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Mr. Glamour Paperback – March 24, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Richard Godwin knows how his characters dress, what they drink and what they drive. He knows how they live--and how they die. Here's hoping no one recognized themselves in Godwin's cold canvas. Combines the fun of a good story with the joy of witty, vivid writing." HEYWOOD GOULD, director, screenwriter, author; current novel The Serial Killer's Daughter "Smart, scary, suspenseful enough for me to keep the light on until 3AM on a Sunday night, Richard Godwin once more proves to fans of crime fiction the world over with Mr. Glamour, that he is not only one of the best contemporary writers of the procedural cop thriller around today, he is a master storyteller." VINCENT ZANDRI, author of Scream Catcher "Richard Godwin's top-of-the-line psychological police procedural driven by its heady pace, steely dialogue, and unsparing vision transfixes the reader from page one." ED LYNSKEY, author of Skin In The Game "This first rate detective thriller will have you gripped from the start. Richard Godwin is an author not to be missed." SHEILA QUIGLEY, author of Thorn In My Side "Mr Glamour is, in every sense of the word, the real McCoy: genuine hard-boiled detective fiction - Lean, gritty, and tough, it's a journey into the heart of darkness - you won't soon forget. Connoisseurs of Nouveau Noir will have to add Richard Godwin to the list of writers to watch!" C E LAWRENCE, author of Silent Kills "Involving and compellingly sinister, Richard Godwin's Mr. Glamour portrays cops and criminals, the mad and the driven in a novel of psychological noir." GARY PHILLIPS, author of Treacherous: Grifters, Ruffians and Killers "Mr. Glamour is a striking effort from one of the most daring crime writers in the business. It is the noirest of noir...and hellishly addictive." MIKE STAFFORD, BookGeeks Magazine "In the world of the uber rich it's all about image. Wearing the right clothes, driving the right car, dining at the right restaurants, being seen at the right hot spots and vacation locales. The fabulously wealthy know they are constantly being watched; that's the point. See and be seen, the more conspicuously the better. If only they knew he was watching them. Studying them. Photographing them. Obsessing over them. Mr. Glamour knows what matters to the jet set, understands their slavish dedication to brands and image. He understands because he wants it as well. When the bodies of London's jet set being turning up murdered and mutilated, Detective Chief Inspector Flare and his partner Inspector Steele find themselves investigating what evolves into an increasingly horrific string of murders. And though it seems obvious the killings are linked, Flare and Steele are met with a wall of silence from those closest to the victims, the very people who may be next on the killer's list. Mr. Glamour is a bold piece of writing, one which both challenges readers' perceptions as well as cements Godwin's status as a master of the dark and disturbing." ELIZABETH A. WHITE, Reviewer "A very compelling mystery. When the author decided the time was right for me, the reader, to finally understand the scope of the actual crimes and their meaning, I was pleased. But after that moment, there was still a good deal more to come in the last pages, bringing the reasons for the killings completely into the light, and answering all the questions I had about why the killer did what he did. This was very well written, and I have to say, one of the best paced books I have ever read." TARA FOX HALL, Good Book Alert
About the Author
Richard Godwin is the author of crime novel 'Apostle Rising', which has just sold foreign rights to the largest publisher in Hungary and has received excellent reviews world wide. He is a crime and horror writer as well as a produced playwright. He was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King's College London. He has travelled the world extensively and lectured and worked in property. He is a widely published author with 14 distinct works to his name. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, not least recently the Tarrantino-based series of sketches, 'Pulp Ink', and 'The Big Book Of Bizarro'. He is an author who is adept in many styles, as well as a skilled interviewer, and he publishes his interviews with other authors as Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse.
Top customer reviews
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What Eugene Izzi did for the city of Chicago in novels like The Criminalist, Richard Godwin has done for London in Mr. Glamour. Like Raymond Chandler who was one of the best at creating a character out of the setting--in his case, Los Angeles--Godwin has given us London as a character. A London not seen heretofore, at least in noir. Most writers deliver us the seedy underworld of the city--the world of workingman's and thieves' bars and prostitute haunts and dank gaols populated by sadistic guards and murderous felons--whereas Godwin has sharply defined the world of the upper crust as being veined with the same dark blood as flowed through Jack the Ripper's carotid... if Jack wore Armani and ate at the best four-star restaurants.
This is a story of the "Beautiful People" but none are beautiful save for their designer clothes and cars and mansions and platinum cards and the other trappings of wealth. All are twisted and ugly in one way or the other. This is surely the nihilistic view of a writer who has experienced life and thought hard about it and knows with a surety that's discomfiting, that we all possess what Jung termed "the shadow side" no matter what level of society we find ourselves perched on. This is a story about the upper crust, but not the faction that we normally expect to see--not the royalty of London and England, but the portion of wealthy society that's gained its advantage in ways other than inheritance or family. This is a part of London that's more akin to Hollywood than either the England of Lord Faversham or the London of Tiny Tim and Nell. It's a world that is particularly of the 21st century and could not have been set anywhere else or in any other period.
