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When a middle-aged alcoholic is found brutally battered to death on a roadside in West London, the case is assigned to a nameless detective sergeant, a tough-talking cynic and fearless loner from the Department of Unexplained Deaths at the Factory police station. Working from cassette tapes left behind in the dead man’s property, our narrator must piece together the history of his blighted existence and discover the agents of its cruel end. What he doesn’t expect is that digging for the truth will demand plenty of lying, and that the most terrible of villains will also prove to be the most attractive.
In the first of six police procedurals that comprise the Factory series, Derek Raymond spins a riveting, and vividly human crime drama. Relentlessly pursuing justice for the dispossessed, his detective narrator treads where few others dare: in the darkest corners of London, a city of sin plagued by unemployment, racism and vice, and peopled by a cast of low-lifes, all utterly convincing and brought to life by Raymond’s pitch-perfect dialogue.
‘A crackerjack of a crime novel, unafraid to face the reality of man’s and woman’s evil’ Evening Standard
‘A mixture of thin-lipped Chandleresque backchat and of idioms more icily subversive’ Observer
‘A pioneer of British noir… No one has come near to matching his style or overwhelming sense of sadness… Raymond’s world is uniformly sinister, his language strangely mannered. He does not strive for accuracy, but achieves an emotional truth all his own.’
Marcel Berlins, The Times
‘Cook’s prose can make amazing stylistic leaps without once losing its balance… He anticipates James Ellroy and David Peace, among others, in this terrifying determination to disclose the skull beneath the skin… a supreme example of how nasty Britain actually is.’ Time Out
‘Witty, perceptive and well written’ Big Issue