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One Dead Hen (The Mangel Series) [Kindle Edition]

Charlie Williams
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The town of Mangel has always been a rough place, but rough turns to nightmarish when headless corpses begin piling up. The police are desperate for a suspect, and Royston Blake, the former pub doorman-turned-recluse is prime for the taking. He’s hauled in for questioning, but to no avail: this is one crime Blake didn’t commit. Yet the interrogation is enough to shake up his paranoid world. He realizes that, instead of hiding from the ills of the world, he should be fighting them. So begins Blake’s quest to score the unlikeliest of jobs for a guy like him: becoming a copper in Mangel. Considering his violent past, everyone—cops, criminals, even his ex-girlfriend—tries to dissuade him. But Blake’s a tenacious bloke, and what better way to convince the naysayers of his crime-fighting skills than to catch the butcher plaguing his town? As per usual, nothing goes according to plan in Blake’s attempt to turn over a new leaf, leaving him to slog through plenty of blood and muck in the deliciously suspenseful fourth instalment of Charlie Williams’s darkly comic series.

Product Description

About the Author

Charlie Williams was born in Worcester, England, where he still lives with his wife and two children. His novels include Deadfolk, Booze and Burn, King of the Road, and Stairway to Hell, and have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, and Russian.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 448 KB
  • Print Length: 279 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1935597507
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (9 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047O2S50
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #177,842 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born in Worcester in 1971, Charlie Williams has written seven novels that have been published in five languages. Most belong in the crime category but there is often overlap with horror, sf and just plain weird, with no real game-plan to fit into any genre at all.

The Mangel series (DEADFOLK, BOOZE AND BURN*, KING OF THE ROAD, ONE DEAD HEN and MADE OF STONE) are all narrated by Royston Blake, head doorman at the premier nightclub in a hellish small town. Each was written so it stands alone and can be read independently of the others. The Guardian said of them "this is gloriously funny stuff and so original that other writers must be gnashing their teeth in jealousy".

STAIRWAY TO HELL is about a pub singer who finds out his body hosts the transmigrated soul of David Bowie, courtesy of some 70s voodoo by Jimmy Page. Although fiction, the story was based around true events. Go to and check the Stairway to Hell page for more on that.

Other works include GRAVEN IMAGE (a novella about a brothel bouncer with a debt to pay) and YOUR PLACE IS IN THE SHADOWS (a collection of six short stories).

All of these books have received great reviews, some of which you can read here on Amazon. But steer clear if you hate swearing or love political correctness.

* original UK title: FAGS AND LAGER

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Original Entertainment 17 Aug. 2011
By Dubin
OK, clearly Charlie Williams Mangel novels aren't for everybody. Several of the reviews here are from people who just don't get it: a novel narrated by someone who hasn't got the least idea what's going on most of the time. It takes a clever author to pull off this trick and, unlike Henry James (who does the same thing in 'What Maisie Knew') also make it brilliantly entertaining. Not just entertaining, laugh out loud funny.

One correction to the positive reviews here - it really doesn't matter what order you read the novels in. As the rave review in the Guardian pointed out, even the narrator can't remember what happens in the previous books! Blakey is a brilliant series character and this is the best plotted of the Mangel books, a satisfying read on every level. I hope there are many more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, funny and easy to read 25 Nov. 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
By the time I was a few chapters into this book, I was already debating who to lend it to first and imagining how my friends would laugh at certain sections, and I can't really offer more praise than that for a book. Not your usual kind of hero, the main character is dumb, rude, treats women like trash and murders people by accident, but for some reason he's lovable and I not only wanted to find out what would happen to him, but I wanted him to come out all right in the end. If I met Blakey in real life, I wouldn't want to get within three feet of him, but reading about him is different as he's just so funny. If you like Withnail And I [1986] [DVD] then you will like this book too. It could develop quite a following because it's such an unusual book. Here's a small quote or two so you get the idea:
While digging up a shallow grave - 'I sang a song as I worked. The song were 'Whistle While You Work' by Snow White and the Midgets, or whatever. It were a good and happy tune and it kept us going, and the moon sang along too.'
Later, with his girlfriend, Blakey muses - 'I found it amazing how she could talk and have her tit felt at the same time. Me, I couldn't even do two things at once. That's the difference between birds and fellers.'
Now maybe those bits don't sound funny to you, but, as with Withnail and I, the more you get into the spirit of the thing, the funnier it becomes. I didn't award five stars because although the ending is funny and quite tidy in its way, it didn't entirely work for me, but really I think I would give this four and a half stars if I could.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What is there to say about Royston Blake? You certainly wouldn't want to bump into him for fear that you'd find yourself on the floor holding your face. However you would cross the road, without making eye contact of course, and just keep watching.

