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This review is from: Apostle Rising (Perfect Paperback)Richard Godwin is a prolific writer of short fiction. Of course, prolific doesn't necessarily mean good, but in Godwin's case he never puts a foot wrong.
I've loved his short stories and the way he constructs them. He makes me look into the darkness for a few seconds more than I'd like until I see what it is he wants me to see and he holds my attention at places where I might rather be skimming into easier territories.
He also has an amazing versatility in terms of the settings, characters and voices he uses as though he's some kind of twisted ventriloquist.
My only reservation about tackling his debut novel Apostle Rising was that he wouldn't be able to transfer his talent from the short piece to the long. It didn't take me long to realise that there was no problem for him on that score.
He handles the police-procedural aspect of things as though this were the tenth in a series, with a craft and poise I hadn't expected. At the same time he dips us into the bloodbath of his darker-workings just to let us know he's still around.
`Apostle Rising' is like a massive Venn diagram of plots that are fitted together skilfully to produce one very satisfying whole.
Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle is a long in the tooth policeman who was damaged years before by a series of murders known as `The Woodland Killings'. His life is spinning out of control as alcohol obscures his memories from his waking life only to drag them into his dreams. His side-kick DI Jacki Stone who knows Castle is good at his job also knows he's a poor role model as a human being. The way their characters are drawn I reckon I could have read about them working any-old case and enjoyed it. Make their case a copycat of The Woodland Killings, throw in the twisted cult leader Karl Black and his training of a band of extremist believers and add a host of slayings of political figures and you're in for a treat.
Just like in his short stories, Godwin has you staring at things you'd rather look away from at times as though he's holding your head in one direction with one hand and your eye-lids up with the other. It gets messy out there - brutally so. It also becomes psychologically disturbing as we see Karl Black work his way into the minds of Castle and Stone. There's nowhere to run once your inside and there's not going to be a way out until you get to the end, Godwin's new twist on the term page-turner.