Tangled Web UK Review September 2000
Bleached White by
hbk out June 00
Published by Piatkus
This is not a crime book in the usual sense, but is a horror thriller with a touch of science fiction.
A gang of drugged-up animal-rights youngsters break into a Nottingham laboratory and accidentally release a 'transgenic monster' along with the guinea pigs, killing a guard in the process and losing their leader to the monster.
An unemployed woman TV reporter is persuaded to take the story on and via some shady contacts, becomes embroiled in a dastardly plot by the government to cover up the nastiness at the laboratory by using some ruthless 'fix-it' organisation to achieve damage-limitation. There is much racing around the darkened country side with a 'Swampy -like' character, trying to collar the transgenic after he devours each new victim.
The writing is powerful and the story well-constructed, even though rather nasty and depressing. It has an undercurrent of protest and moral challenge, aimed at the autocracy of the establishment in pursuing evil lines of research and stamping on any opposition.
As in the work of a number of other younger authors (36 is young to me!), there seems an excessive emphasis on cruelty and suffering, with disembowelled animals and descriptions of torture. Maybe the horror genre demands this, but along with the over-use of obscenity in the dialogue, it's not a book I would want to read for pleasure, unless perhaps I was young again myself.
- Author of the highly acclaimed Crowner John series set in Medieval Devon)