This novel reminds me of something author Sharon Sheehe Stark told me during one of my MFA residencies at Vermont College where she was on the faculty and my workshop leader. She said, "When you create a villain, if you want a truly great one, don't do use that oft-advised technique of `making `em like kittens.'" No, she said: "Paint them as black as you possibly can, for if you do that, the light will shine through the cracks." She'd be pleased about Mr. Glamour, for that's exactly what Godwin does.
Flannery O'Connor, in speaking of great endings, would doubtlessly approve of Godwin's ending here, when she said (badly paraphrased) that "a great ending will surprise the reader, but, upon reflection be the only possible and best ending to be had." A perfect description for Mr. Glamour. Trust me--you won't see this one coming! And then... you'll exclaim, "Of course!"
For readers of mystery, of thrillers, of horror, of noir--this novel will satisfy each particular taste. It will also satisfy the palate of those who enjoy simply good literature, for it is that as well. If this were a restaurant, it would have earned its Michelin star.
The police are on the trail of a cunning serial killer hunting London's rich and famous, leaving a blood bath in his wake. A psychologically broken serial killer (aren't they all?) and yet the investigators tracking him might be just as sick as he is, as the line between good and evil blurs. Godwin excavates the darkness that lives where you least expect it to.
Visually descriptive with well-rendered characters, each damaged in their own way, Mr. Glamour is a frightening and violent novel that's hard to forget. I love how Godwin mixes an erotica flavour in his writing, almost lulling you into this salacious voyeuristic place and then in the next moment someone gets murdered. Truly Chilling. Highly recommended.
By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
Readers of Richard Godwin's APOSTLE RISING who wondered how Richard could possibly follow up on that brilliant and macabre masterpiece need wonder no longer. The question is answered resoundingly with Mr. Glamour, a tight, well-written psychological thriller written in Richard's trademark noir / horror styling.
A novel rich in detail and innuendo, Mr. Glamour plunges the reader into the wickedness and debauchery of the `jet set' and the psychoses of two worlds colliding - the watcher and the watched - where the lines between victim and instigator are not always sharply defined. To paraphrase a song... `faith has been suffered and tears will be shed'. And blood.
When a fisherman casts his line out in the water, he has to be patient... very patient sometimes... and wait for his prey to take the bait.
Writers have not such a luxury... they must reach out and grab the reader quickly... in those first few words... and sink the hook deep... keeping the reader on the line until the final line of that last chapter... until `~finis~'. Otherwise, the reader loses interest and moves on to the next promising cover.
Richard Godwin knows this well, as evidenced in the opening lines of Mr. Glamour -
"She has the eyes of a pit viper and the mouth of an angel."
With that line, the `bait' is taken and a few lines down, the hook is firmly set -
"Her flesh is so soft,
It will split like a peach skin,
You know the fine spray that shoots out from the fruit
On a hot summer's day
As you run the paring knife along the contour..."
There are but a small handful of writers who can pen the warm, provocative image of a piece of ripe summer fruit... so tantalizing... and then with the deftness of a surgeon's blade, make those words drip in silent horror, leaving one's breath caught in the back of their throat... the scream never reaching suddenly dry lips. As it does with another favorite author of mine... the night light burned brightly while I read Mr. Glamour.
Richard Godwin is among that handful of writers and Mr. Glamour is the `bait' to catch even the most discriminating and demanding reader of noir horror fiction.
Richard's unique blend of psychological horror and dark police procedural drama make for a taut, suspense-filled, often edge-of-the-seat, read. Mr. Glamour is brilliantly paced, as a good mystery/thriller should be, and the sub-plots are woven seamlessly throughout... told in Richard's wonderfully dark narrative style.
Richard challenges our perceptions of good and evil and shatters stereotypes. In Mr. Glamour, he shows us that evil doesn't live only in the hearts and minds of the criminal, where it is welcomed and brought to full fruition in an attempt to gain the power and control so craved... the lust for dominion over others. Evil also hides behind the sub-conscious rationalizations of a broken mind and the lustful cravings of those pathetic `bags of bones' for which too much is never enough and too far is a notion not to be considered.
Evil exists in the psychopath... a serial killer stalking London's glamour set with an agenda so horrific that we struggle to comprehend the forces that drive a human being to such extremes, forgetting perhaps that in such a diseased mind, rationalizations and justifications take on different shades in the dark abyss of madness. In the psychopath, madness isn't a disease... it is the breath of life.
Speaking of breath... when the end is revealed... and the identity and purpose of the killer is known... now, that will take your breath away! I still... weeks later... get a wonderful, slightly terrified shiver at the twist. Is the adjective `brilliant' over-used? Not in this case. Richard has written a breathtaking novel that is truly brilliant... in plot and execution!
