Monday, July 06, 2009

Savage morning after: Allan Guthrie's Killing Mum

When we left our friends at the end of Allan Guthrie's Savage Night, the prospects for some were uncertain. Guthrie's new novella, Killing Mum, finds a career for one of that book's peripheral characters and looks more closely at the career of another, one work assignment in particular. Here they are, preparing to torch a van to dispose of evidence and hoping to disguise the blaze as joyriders' vandalism:

"When he'd finished, he walked over to watch Jordan's handiwork. Jordan had written FIREMEN on the side of the van and was standing staring at it.

"He noticed the beam of Carlos's torch, stepped back.
I'm stuck.

"`Suck,' Carlos said, around the torch.

"No, stuck.

"Carlos took the torch out of his mouth. `Suck,' he said. `Add "suck."'

"Okay. Jordan shook the can, sprayed out the word. `
Firemen suck.' Sounds a bit lame.

"`Cock,' Carlos said. `Add "cock."'

Guthrie has moved into darker territory with his latest novel, Slammer, but I'd like to think of Hard Man, Savage Night and Killing Mum as a fictional universe, a ****ed-up, affecting, funny, murderous family saga that does a bit of genre-jumping in the bargain.

Guthrie's Web site links to a purchase page for Killing Mum that quotes reviews of his other work. One blurb seems especially pertinent: “Guthrie’s control of this dark material is sheer wizardry.” Killing Mum contains a lot of twists for a book of about ninety pages, and they're good twists, throwing the plot in unexpected directions without seeming manipulative.


N.B.: Killing Mum is part of a series of novellas called Crime Express from Five Leaves Publishing. Hat tip to Donna Moore's Big Beat From Badsville blog for heaping well-deserved praise on these slim, inexpensive, tough-as-nails books. And kudos to Five Leaves, too.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Do you think they'll change it to Killing Mom?

Incidentally what do they say in Canada Mum or Mom?

July 06, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I hope not. "Killing Mom" sounds too Leave It to Beaverish.

I grew up saying Mum(my), but I have noticed that my sister says Mom. Whether this is due to the years she spent in Ontario or to the encroachment of American popular culture with its Mom, I don't know.

July 06, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say I find this exchange a little unnerving.

July 06, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I suspect it's supposed to be so. The exchange happens as killers prepare to burn their victims' bodies to destroy evidence. Humor at such moments can relieve tension and be disquieting at the same time.

July 06, 2009  
Blogger John McFetridge said...

I think in eastern Canada it's Mum but the further west you go the more it becomes Mom.

I don't want to ovrsimplify, but Canada gets more American the further west you get.

July 06, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That sounds about right. I'll have to check with my relatives in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and B.C. to be sure.

July 06, 2009  

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