Green note: You can see the novel Mr. Glamour as a symbol of the primordial mechanism of obsession with aesthetics, acquisition, and exclusivity. Or you can consider the man, Mr. Glamour, as the intelligence behind that mechanism. Either way, it or he is illusory and self-perpetuating. Ultimately, that will be the chill that Mr. Glamour leaves in your bones…
Richard Godwin wastes no time in “Mr. Glamour.” He begins with a lyrical slice of the killer’s thoughts, a hypnotic tease, “…Welcome to my world, Only I know the rules”, but the induction is so artful—the gleam of a Maserati, the flash of a blade, the blood, thick as the crime scene tension—that you’re straightaway a fly in the spider’s parlour.
“He worked with blood, but the mirror was clean. His hand was still as it held the image. The camera zoomed in on the open window and captured her as she stood in violent twilight.”
There’s nothing to be done but to brace yourself for the barrage of brilliantly plotted scenes that are interwoven throughout with an ingenious subplot, and an outstanding cast of characters—a mix of millionaires, masterminds, beauties, big shots, sickos, plodders and crims—all in the usual states of psychological damage but not usual themselves, for there are no cookie cutters in Mr. Godwin’s world.
“She fled from herself into the bedroom where she lay with her back to the mirror, seeking refuge from the knowledge of who she was.”
Fans of Godwin’s dark prose will not be disappointed. The “Apostle Rising” legacy lives on in “Mr. Glamour” only tighter and faster through the twists and hairpin turns, and broader and keener in its psychological exploration.
“Flare felt the skin, the puckered flesh like a terrain of calluses against his fingertips. He moved his face one way, then the other, watching his twin selves.”
In addition to all of this, Godwin has painted a magnificent, vivid portrait of London. It is allegorical, satirical in its analysis of class, entropic in its acute awareness of decay and fundamentally the most unusual novel you are likely to read all year.
“Watch the crimson blood bead there, lustrous in the light. Surprising how much blood the bloodless have.”
There are lyrical depths here, there are exquisite expositions of character, unrelenting and uninterrupted until the fireworks of revelations at the end. Never mind genre—crime, horror, psychological thriller, police procedural—Mr. Godwin has created a new genre.
“Have you ever paused to consider as the pictures of you dance across screens, shop windows, bright metals, nail polish, how altered you are? The mirror makes identity.”
“Mr. Glamour” is a great novel by a modern master of Gothic.
Also, good news for crime fiction fans: Richard Godwin’s “Apostle Rising” will be coming out in all eReader formats in a couple of weeks. “Well, finally!” is what I say about that.