“Want. Want. Want. Over reason.”
The Killing of Bobbi Lomax
Faber and Faber
Allen & Unwin
When a sleepy, devout town is rocked by three deadly bombs in 24 hours an extraordinary mystery is unravelled…
The Killing of Bobbi Lomax is the story of Clark Houseman, a rare books dealer, an expert in his field, beloved by both collectors and The Faith – the immensely powerful local church, and one of his biggest clients.
Beloved, that is, until he is blown up by the city’s third bomb in less than twenty-four hours. As Clark hovers on the brink of death first on the scene are Detectives Sinclair and Alvarez who, after the previous deadly blasts, are under pressure to close the case and stop panic spreading through their community. Amid a vortex of conspiracy theories and local politics, their investigation unearths a web of intrigue surrounding The Faith and its secretive dealings. With time running out, the Detectives start to wonder if there could be more to the mild-mannered, bookish Clark Houseman than first thought…
What a wonderful debut novel – clever, complex, multi layered; murders, scams, corruption, politics, religion and revenge and ego – this book has it all.
This is a very visual narrative – the settings – small town, “religious heartlands” USA, 1980’s – no mobiles, or computers, or internet, the policing is done the old fashioned way – interviews, hard work, assessing the crime scene evidence… and listening to “experts” in their field. In this narrative, the cops are the good guys, mostly, the main characters Marty and Al are likeable and there is just a hint of the past that influences their present space. I think we will hear more about them in ensuing reads from this talented author.
I love the phrase, Clark’s mantra “Want. Want, Want. Over reason.” How accurate does that sum up most of life lessons? “Want” wins every time, feeds the ego. The cynic in me long ago identified the “give them/tell them what they want to hear” approach to…quite a few thingsJ especially when dealing with bureaucracy. Clark however uses this approach to maximise his influence and feed his need for power and money. It is ironic that it also leads to his downfall.
This novel has a great rhythm and pace; you just sit back and let the narrative lead you to the conclusion. The narrative has control! A control you willing hand over. Relax, immerse and enjoy this read.