Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book Review: 'Insincerity' by Richard Godwin

‘Not all hookers work the streets, I called myself an escort but it’s the same thing.’

British author Richard Godwin earned his BA and MA in English and American Literature from King's College London, where he also lectured. He is well established as important writer – some of his many novels include APOSTLE RISING, MR GLAMOUR, ONE LOST SUMMER, NOIR CITY, MEANINGFUL CONVERSTAIONS, CONFESSIONS OF A HIT MAN, ANDROID LOVE HUMAN SKIN, THE PURE AND THE HATED, ERSATZ WORLD, WE TAKE WHAT FATHERS WE CAN, LOCKED IN CAGES, and INSINCERITY. His publications include 29 anthologies and books of poetry. He also is a produced playwright. 

Terror, horror, suspense and crime breathe in his novels, and INSINCERITY is proof of that statement and more. For an author to create the gasping response on the first page is unusual but Richard has accomplished it – ‘Tammy Wayne knew the voice, cold, metallic, lacking intonation. It hummed in her head like a tuning fork as she peered through the Venetian blinds of her office in Fulham down into the bright street below. It was an idle gesture. She knew he wouldn’t be out there. He was too smart. She said nothing, hoping to hold him long enough to get the trace on the phone call. Waiting for the man who called himself The Pimp to make a mistake. ‘I can’t hear you, it’s a bad line,’ she said, keeping her voice steady, controlled. ‘I have things to give you, all that frozen skin, piece by broken piece,’ he said. ‘I’m going to find you and kill you for what you did.’ ‘I hope you enjoy your sister’s mouth.’‘The first explosion ripped through the outer wall, tearing the facade from the office block. A chair and a desk landed on the pavement, their legs rolling into the traffic as cars swerved to avoid them. The second explosion came exactly two minutes later and removed the entire floor of the building. Two pedestrians were injured by falling debris and it took the fire brigade several hours to put out the fire. Tammy Wayne had gone out on an unexpected call after The Pimp ended the call. She narrowly missed being there when the building was blown apart. A woman called Joyce Farmer had rung a few minutes before his call, claiming to know The Pimp’s identity. Joyce said enough for her to suspect she was not a hoaxer. As it was, the call saved her life.’

In the well-crafted synopsis the horror of this tale comes through – ‘Ex-military PI, Tammy Wayne, tracks serial killers for a living. With the help of her colleague Arlene she locates a killer known as The Pimp, who killed her sister Holly. The Pimp has Tammy under surveillance, coming and going to her house as he wants, sending her Holly’s body parts. The Beekeeper, a killer that abducts women and coats them in latex before killing them, enters the story. Both killers collect body parts. Karen Sincere is married to dangerous and disturbed Micky Sincere. His obsession with bees convinces her Mickey is leading a double life as a killer. She hires Tammy, who begins tailing Micky and discovers he is gay and is involved with a gangster named Gary Krane. Karen meets the handsome Julius Gold in the exclusive Attic bar in Canary Wharf and starts an affair with him. The model Kitten Rogers, aka Ashley Greene - also having an affair with Julius - hires a detective. Ashley is convinced Julius is hiding something. The Pimp closes in, abducting Tammy, Arlene and Ashley. Only Julius can save them - the man hiding his involvement with a gangster.’

This is superb mystery writing – skillful, well paced and a breath holder until the lat page. Strong work, this

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.