Sunday, 10 April 2011

Serial Killers Incorporated by Andy Remic

We begin with our protagonist naked on a balcony, quite literally freezing his nuts off, while his lover performs her wifely duties with her husband. A husband who is also a gun runner and killer of at least 34 men.
It’s very quickly apparent that we are not supposed to like or admire most of the people who are going to populate this novel. And that’s fine, you don’t need to like a protagonist to want to see what happens to them. In fact a good chunk of the enjoyment of this novel is following Callaghan and his miserable efforts to work out just who is doing what to him and why.

A photographer by trade, Callaghan and his friend Jim get some of the best scoops in the journalism business by bribing, sneaking and occasionally making stuff up. So when they are led to a murder scene by an anonymous phone call, they don’t hesitate too long before checking it out.
The discovery of a brutal murder starts the ball rolling that sees Callaghan dragged further and further into a mess that he can see no way out of. By the time it’s all over a good number of people will be dead, there have been betrayals and a liberal use of expletives.

Remic writes books that don’t hang about. His prose is solid and easy to read, it’s unlikely to win any literary awards but it’s perfectly suited to this kind of story. Violence, blood and sex are his forte and he uses them well.
Remic also creates whole characters, making sure none are left as a cipher unless that’s the point of the character.
Callaghan is an utter bastard, something he takes pride in to begin with and has that self-knowledge slowly chipped at as the novel progresses. Callaghan is the type of character that is never going to be a hero in the traditional sense, in fact, in most stories about a serial killer he would die horribly and messily fairly quickly. However he is someone that you are almost fascinated to follow. He survives not by much real planning on his part, but almost feral reflexes and luck.
Surrounding him are a wide cast of some of the more twisted members of society and we get to know the motivations of each of them.

While it’s not going to be regarded as a classic of the genre, Serial Killers Incorporated does have a decent story. The final revelations may take people by surprise and if you can’t go with them then the novel is liable to lose you. I’m not going to spoil things too much here, but suffice to say, they remind me of Michael Marshall Smith’s novels.

Did I enjoy it? Yes I did, the humour works, the violence is quite lovingly and inventively described and even the sex scenes are done well.
If you like bastards doing bastardly things to each other with a smattering of sex and much use of profanity, then I think you’ll dig this.
If you don’t, then you probably won’t.

The eBook is to be accompanied by an album. Only 2 tracks were sent with my review copy. I don’t really review music because I’m not really versed in it in that way. I will say I quite enjoyed the two tracks by th3 m1ss1ng and the closest I could find in my iTunes folder to accompany them while reading were some Cooper Temple Clause tracks.

The book is available in eBook form from Anarchy Books here