One Dead Hen is the fourth `Mangel' novel by Charlie Williams and continues the story of Royston Blake, aka "Blakey". This time Blakey's taking his hand to becoming a man of the people, a community pillar if you like, with the goal of tidying up crime and anti-social behaviour in Mangel once and for all. He's obviously not the man for the job, but Blakey's on a mission with hilarious consequences that'll have you shaking your head in disbelief.

Full of dark, dark humour, plot twists and casual violence, Charlie Williams delivers once again following the brilliant Dead Folk, Booze & Burn and King of the Road.

Be prepared to be shocked, appalled and yet still laughing; Royston Blake is the ultimate anti-hero... here's looking forward to next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Mangel! 20 Oct. 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This murder mystery centres on character Roysten Blake, a well built, uneducated, rough diamond, who is well intentioned, but a `few cents short of sixpence'. In his small town of Mangel, there has been a series of violent attacks on women. Due to run ins he has had with the law in his youth, Royston is under suspicion but is keen to help solve the crime and demonstrate his innocence. Royston is very focused on bodily activities taking place between his stomach and knees! He lacks in sight on every level, although aims to better himself mostly by watching TV. He frequently misinterprets comments taking either a literal meaning, or takes offence. Some individuals cannot even say hallo in the right way, without Royston reacting violently, not always realising the level of physical damage that he does to others.

The book is cleverly written, I found I could empathise with Royston in a similar way as with Ruth Rendells characters, which are often odd individuals, but as you can appreciate with their situation, you can empathise with them. Their actions become understand able, if never agreeable or condonable. The story is mostly told from Roystons perspective, punctuated by news items written by a local police officer and a local reporter which provide the reader with sight into the murders and the local community. The humour is mostly smirk provoking rather than laugh out loud, in my opinion, often centred around Roystons lack of knowledge, for example the Sword of Excalibur, gets misnamed the Sword of Excrement, I'm perhaps not selling this well, but it is amusing in context!

It's hard to write about a violent situation without causing anxiety or horror in readers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable.
Thoroughly enjoyable, though typically dark and seedy.
Published 1 month ago by The Roman
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Another dollop of the amusing yet sad Royston Blake, our anti hero thinks that he is Clint Eastwood and Rocky all rolled into one, the truth is rather less exciting, he is a lonely... Read more
Published 14 months ago by polly oddie
1.0 out of 5 stars obscene rubbish
This can only be described as a book of absolute rubbish, I say that after only getting through 2 chapters the obscene language is unbelievable and the authour seems to throw it in... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mr. Royston Mead
1.0 out of 5 stars Literature???
This is the worst book I have ever tried to read. It is written in the first person, by a supposedly illiterate character with a mind like a sewer, and the foul language of an... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr. R. Enderby
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
Didn't bother reading this as the previous book was full of bad language which I found very offensive. We're all different but this series is definitely not for me
Published 15 months ago by Heather Mount
4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best of the series
For me, this was the best of the series so far.
As a possibly unexpected addition to what we'd been told was most likely a trilogy, this was an well-rounded instalment in the... Read more
Published 23 months ago by YeahYeahNoh
2.0 out of 5 stars More like a dead duck
Whilst one expects to see the F.... and similar words these days - if your removed them from this book you would be left with practically nothing to read. Read more
Published on 31 May 2013 by Roland Neale
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Masterpiece in the Mangel Series!
Having read Charlie's first 3 Mangel books, and having fallen in love with Royston Blake (in a non-gay way of course - woss you sayin??? Read more
Published on 19 Jan. 2013 by MarkyC
5.0 out of 5 stars Royston's back for more murder, mahyem and mystery
Royston Blake is back and with him comes murder, mayhem and mystery. One Dead Hen (fourth in series) has a hint of supernatural and a whiff and the 'other' about the plot - which... Read more
Published on 8 Jan. 2013 by S. A. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great thoroughly enjoyed it, the best of the series about Royston Blake, Mangel's premier doorman. I really lost myself in this one, something I haven't done with a book in a... Read more
Published on 30 Dec. 2012 by K. Nixon
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