British author David Bowker, formerly of Manchester, gives an
American readership a first glimpse of his incredible wit in THE
DEATH YOU DESERVE. His fifth novel tells the story of Billy Dye, a
failed horror writer. Billy's girlfriend has left him. His novel
draws no reviews and, thus, no sales. He does interview a local
gangster, Malcolm Priest, for a magazine article. Based on a
diluted version of the story Billy has written, Priest hires him to
become his biographer. Billy's troubles begin for real at this
Billy's character is the ultimate "loser." He wades into
predicaments that should teach him lessons about the human psyche,
but Billy manages to sink deeper into the muck of his own making
via his acid tongue. He is soon put at the top of Priest's "hit
list." Rawhead is the hitman hired to eradicate Billy, who soon
finds himself kidnapped and held in a manner of protective custody.
It turns out that Rawhead is a childhood friend from grammar school
who had idolized Billy.
Bowker's wit is hilarious. His characters are real yet
side-splittingly funny. Rawhead's many-sided character is a hoot to
follow. He is both a professional killer and a student of
supernatural literature classics, with an extensive collection of
signed first editions. Billy is both impressed with and frightened
of him. The two unlikely companions are knit by a tighter cord when
they run from Priest's henchmen, bent on killing them both.
A little book, THE DEATH YOU DESERVE can be read in an afternoon
with a thirst for more. Notwithstanding a couple of stumbles
through British slang, Bowker's story is a great read. Billy is the
bumbling bloke that endears himself to us by his misadventures in
Manchester and beyond. Despite his shortcomings, he deserves a
hearty cheer for his fortitude. Names like Chef, Dogman, Beast and
Heidi are Bowker's clever insertions that will make THE DEATH YOU
DESERVE a chuckle in the memory bank.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 21, 2011