Sunday, May 13, 2012

#19: The Devil's Home On Leave by Derek Raymond

A nameless detective who works dead-end cases in an ominous London police building called The Factory chases a serial killer in The Devil's Home On Leave, the second novel in Derek Raymond's Factory series.

The first novel, He Died With His Eyes Open, is an absolutely harrowing, philosophical murder mystery and a milestone London noir for those with discriminating tastes.  I didn't find the follow-up novel to be quite as strong, but still an offbeat story with lots of crackling dialogue.

Although our philosophical protagonist figures out the killer early on, he ruminates over the nature of evil for quite a stretch between some bare-knuckled adventuring.  A tense conclusion/confrontation ties the story up nicely, though a subplot with espionage overtones seemed misplaced to me and distracted a bit from the overall work.

I first discovered Derek Raymond among the used booksellers along London's South Bank last year and regretted not grabbing a handful when I had the chance.  I was lucky to find this one used here in the States and read it quickly on a return flight to Europe.  Overall, still recommended and I will look for the third volume in the series.

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