Johnston, Paul - 'The Death List'
This hard-boiled thriller is definitely not for those with a sensitive disposition as it contains some very graphic scenes of the utmost bloody cruelty.
The hero Matt Wells is a London based crime novelist whom has already enjoyed some success and published several books but is currently suffering from writer's block and has been dropped by both his publisher and literary agent.
He is going through money problems also when he is contacted by a serial killer called the "White Devil". Matt is flabbergasted to learn that this person seems to know everything about him and his novels.
A series of very gory murders start and Matt is astonished to see that the killings are based on versions used in his books and the police suspect him of being guilty of them. The White Devil sends Matt a large sum of money and demands that he write graphic descriptions of the murders and email them to the murderer. Threats are made that his ex-wife and daughter will be killed in a gory manner if he doesn't carry out the killer's wishes and at first Matt complies.
Then he decides to launch his own offensive using friends from his rugby playing days and despite some clever red herrings from the author the story reaches a very satisfactory ending.
I thought this novel very gripping even whilst personally feeling rather shocked at the gratuitous use of violence.
Read another review of THE DEATH LIST.
Terry Halligan, England