Evil abides in the subdued character of middle-aged housewife Gertrude Miller... a dark psychosis struggling against the distasteful reality of her existence... and through Richard's beautiful telling; we are made witness to the progression of Gertrude's madness. Interwoven with the main plot, Gertrude's life... and past... is revealed to us and it is impossible not to feel some empathy for her. The physical pain and debasement she inflicts on herself in an effort to purge her self-imposed sins are not enough to save Gertrude though and she attempts to find a rightness and validation in what must follow... in what must be done to bring some measure of peace to a tortured soul. Will vengeance at last quiet her demons?
Evil lurks beneath the thin veneer of respectability of law and order as well. Richard's keen insight into the human condition has created two flawed characters... DCI Jackson Flare and DI Mandy Steele. Unspoken, both seek approval from the other, yet neither is willing to share anymore of them-selves than absolutely necessary. There is a dichotomy at work here that is interesting to observe.
Richard understands all too well that good doesn't always triumph over evil... not on its own at any rate... and it is the very flaws, both physical and psychological, of Steele and Flare that will ultimately bring a killer - or is it killers? - before the seats of justice.
The back-story of the main characters is critical to a good story, but there is a skill to doing it... not enough and the reader is left with questions that nag and distract from the story itself... or too much and the story gets lost in the character. Richard writes his character's back-stories with a perfect balance ... woven in all the right places in the story. The difference between telling a story and telling it well is all in the little details. Richard's characters may not be well-balanced, in a psychological sense I hasten to add, but they are balanced well in the narrative. Layers and depth are important in the development of a character; something Richard does extremely well.
I'm going to say something here that some will not agree with, but a book review isn't just reciting the plot points of the story; it is also about interpretation and effect on the reader. A few dry, dusty words won't make one rush down to the bookstore or log on to Amazon with that little rectangle of plastic `twixt clenched fingers.
Rape is about power and control... domination. Battling with the demons of both her present and past self while trying to work the cases with Flare, there is a scene in which Mandy is forced into the unthinkable act of raping herself in an attempt to regain that power and control before she is completely lost. This is a particularly revelatory scene, both for the reader and the character. I realize that some will read those passages and have a different interpretation, but this is what resonated with me... this is what I think is being told. It goes deeper than just the domination of her partner... that alone does not give Steele all that she needs. The duality of sadism and masochism makes Detective Inspector Mandy Steele a very interesting character in this little `fête de l'horreur et l'obsession'.
Frustration grows for the police and public alike as it becomes increasingly apparent that there is more than one killer at work in the streets of London and its suburbs. The police struggle to find connections between the victims, racing against the clock to stop the madness before another grisly murder is committed. Grisly might be too mild a word for the atrocities that are wrought on innocent yet not so innocent flesh. Trophies are taken and marks are left... the `trademarks' of a truly sick, twisted mind... the mind of one of the most diabolical characters Richard has created.
Evil always leaves scars and those scars sometimes breed new evil... which leaves fresh scars and those... and so the cycle goes... evil is perpetuated.
People often do bad things as an act of vengeance or rebellion against those who wrought the scars. The human mind has an amazing capacity for evil and those caught up in evil will use it to justify their own weaknesses and flaws.
Scars is a `sub theme', if you will, behind Mr. Glamour.... beyond the mirrors and reflections of sex and excess. Mr. Glamour is more than just a novel about a serial killer loose in the streets of London, mutilating the `glamour set' and confounding the police authorities at every turn. What is the motive in that? Why does a person do something so egregious and horrific? What drives them?
Mr. Glamour is about people with scars... physical scars that can drive one to inflict what was wrought on them onto others... the need for revenge. Psychological scars that push a person to acts they would not normally contemplate were it not for the mental deficit present, exacerbated by events beyond their control... that they cannot control... thus leading them to acts of their own in an attempt to regain some semblance of control. Emotional scars so deep-seated that they have split the psyche of the individual and the two parts become locked in conflict until the stronger half of the duality emerges and dominates the whole, following its new imperative. And then there are those who have had devastating physical and emotional scars rendered upon them... creating a vicious, murderous psychosis. A madman isn't born... he is made.
If that rather blank-eyed stare in the eyes of your neighbour as she sorts through the cutlery bin at the department store sounds warning bells in your head... it would probably be best to decline any invitation for afternoon tea.
Don't say I didn't warn you!
Richard... Thank you very much for a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining story. Mr. Glamour is guaranteed to stay with the reader long after that last page is turned.
And if my hand shakes a little the next time I slip into my favorite La Perla or Samantha Chang or Maison Close... well, I guess we all know who I have to thank for that, don't we?
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
Cannon Beach, Oregon
28 May 2012
That's Mr. Glamour, Richard Godwin's deeply disturbing--but electrifying--noir novel.
Horrific as it is, you'll be hungry for more.
Most recent customer reviews
She has the eyes of a pit viper and the mouth of an angel.
She parts her lips slowly,
Holding you in her cold green camera shutter...Read more