Confessions of an English Psychopath
Jack D. McLean
£9.99, independently published
I do not seem to be called on to review many romantic novels or love stories written by solicitors. I am not sure why. Perhaps lawyers want to write novels about darker subjects. It must be the company we keep or perhaps we have a fascination for bad deeds. I admit to going on holiday with a volume of the Great British Trials books.
This is an interesting tale by a former solicitor about a man who is recruited by a shadowy organisation to cleanse unwanted people. The word ‘cleanse’ means assassinate and it is the government who is the client. The hero of the book, if that is the right word, is a psychopath. He enjoys his job and develops this into an art form.
There is something engaging about him and his various conquests. Despite the dark theme the book is written with a light touch. It does not take itself too seriously. The ‘hero’s’ job interview is unusual to put it mildly. Perhaps there are some tips for lawyers on how to recruit staff. His work takes him abroad and into prison. The thriller moves at a good pace and contains some interesting conundrums, such as the moral quandary of what does the assassin do if their target victim is dying anyway? Well, keep them alive until you can kill them, of course.
I enjoyed the detail. I assume the title is a nod to Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. There is a reference to a cabinet of files marked ‘Alumni of Broadmoor’, which must offend against data protection if nothing else. There is also mention of the ‘blue people’ of America. I checked – there really are blue people in America, caused by a rare genetic disorder. I also enjoyed the unusual ways to deal with illegal parking.
I promise you will not read anything vaguely similar to this highly original novel.
David Pickup is a partner at Pickup & Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury