Monday 20 November 2023

Justice Killer by Martin Knight #JusticeKiller @MartinKnight_ @London_Books #BookReview


Paul Garfield is a suicide in waiting. Following the death of his wife and soulmate, Jan, he lives with controlled despair, going through the motions for the sake of his daughter, who is starting out in the world. When he recalls the murder of an elderly war hero he knew as a schoolboy, and believing an older local youth to be responsible, Paul is determined to confront the killer. Travelling back to his childhood home, he surprises himself by what happens next. And how it makes him feel. Vengeance is easy. Retribution is sweet. Life is worth living.

The notorious rape and murder of two hitchhikers from decades past resurfaces in the news when the killer is paroled, and Paul decides that wrongs have not been adequately righted. Neither has punishment been applied to the historic abuser of his surrogate son, Bubbles. Operating from the moral high ground, Paul sets out on a quest for justice. But when a celebrity clairvoyant claims to be in touch with Jan, he becomes enraged and decides the medium must prove he isn't a fake. A line is crossed. Exploring themes of law and order, revenge, vigilantism and bereavement driven despair, Justice Killer is the story of an ordinary man who has decided enough is enough.

Justice Killer by Martin Knight was published on 13 November 2023 by London Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Martin Knight has co-written memoirs with the likes of George Best, he's also written true-crime books and some novels. Justice Killer is the first time that I've come across this author and I am very pleased to discover him. 

Lead character Paul Garfield is a complex and intricate man, he was recently widowed. His late wife Jan was the total love of his life and he feels lost without her. So lost in fact, that he knows that one day soon he will take his own life. Paul doesn't believe in the after-life, he's not trying to reunite with Jan, he's just tired of coping on his own. For the sake of his only daughter Holly, he's still around, for the time being. 

Paul is an angry man, despairing of the way in which the country is going, sick to the back teeth of social injustices and he thinks he has an answer. It's the very early days of the internet, and Paul had discovered just how much information is out there, easy to access and easy to use for his own good. 

What follows is an often brutal account of Paul's own form of justice. He targets his victims carefully, these are man who've done wrong in their lives and have got away with it. There's an incredible dry humour running through this tale, as well as firm themes of despair and revenge. 

The author allows the reader to really get to know Paul, we learn about his early years, how he and Jan met and created such a great relationship. The soaring success of his construction business that has enabled him to live comfortably, and also his kindness to those closest to him. Paul is not a bad, or wicked man, he's just an ordinary bloke who has had enough and goes out and does something about it. 

Justice Killer is totally and utterly compelling. At times, I really thought I was reading a memoir as there are real life events mentioned throughout the fictional story. It's clever and intriguing, it's often brutal, but I suspect that every reader will empathise with Paul, despite the way that he takes the law into his own hands, and despite the dead bodies littered throughout the narrative. 

Paul doesn't always get it right though and when he targets a TV Psychic who claims to have spoken with his dead wife Jan,  he realises that for once, he may be wrong. However, his rage has consumed him and he continues his quest, even though, deep down, he knows that this is a mistake. It is his contemplation of this episode that adds so much to the story, the in-depth look at how vengeance and retribution are not alway sweet and how he then goes on to cope with his mistake. 

This is unique and thrilling, crime fiction with a difference and it's so good to find an author who can take age-old subjects such as the serial killer and retribution and put a new spin on them. Highly recommended. 

Martin Knight is the author of numerous fiction and non fiction works, as well as the biographer of maverick footballers such as George Best and Peter Osgood. 

The fictionalised account of his grandmother’s life Battersea Girl is rooted in the history and culture of a working class London that informs much of his writing.

X/Twitter @MartinKnight_

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