Paul Harrison is a retired police officer who has worked on a number of high profile cases. His debut novel, Revenge of the Malakim, is the first in a series described as ‘The Grooming Parlour Trilogy.’ This title gives an insight into the horror that is to come. Set in Bridlington in East Yorkshire, DCI Will Scott is called to a murder scene where a man has been brutally tortured. It becomes clear that the victim was responsible for horrendous child abuse cases and, as authorities close rank, Scott has to investigate a murder where sympathies are divided.
I’ve read an interview with the author who mentions that the serial killer within the pages of Revenge of the Malakim is based on real life murderers he has met in the course of his work. He uses his experience to pull the reader into the story and the subject is tackled with sensitivity to the victims. There’s a strong sense of evil in the book and the murders are described graphically. This might not be to everyone’s taste but is realistic given the author’s background and the revelation that the killer is likely to be a victim of the child abuser. There’s a fair amount of descriptive prose at the beginning of the book which sets out the background to the Will Scott the but once the narrative gets going, it’s an interesting story on how the legacy of abuse can explode into violence.
Malakim incidentally is part of the Judaic hierarchy of angels. Harrison describes his as employed by God to wreak destruction on mortals who intentionally harm children. It’s an interesting subject and I enjoyed doing some background reading on angels in Judaism.