"If the varying tones of gritty crime procedural, black comedy and gothic grand guignol sometimes clash, readers (those with strong stomachs, anyway) will be having too much fun to care." - Publishers Weekly
Manchester, England. Death stalks these streets in the form of a hired killer named Rawhead--a shadowy yet powerful figure desperate to control a ruthless mob family called The Priesthood. He will stop at nothing to invade their inner sanctum.
Author Billy Dye has finally found success after years of struggle. But now Rawhead, his childhood friend turned maniacal assassin, has reentered his life and involved him in a plot to take over The Priesthood and wrest control of the Manchester underworld. Nobody is safe in this action-packed, violent, and often hilarious crime novel.
David Bowker is the new voice of British crime and the most original author to burst on the scene in years.
About the Author
Born in Manchester, David Bowker worked as a journalist, has published five novels and was voted 'Manchester Writer of the Year' by City Life magazine. The Death You Deserve was his United States debut.
David Bowker was born in Manchester and worked as a journalist. He is the author of The Death You Deserve, a Booksense 76 Mystery Pick, and I Love My Smith&Wesson, an Entertainment Weekly Must List selection.
Read an Excerpt
On the eve of his wedding, Billy Dye received a warning from a dead man. It was a message scrawled in blood.
Billy recognized the writing.
He recognized the blood.
When Billy came down to breakfast, the card was waiting for him, propped up against the toast rack. It was early. The hotel restaurant was half empty. There was a package beside the card, which Billy opened first. The package contained two advance copies of the U.S. version of Dances with Werewolves by William Dye. The book's jacket, which Billy had never seen before, showed a wolfs green eye with a miniature Fred and Ginger reflected in its center.
Billy smiled at the book and the legend on the back: "his American debut." T is was a ie. His first novel, Unholier than Thou, had been published by a tiny Boston company six years before, when it had sold precisely five copies.
Billy turned his attention to the card. He took his time, studying the envelope to see if he could guess who it was from. The address was neatly typed: "William Dye, The Bridal Suite, The Skene Castle Hotel, Argyllshire, Scotland." There was a Manchester postmark. The card within was homemade, its corners trimmed with lace in the Victorian style. on the cover, a heart-shaped window looked onto a fetching little collage of snakes, skulls, and tombstones.
Billy was the first member of his party to surface, so no one saw the look on his face when he opened the card and looked inside. The effect that the message within had on Billy was remarkable. He turned lime pale and held his hand to his mouth, as if to stifle a curse or a flood of vomit. Then he picked up the card, ignoring the waitress who had arrived to take his order, and strode out of the restaurant.
At the foot of the stairs, he almost collided with his bride-to-be and their young daughter. They were coming out of the lift, but Nikki was carrying the baby in her left arm while her right hand forced back the heavy old-fashioned lift gate and she failed to notice him.
When Billy reached their room, he was trembling. He studied the card again, not wishing to believe what he'd seen the first time:
I SHALL BE WITH YOU ON YOUR WEDDING NIGHT.
The message was a quotation from Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. In the novel, Frankenstein starts to construct a female companion for his monster, then decides against it. The monster retaliates by murdering Frankenstein's wife after the ceremony.
Frankenstein was one of Billy's favorite novels. it was also loved by Rawhead.
From anyone else such a promise would be meaningless. But Rawhead tended to carry out his threats. Wherever he walked, he brought death and destruction. He was the most frightening man alive. Billy had tried to kill him. It was now apparent that he had failed. The monster had returned.
It was alive, alive.
And it wanted blood.
Billy was shaking.
He walked over to the minibar, a tiny fridge stocked as usual with overpriced miniatures and second-rate soft drinks in slim cans. With-out thinking, he emptied a bottle of gin into a glass and gulped it down.
Then he walked to his sock drawer and took out the gun that was hidden there. It was a Smith & Wesson 360 PD. A short-range firearm, but that didn't matter. Billy was a short-range marksman. He had pur-chased the gun months ago from a lunatic in a pub. At home, Billy liked to stand before the mirror, aiming the gun at his reflection: So. You think you re a match for the big boys?
There was a time when Billy had despised guns. But now he sympa-thized with Chuck Heston, who thought that every decent, law-abiding citizen should have a, gun to deter motherfuckers. Particularly those motherfuckers who wanted to raise their children in a safe, nonviolent world. (How dare they?)
If the police had caught Billy in possession of the Smith & Wesson, he would probably have f0faced a prison sentence. Billy didn't care for the police. As far as he was concerned, the police were the root cause of all criminal activity. When Rawhead came looking for him, where would the police be? Swapping porn, dealing drugs, getting pissed, arresting penniless old ladies for stealing tins of beans.
Carefully Billy set fire to the card, carried it into the bathroom, and dropped it into the washbasin. When it was charcoal, he broke it into pieces, turned on the tap, and flushed the black mess away.
(Chapter 1 continues...)
Copyright 2004 by David Bowker
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you like British crime movies, you'll love this book. Reminisent of Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, it's sexy and fast paced. I hungrily read this book in three long sittings, and now I'm sad that I didn't savor it more.
Horrible book. Rating scale does not allow a negative #. Otherwise it would be a negative - 5.
The night before horror author Billy Dye¿s wedding to Nikki, the mother of his child, hired killer Rawhide comes back into his life. Billy thinks Rawhide is going to kill him but even though Rawhide knows his childhood friend tried to murder him, he has other plans for Billy just as he has for The Priesthood, a mob that controls all the illegal activities that goes on in Manchester. He once killed the head of the organization, Malcolm Priest and his lieutenants, an action that weakened the gang considerably...................................... The new leader Chef has made the organization stronger than ever. Little Malc, Priest¿s son, believes that Rawhide killed his father Malcolm Priest and has offered a reward for his capture or his death. Little Malc hires Rawhide, who he has never seen, as a bouncer for his club and the killer arranges it so that he saves Little Malc from an assassination attempt. This wins him Little Malc¿s trust and puts him in a position to pit him against Chef. Meanwhile, Rawhides plans for Billy don¿t go as planned because the author accidentally kills his wife and a sympathetic nerve in the killer¿s heart is touched. While helping Billy he meets his female counterpart and the two killers form a partnership based on love and murder..................................... David Bowker has written a unique crime thriller that will strike a chord with the audience. I Love My Smith & Wesson is a satire on mobs and crime lords and is not to be taken seriously. The situations that Rawhide manipulates verge on the slapstick but Mr. Bowker stops short of having them cross that line. He has a fresh unique voice that readers will appreciate for his dry wit and cutting edge humor........................ Harriet Klausner