For this twisted little tale we are transported to the Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl, where we follow the story of Simone; a man with many stories to tell, and the story of Toni; a young lady at university studying to become a teacher.
Toni also works as a volunteer at a local Samaritan centre as a call centre operator. One evening whilst working, she receives a phonecall from Simone. A man who begins to explain the details from his very unsavoury upbringing.
Simone is a man that since his childhood, has had a special relationship with his crew - his krull gang. Led by his second in command; Mr Tickles. He would argue that they are his troops, some may argue that they are toys. This is the first instance of feeling that there is something unsettling about this individual.
The timeline shifts back to when Simone was young (the first of many) where we get the intricate details of a young boy raised by a single mother, following his father returning to Italy after being forced out by his wife. I won't lie, there are parts of this that really make for some awkward reading, but persist, it is all laying the foundation for the overall build up of the character.
Finishing the call, Simone is relieved to have dumped some of the weight from his shoulders and decides to head into town to the funfair, where he enjoys reminiscing on some of the better parts of his life. Here, he bumps into two teenagers; Sara and Michelle who find him attractive, plus he's able to provide the under age girls with alcohol. He talks the girl's into a private party on the beach....
From here on in, the story takes a direct split between the two main characters of Toni and Simone. Introducing new people such as Stu; the good looking, friendly co-worker of Toni who she strikes up a casual relationship with, and Chaos; a hard hitting dominatrix who sees Simone in their relationship as her slave.
As things begin to unfold, Toni finds herself continually looking forward to her interaction over the phone with Simone, initially finding her curiosity spiked by his character, and eventually becoming almost to the point of obsession.
I'm going to leave my description of the content there. I don't want to give too much away on the overall story. It's a speckled timeline of events, that if you don't pay close attention to, you could lose something essential from the plot.
I'll warn you, this book won't be for everyone. Some of the grimy, broken characters that the author brings to the fold are truly despicable. He offers up some of the most messed up people that you will ever find, yet the read is compelling and justified in every case with some weird and wonderful back stories and fantastic character development.
There is a very high content of graphic sex and violence throughout this book. Thats what makes extreme horror, surely? The way that the author handles this is gratuitous and in your face, yet still believable. The most messed up of situations could be happening on your own doorstep.
For me, it took a while for the overall story to settle down and find its own flow, but once it does, its excused because every single aspect is an integral part of the plot. Its complex, yet simple in the same manner.
In summary, I found it a really good book. It's not what I expected at all. Utterly disturbing at times, yet still interlaced with many, many moments of funny dialogue. There is a little but of everything, sex, lies, betrayal, revenge, you name it, it's in there somewhere.
For me, a great read, very unexpected, and I felt like I needed to scrub myself down with wire wool after reading certain scenes. But that's the point, that's the way it is fully intended.
If you're easily offended or squeamish, I would recommend leaving this one well alone. If you like something thats going to get your extreme juices flowing. Get it now.
For me 5/5. This is only the second thing that I have read from this author, he's a wrong un, but in the right way.