on 23 February 2011
If you're a fan of noir fiction this book certainly won't disappoint you. This stylish and deeply readable story takes Raymond's nameless detective to a remote village to investigate the disappearance of a local doctor's wife. While certainly not your typical 'who dunnit' novel (in fact the mystery itself often seems to be of secondary importance to the protagonist's philosophical deliberations), it still makes an extremely exciting read. This is by far my favourite instalment of the Factory series.
This is the third book in Derek Raymond's Factory series.
The Factory novels, nominal police procedurals are narrated by an unnamed protagonist, a sergeant at London’s Metropolitan Police Department of Unexplained Deaths, also known as A14. A14 handles the lowlife murders, and which are in stark contrast to the headline-grabbing homicides handled by the prestigious Serious Crimes Division, better known as Scotland Yard.
In How the Dead Live the unnamed Sergeant is sent out of London to investigate a missing person case in a small English village called Thornhill. The complicity and sleaze that is rife in the village is presumably meant to mirror that of broader British society. This was written in the mid-1980s and I wonder what Raymond would have made of our own era.
As with the previous two books, the prose is bleak and our uncompromising hero is like a blow torch, incinerating virtually everything that gets in his way. Unlike the previous books, he is discernibly angrier here, and his dialogue frequently seems to be that of a somewhat camp playground bully. I preferred him in the first book, when he went about his business in a quieter and more understated manner. Still, there is some predictable pleasure in him taking down a selection of corrupt fat cats in addition to some of his own colleagues.
This is the weakest of the three Factory novels that I have read so far. That said, I know that number four, I Was Dora Suarez(1990), is very highly regarded, and, for all its flaws, this is still compelling and I raced through it, and enjoyed the whole thing.
on 21 February 2011
This is a very well written book. Combining some classic noir fiction with deep (although rather depressing) insight into the human nature and some great characterisation, it manages to transgress the detective genre (although it still reads really well as a pure crime story) and move into the realm of 'high lit'. I can't wait to read the other Factory novels.
on 11 January 2008
This is a fantastic book. Centred on an old country house, it has a haunting feel to it and one which the author ties to the 2nd World war and a generation betrayed. And then there is Raymond's prose which at times is almost poetic. So why 4 stars and not 5? Well, at times Raymond gets a little too carried away with himself, his prose becomes a little too florid and he almost goes off on a philosophical tangent. However all in all this is a good read and I enjoyed it immensely.