ebook: How the Dead Live by Derek Raymond, 1986 (no date for ebook reprint), 9781612190150.
Well, this is the 2nd Raymond novel I have read in the factory series and life in Thatcher England was dark and dreary.
Getting up to date: The Factory series novels by Raymond are well known and had recent reprints. All were written in the early to id-1980s and feature a nameless police detective Protagonist from department A14 - Unexplained Deaths - investigates cases over five novels. He is single and has no manners, patience, or family. He's a nihilist with a hopeful streak.
Protagonist is sent on a 90 minutes drive from London to investigate the case of a missing small-town woman whose case was set aside by the local cop shop. Protagonist never seems to be in a good mood but maybe that is just my reading. He is proud of his job and reminds people that he may be a jerk, but he'll do the same thorough work if the complainers get killed or go missing.
Anyhoo. Protagonist arrives in town, starts looking around, finds out the local cop shop is staffed by dicks and an crooked chief. He finds out the missing woman had not been seen in months and used to walk around town with a veil over the lower part of her face. Protagonist really dislikes a few of the people. Protagonist really likes a few of the people. Protagonist is always getting in trouble with his work superiors and will never get a promotion.
A dark and deep novel with plenty of booze and uncaring people. Economic calamity with Tahtcher's "Fuck you" to the working class. Every day has bother world wars front and center: Protagonist a child of the war with a Army father, war veterans or both wars living in the small town, evidence of how the war effected everything and still drives many decisions and behaviors.
Let's not pretend Protagonist is there to help and care for strangers. He feels sorry for a few people but he is mostly shut down from his emotions and the things he sees and the people he deals usually spark anger rather than empathy. He hates bullies. He hates conmen. He hates goons.
Give the series a try. Raymond has some great storytelling. I just gloss over the overly long philosophical posts as Protagonist recalls a londg dead girlfriend who used to speak about life, destiny and meaning.
1. This got me thinking about the Rule of Law and how important it is for society to run well. People are held to account and the state, not the victims, are the one who make the process fair. Police Officers make human mistakes but their honesty and dedication are vital. It also makes me remember how the Rule of Law fails and the super rich and powerful get away with all sorts of shit, shit, shit.