Following my awesome interview with the wonderful Benedict J Jones, I decided to review his latest novel, featuring the fast talking, hard hitting detective Charlie Bars.
Set in London, the book takes its identify from its setting, with the characterisation, dialogue and plot all taking their lead from the grimy streets Jones depicts.
The novel’s plot revolves around missing call girls, gruesome murders and heavy drinking, interspersed with glorious lines that should be memorised for later use. A particular favourite of mine is “he wouldn’t be clapping if he was happy and he knew it any time soon”, but there are plenty to choose from. The book is brimming with witty reportage and the quality of dialogue that could easily be found in a cult film.
Charlie Bars is a great example of a typical pulp fiction detective, with more than a little of a whiff of Philip Marlowe about him. Always getting into situations he doesn’t need to, he is drawn into the gruesome case of a serial killer stalking the street of London.
Fundamentally this is a gritty, dark and sometimes humorous novel that really gets under your skin. You’ll remember it for ages afterwards, and keep puzzling over strange occurrences or nuances in the characters that are frighteningly realistic. A great book for fans of real old school crime fiction, this book is as wonderful as its author.