It knocks the wind out of you, reality does...
Brothel bouncer Leon shouldn't be here. A week ago he stepped over the line, maiming a violent VIP punter. But he can't stay away. Not with his daughter Kelly being so young and vulnerable. If he can sort it out with Graven, take the punishment he knows he is due, maybe they can call it a debt paid. But when Kelly goes missing Leon realises what kind of debt is due.
All is not as it seems in this fast-paced novella from the author of Stairway to Hell and the acclaimed Royston Blake series.
PRAISE FOR GRAVEN IMAGE
"The Nerd urges you, dear reader, to get your hands on some Graven Image toot-sweet, to let Leon take you on a journey through both the dark alleys of his hometown and those of his diseased brain. Granted, Leon's gonna give you a laugh now and then, but mostly he's just making sure this intense crazy train never slows for a second lest he get a horrifying moment to reflect."
- Nerd of Noir, Spinetingler
"Blends a blistering storyline with deep-lying themes of redemption and guilt, of men trying to do the right thing in hard circumstances, and manages to be thoroughly realistic, despite self-delusion on the parts of the narrator. On this evidence, the future of British crime writing is very bright indeed."
- Doug Johnstone, Big Issue Scotland
PRAISE FOR CHARLIE WILLIAMS
"So original that other writers must be gnashing their teeth in jealousy"
- The Guardian
"Charlie Williams has created a stunningly original noir world of his own"
- Jason Starr
"Deserves attention for sheer originality and complete disregard for conventional plot"
- Sunday Business Post
"Possibly the best British writer working today. He is the ideal adult humourist - someone whose jokes kick for the gut and often say far more than you realise upon a first reading - and he is also an astute modern commentator, someone with something to say about the darkness that is modern life"
- Russel D McLean
"Even through all of his offbeat humour, there is no mistaking that Charlie Williams is a writer who has something to say"
- Nicholas Blincoe
At 120-odd pages long this didn’t take too long to rip through - one afternoon at the weekend and it was done. It would be fair to say, from the comments above that selected others seemed to enjoy this a little bit more than I did.
I have been a fairly big fan of Charlie Williams in the past and to date he is the only author I have met who has bought me a coffee in Borders and actually turned up at my workplace to drop off some books for me – twice in fact. His Mangel books about the legendary Royston Blake – at least the four I have read – are fantastic books; very dark and funny with a unique take on small-town England with a hero unlike any you’ve read about previously.
Mangel books are as follows:
1. Deadfolk (2004)
2. Fags and Lager (2005) aka Booze and Burn
3. King of the Road (2006)
4. One Dead Hen (2011)
5. Made of Stone (2013)
(Note to self – look out for the 5th!)
Graven Image while I enjoyed it, for some reason just didn’t hit the same heights with me. Seemingly straightforward in its premise, Leon goes looking for his daughter, sensing that some form of retribution is inevitable, by the end we’re looking at a totally different scenario. A more expected finale would have on this occasion have worked better for me, but then Williams has never been predictable and that in part is his attraction.
Well worth a spin in any case.
3 stars from 5
Unfortunately, Mr Williams didn’t even get to recover the cost of my cappuccino in royalties as I acquired this copy from the Readitswapit website.