Ali Karim is a Board Member of Bouchercon [The World Crime & Mystery Convention] and co-chaired programming for Bouchercon Raleigh, North Carolina in 2015. He is Assistant Editor of Shots eZine, British correspondent for The Rap Sheet and writes and reviews for many US magazines & Ezines.
A new name for crime fiction readers, though a very familiar name for those in tune with the horror genre – comes the award winning Conrad Williams, with his debut Crime Thriller, the start of a new PI series based in the dark underbelly of London.
The action starts on page one as we are introduced to Joel Sorrell, a melancholic Private Eye, and former cop haunted by the murder of his wife, and his hunt for his missing teenage daughter Sarah – wounds that despite being several years old, still bleed inside his mind. The witty dialogue and banter that Sorrell deploys is as black as pitch, and helps dispel some of the gloom that this tale traverses. With a mental burden that focuses on Sorrell’s loss, he has self-destruction at his core with a turn of phrase that makes one pause [and reflect], as if we’re listening to the thoughts of a Cockney Philip Marlowe or Spenser.
After he is hired by the mysterious Kara Geenan, to track her missing brother Jason, Sorrell undergoes several visceral assaults – he licks his wounds, and buckles up to find out what is really going on. It appears that a serial killer maybe operating under the radar, and we see that monsters beget monsters, for Williams' PI tries to place context to the evil behind the man called ‘Wire’.
It should also be noted that one of the more startling characters is the backdrop - London, but one not torn from the pages of Trip Advisor or Expedia, for Joel Sorrell’s view of England’s capital is more akin to a Hell of sorts, which makes the analogy of our detective having to undergo 'the trials of Job'. Dust and Desire is cruel and unusual [as a narrative], making the reader excited to see what happens to Sorrell in his next outing; for Williams is penning a series, and those who enjoy the nihilistic tales of Derek Raymond, the work of Conrad Williams will engage, as well as terrify.