By: Ken Bruen
‘Baudelaire had written that man selects his prey, then becomes anxious and impatient for the kill…’
Throughout his life accountant Mike Shaw has played it safe, kept his head down, and avoided risk. His girlfriend Brenda is a secretary. Their idea of a night on the town is to visit the local pizza parlour. But when Mike meets Laura in a bar off The Strand, their lives are irrevocably changed.
Small, sexy, smart – and utterly dangerous – Laura instantly spellbinds Mike and leads him into a world of moral depravity, dominated by the sinister presence of her powerful and rich father, Harold Benton. Dressed in safari suits, dining in West End restaurants, Benton drinks only the best of wines and whiskies, imitates Richard Burton, and quotes French poet Baudelaire at every opportunity. He is also without conscience, on a hell-bent mission to mould others to his likeness.
Dispatching Baudelaire is about what can happen to the blandest of men when he is seduced by money, power and sex. As we follow Mike on his journey to the heart of darkness, we come to discover that there are few more dangerous animals than an Englishman off balance. Set against the paranoia of early 1990s post-Thatcher London, this is yet another addictive page-turner from Ken Bruen, author of the bestselling Vixen, The Guards and The Killing of the Tinkers – one of the critically acclaimed greats of modern crime and suspense fiction.
KEN BRUEN was born in Galway in 1951. He spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, South-East Asia and South America. His writing changed direction after he was tortured during a four-month stint in a Brazilian prison. A film of his novel Her Last Call to Louis MacNeice is currently in production for Pilgrim Pictures, and his White Trilogy (A White Arrest, Taming the Alien and The McDead) has been bought for television by Deep Indigo Productions. He has a PhD in Metaphysics. In 1995 he was a finalist for the First Blood Award for Best First crime Novel.
ACCLAIM FOR KEN BRUEN
‘A soul-mate of Jim Thompson’s, or maybe of James M.Cain’s, he has a cast of characters which rates high on the deadbeat scale.’ – Irish Times
‘Blurring different styles and genre traits is not only necessary for fiction to evolve and remain relevant, but it also makes for a damn exciting read … Bruen’s books are like odd architectural wonders, stark, strangely unsettling, beautifully classical, yet wholly modern.’ – Crime Factory
‘Bruen is an original, grimly hilarious and gloriously Irish.’ – Patrick Anderson, Washington Post
Ken Bruen’s The Guards was shortlisted in the Best Novel category of the 2004 Edger Allen Poe awards, the most prestigious awards for crime fiction, presented by the Mystery Writers of America.
‘An astounding novel, a poetic account of a desperation as deep and cold as the North Sea.’ – James Crumley, author of The Final Country
‘I will henceforth be first in the queue for anything he writes.’ – Gene Kerrigan, Sunday Independent
‘Low-life thugs, faded movie actresses and brainless killers illuminate the decaying gentility of Holland Park with systematic glee: clipped, breathless and addictive.’ – Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian
HER LAST CALL TO LOUIS MACNEICE
‘The punchy, slangy, jokey narrative, rich in allusion to British and American popular culture, achieves an almost hypnotic quality.’ – Jon L. Breen, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
‘A very stylish writer. Violence, drugs, double-crosses and emotional betrayal all feature against a backdrop of sleazy London hotels and warehouses, and Bruen keeps the tension agonizingly high throughout. Very, very good.’ – Sunday Tribune