Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Death You Deserve: A Novel Paperback – June 2, 2003
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Bowker concocts a heady blend of satire and action in his U.S. debut about British mobsters and a writer who gets caught in their web. Billy Dye gets his big break after writing a magazine feature on Manchester crime kingpin Malcolm Priest. Dye's editor had transformed his serious article about the gangster's brutality into a puff piece on Priest's charitable side, and Priest so enjoys the fawning article that he asks Dye to write his biography. But the irreverent Dye does not endear himself to Priest, and it's not long before the kingpin hires a hitman to kill him. Luckily, that hitman turns out to be a childhood friend of Dye's named Steve Ellis, now known in professional circles as "Rawhead." He decides to hide Dye and save him from Priest's assassination attempts, but Dye sorely tries Rawhead's patience by making an ill-advised effort to contact a cop friend, who then becomes one of Priest's victims. Bowker spices up the subsequent mano a mano struggle between Priest and Rawhead with a few savvy, humorous touches, such as his exploration of Dye's lifelong fascination with the horror genre and an outrageous plot twist in which Dye's agent and his publisher fall victim to the carnage. Bowker's tight, smart style keeps the action clipping along, and his characters range from tragically hip to comically thuggish. For readers who like their mobsters with a side order of smart satiric writing-and these days, who doesn't?-Bowker is a welcome addition to the U.S. scene.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“A deftly drawn masterpiece-well written, with a contemporary twist.” ―City Life
“As it happens I knew these streets for nearly twenty years, and this tough, fabulous, smart-mouth novel captures them perfectly. The Sopranos meets The Jackal in a part of England Agatha Christie knew absolutely nothing about. This is hard, funny, and scary--try it” ―Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of Without Fail and Running Blind
“This is a very funny book... I loved it.” ―The Independent on Sunday
“Grotesque, original and murderously funny, it conforms to no existing crime template. We are sailing uncharted waters and there are sharks all around...Bowker tells his bloody tale with wit, invention and a raw energy that boils off the page. It is the kind of go that traditionally invigorates the pulps, but Bowker distills it here into a rare vintage that does wonders for his chosen genre.” ―Literary Review
“I have a confession to make; I wanted to kill Billy Dye too. It's not that I didn't like him--far from it--it's just that, like Malcolm Priest, I thought Dye was just a little bit too cocky. Funny, yes, but cocky enough to survive even a hail of bullets- so, of course, I was itching to see if he would...A novel that is wickedly funny. In fact, I'm putting [The Death You Deserve] aside for a few weeks and then plan to read it again before passing it around to some of my most deserving friends.” ―Punch
Top customer reviews
That's about the only plus thing, though, I can say about this ludicrous novel, in which an unlikable writer meets up with an unlikable gangster and then later an unlikable psychopath. Following an unfortunate trend in a lot of Brit "tough guy" fiction (for lack of a better term) nobody's very likable here -- that works kinda sorta in black comedies where the real protagonist is probably the writer himself, critiquing everything -- but not in something like this, which has pretensions to seriousness, which necessarily means some kind of "reality", in psychology if nothing else.
Another way to say it is that this has all the faults of somebody like Kyril Bonfiglioli (the arch mannerisms) without his virtues (an interesting point of view/philosophy). The characters are mannered. The prose, while well-written and often very funny, is undeniably mannered. The plot is absurd and deeply mannered (obviously Bowker didn't really care much about the plot, but it's absurd and annoying how Bowker wants the benefits of "gritty realism" -- it's a gangster story! with gangsters! -- without paying any of it's dues -- like, say, justifying why the gangster decides the writer needs to die.) And the literary "attempts" -- the forced bits with classic ghost stories, of all things -- well, all I can say is that I found that the funniest part of the story, the more so because Bowker obviously took it so seriously.
Readable, but little more than that, and actually emblematic of some of the bad trends of "tough guy" prose, most particularly it's tendency to get as mannered as a teenaged vampire love story.
The story center on Billy Dye and his boyhood friend-now professional hitman-now known as Rawhead.
Their friendship as boys was based on a shared interest in the occult and the classic horror stories of the time. It's a friendship cut short by the incarceration of Rawhead after he stabs a fellow student.
Billy grows up to be a failed journalist and novelist of the occult. He comes to the attention on one Malcom Priest, the head of a violent Manchester gang who signs Billy on to ghost his autobiography. Billy's a professional sarcastic SOB and he finally alienates Malcom to the point that he sets Billy up to be hit by Rawhead-his hitman of choice though one he has never seen and knows nothing about.
As Rawhead takes aim at Billy's head with his 44 Magnum he realizes that this is his boyhood chum and spares his life. This, predictably, does not please Malcom and so the chase is on.
Up to this point the book stands as a run-of-the-mill mafia tale. Once rejoined, however, the mutual attraction that Billy and Rawhead have for horror takes over and elements of a classic horror story dominate the action. Rawhead puts Billy up in an old, apparently haunted house-the night hours are filled with groans, screams and the smell of blood. Flies and maggots infest the property. Billy's instinctively knows that there's something wrong here but can't bring himself to depart both because he's a target of subsequent hitmen Malcom hires and needs Rawhead's protection as well as his attraction to the supernatural aspects of Rawhead's persona.
The action-and there is pleanty of action-builds to a tumultuous ending.
Bowker can write. The book is fast paced, hip and riddled with sarcastic and farcical humor. It's also, at points, scary as hell. It's also riddled with lots of profanity and some truly horrific and graphic violence. Readers should beware-this is not a book for the easily offended or those who have any sort of queasy constitution.
This is a wild romp of a story. If you can handle it, you'll be glad you went along for the ride.
Billy's character is the ultimate "loser." He wades into predicaments that should teach him lessons about the human psyche, but Billy manages to sink deeper into the muck of his own making via his acid tongue. He is soon put at the top of Priest's "hit list." Rawhead is the hitman hired to eradicate Billy, who soon finds himself kidnapped and held in a manner of protective custody. It turns out that Rawhead is a childhood friend from grammar school who had idolized Billy.
Bowker's wit is hilarious. His characters are real yet side-splittingly funny. Rawhead's many-sided character is a hoot to follow. He is both a professional killer and a student of supernatural literature classics, with an extensive collection of signed first editions. Billy is both impressed with and frightened of him. The two unlikely companions are knit by a tighter cord when they run from Priest's henchmen, bent on killing them both.
A little book, THE DEATH YOU DESERVE can be read in an afternoon with a thirst for more. Notwithstanding a couple of stumbles through British slang, Bowker's story is a great read. Billy is the bumbling bloke that endears himself to us by his misadventures in Manchester and beyond. Despite his shortcomings, he deserves a hearty cheer for his fortitude. Names like Chef, Dogman, Beast and Heidi are Bowker's clever insertions that will make THE DEATH YOU DESERVE a chuckle in the memory bank.
--- Reviewed by Judy Gigstad