Monday, January 23, 2012

#3: He Died With His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond

A nameless London copper, working dead end cases out of a notorious police station called The Factory, becomes dangerously obsessed with a bum's murder in Derek Raymond's powerful crime novel He Died With His Eyes Open.

The policeman becomes enamored of a series of philosophical audio recordings that the murder victim made on his long slide downward, and ends up meeting--and then, strangely, courting--the cold-hearted beauty who precipitated his decline.

Derek Raymond's "Factory" series, written in the 80s and 90s, has often been pointed to as launching a London noir movement; I don't doubt David Peace (with his Yorkshire Ripper novels) had to have been a fan, among others. It also seems as if the late Derek Raymond was an interesting person in his own right, which I am sure has led to the mystique as well.

I first stumbled across Raymond's novels on the South Bank in London among rows of used books; my greatest regret in that visit to London was that I did not snatch them up right when I saw them, for when I went back later they were gone.  I remembered the author and, when I saw them on Amazon, purchased the first one for my beloved Kindle and read it quickly.

He Died With His Eyes Open is very tough, and very frank, and thus is recommended for discriminating tastes. I will definitely read more in the series.

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