got started on his killing spree and there are initial similarities to serial killer Dennis Nilsen, from his first connection with death seeing his grandfather’s corpse to his surprise at finding a dead body in his bed. Now Clifton is well into double figures and is incensed when he hears what Dave is calling him on the tv. He taunts the police and a game of cat and mouse ensues, with the gauntlet being firmly laid down. Unfortunately there are factors that neither Dave nor Clifton can foresee – so just who will get their man?
This is a wonderful and very well written romp through seedy 1980s London, full of daft and dark humour with wit a plenty and very evocative of the time. I appreciated the irony of the naming of the three new cadets – Oldfield, Abbeline and Slipper – all men who failed to get their man, and the various characters in the story all bearing serial killer surnames. I loved Dave’s misquotes, eg “grasp the balls by the horn” (think DelBoy from OFAH) and his complete lack of tact and diplomacy. It’s definitely more sweeney than pc! Some of Clifton’s thoughts are quite deep. Dave’s are most definitely not! Unless they involve Mum’s home cookin g, of course. The ending was superb and I can say I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish! 5* AlyssonRead999