Note that there are no punk or skinhead characters in this book. It is also set in present day, and portrays police officers in a more or less positive light. There is a few glue sniffers, who play a very minor role, but they are of the ‘hoodie menace’ type that grew up long after teenagers had any sense of tribal belonging.
I don’t usually buy this sort of book. Other than youth subculture related books I tend to stick with horror, but when I saw the blurb it sounded vaguely familiar so I stumped up the £1.05 asking price for the Kindle version (I think it was on special offer at the time).
I’m glad I did. The fast pace and short chapters make it the sort of book that is difficult to put down, and I ended up reading a lot later than I usually do. It’s difficult to describe what it is about without giving away any of the many plot twists, but I’ll have a go:
Someone called ‘The Oracle’ is killing people, mutilating them and turning them into ‘works of art’ which he then photographs to send to the main police character (a detective chief inspector).
But the copper has a dark past – bullied at school (no doubt why he chose such a thuggish occupation in later life), he formed a pact with other bully victims to deal out their own style of justice. Years later, one of the children he made the pact with wants them to sort out the man who raped his wife. But he doesn’t just want them to give him a beating, he wants them to kill him. And to cover it up, they decide to blame it on The Oracle. But then The Oracle finds out who they are …
It isn’t as violent as the reviews on Amazon make out, I’m not sure what they are comparing it with, but it’s not really the splat-fest it’s portrayed as. It has brief moments of violence, but these tend to be cut short rather than protracted. What the writer is good at is creating a feeling of suspense, and making you actually care whether the characters survive or not. Anyone who can make me root for some fucking copper has to be doing something right.