Long-time followers of this here quality magazine for the finer afficinado of PULP will know the name Richard Godwin & know that his writing holds a special place in PMM’sblack little heart. So, when Richard told me that he was releasing yet another dangerous little gem, I offered him an interview & a chance to say his piece …
1: Tell us all the main inspiration behind Mr Glamour.
With a title like that, I get the feeling there may a smidgeon of Bret Easton Ellis satire to it, am I right?
I have not read much Ellis apart from The Informers, I have seen American Psycho and enjoyed the black satire it involved. There is an element of satire to Mr. Glamour and that is an astute observation. The title itself refers to the world the novel explores, a world of men who can buy anything, and their beautiful women. And it refers to what design means. Brands and cachet, status and allure. It is a novel that has much of the exotic, erotic, sensual and luxurious, and as it takes you into its seductive heart it allows you to understand the motives of the dark protagonist who is watching everyone. He is watching his victims and the police as they attempt to make sense of a series of murders in which the killer is making a point of stating he knows what brands his victims enjoy wearing. That in itself is statement about lifestyle and what consumerism means in an acquisitive society that is propelled by the need for purchases.
Consider the nature of seduction. Its heart is often dark, and it relies on a certain amount of finery that is a distraction. The sexes seduce one another, and humanity is seduced by compulsions it has no control over, compulsions that on the surface may seem innocent, but typify the irrational forces that govern and often break lives. There is much about this in the novel. Many of the characters try to make rational decisions they cannot see through because of events that have left them feeling threatened and altered. And the killer is altering the world he targets. He exists like a shadow at the window of his victims. Until he strikes and leaves the survivors watchful and alone.
2: Why did you choose such a subject to write about?
We live in a surveillance society. That surveillance involves cameras and the internet, it involves our shopping habits being watched and analysed. Data mining is a massive industry. Your purchases are analysed all the time and trigger shopping suggestions. To that extent while people seek out designer goods they are being designed by the purchases they make, since they are connected to a perceived identity. Maybe the public is being eroded by media manipulation, a silent murder is committed by the implanted compulsion to buy, to be seen to belong to a part of a set, since it is the manipulation of choice. The killer in Mr. Glamour is targeting that at source: he is branding his victims’ skins with the letters of their favourite designer goods. There are two stories in the novel. The sub plot in Mr. Glamour is about an unglamorous suburban housewife with a cleaning compulsion and a dark secret, and she and one of the cops lead double lives in the novel.
3: How important is it for you to get right down deep & dirty into the minds of your characters in terms of plot? How do you go about creating these “people”?
It is extremely important. I have tried to explore the roots of motivation in detail in a lot of the characters in Mr. Glamour, and specifically in Mandy Steele, the partner to DI Jackson Flare, and also in Gertrude Miller, the character I have just mentioned in the sub plot. I also dug into Flare’s past and that of the killer’s. Steele has a trauma and the case acts as a key unlocking it. It pushes her to explore her sexual boundaries in private as she tries to come to terms with what she went through and what the killer is doing to his victims. In terms of their genesis, I allow the characters to talk, if you allow them to do that they develop.
4: How do you feel that your writing style has evolved since Apostle Rising? And in which direction do you see it going into the future?
I think Mr. Glamour is tighter and more muscular than Apostle Rising, and reviewers are already picking that up. I would write any novel I feel has a story, regardless of genre, perhaps not romance, no disrespect to the genre, but then who knows, if I can find a suitable romance hybrid with enough rocket power?
5: You are a deft hand at using language to express different feelings, would you ever consider doing something completely different? Comedy? Sci-Fi?
Oh yes. I think to make a story new you have to mix flavours. I want to write a Bizarro novel and definitely a sci fi at some point. At the moment I am writing the sequel to Apostle Rising.
****Mr Glamour in Godwin’s own words …****
Designer goods, beautiful women, wealthy men, a lifestyle preyed on by a serial killer.
A killer who is watching everyone, including the police.
No, an outline of my second novel, Mr. Glamour.
My debut novel Apostle Rising was published in paperback by Black Jackal Books last year. It was about a serial killer crucifying politicians, and sold extremely well, received excellent reviews, and sold foreign rights to the largest publisher in Hungary.
Now Black Jackal Books have published Mr. Glamour, and I’d like to tell you a bit about it. The settings are exotic, and the pages drip with wealth. The story’s told in my usual style, and my readers will know what that means. I have been told I write with a blend of lyricism and graphic description. I like to explore what motivates people and I certainly do so with the leading characters in Mr. Glamour.
The two central cops, DCI Jackson Flare and Inspector Steele, are unusual and strong in their own ways, as reviewers are already picking up. At the beginning of the novel Steele hates working with Flare for personal reasons. She doesn’t by the end, and the investigation takes them both on a journey which changes them and their opinions of one another.
Let me give you the setting if you are tempted to read Mr. Glamour …
Something dark is preying on the glitz of the glamour set. There is a lot about designer goods and lifestyles in Mr. Glamour. The killer knows all about design, he knows what brands mean to his victims. He is branding their skins. And he has the police stumped.
As Flare and Steele investigate the killings they enter an exclusive world with its own rules and quickly realise the man they are looking for is playing a game with them, a game they cannot interpret. The killer is targeting an exclusive group of people he seems to know a lot about.
The police investigation isn’t helped by the fact that Flare and Steele have troubled lives. Harlan White, a pimp who got on the wrong side of Flare, is planning to have him killed. And Steele has secrets. She leads a double life. She is an interesting woman who pushes her sexual boundaries in private. She travels a journey into her own past and rescues herself. And in a strange way she is helped by the killer she is looking for. And Flare has some revelations in store.
As they try to catch a predator who has climbed inside their heads, they find themselves up
against a wall of secrecy. The investigation drives Flare and Steele to acts of darkness. And the killer is watching everyone.
Then there is the sub plot.
Contrasting this lifestyle is the suburban existence of Gertrude Miller, who acts out strange rituals, trapped in a sterile marriage to husband Ben. She cleans compulsively and seems to be hiding something from him, obsessed that she is being followed. As she slips into apsychosis, characters from the glamorous set stray into Gertrude’s world, so the two plots dovetail neatly with one another.
And when Flare and Steele make an arrest they discover there is far more to this glamorous world than they realised. There is a series of shocks at the end of the novel as a set of fireworks go off. Watch out for the highly dramatic ending.
It is already picking up some great reviews.
Advance praise for Mr. Glamour:
“Richard Godwin knows how his characters dress, what they drink and what they drive. He knows how they live— and how they die. Here’s hoping no one recognized themselves in Godwin’s cold canvas. Combines the fun of a good story with the joy of witty, vivid writing.”
Heywood Gould, author of The Serial Killer’s Daughter.
“Smart, scary, suspenseful enough for me to keep the light on until 3AM on a Sunday night, Richard Godwin once more proves to fans of crime fiction the world over with Mr. Glamour, that he is not only one of the best contemporary writers of the procedural cop thriller around today, he is a master storyteller.”
Vincent Zandri, author of Scream Catcher.
“Richard Godwin’s top-of-the-line psychological police procedural driven by its heady pace, steely dialogue, and unsparing vision transfixes the reader from page one.”
Ed Lynskey, author of Skin In The Game.
“Mr. Glamour is a striking effort from one of the most daring crime writers in the business. It is the noirest of noir…and hellishly addictive.”
Mike Stafford, BookGeeks Magazine.
“This first rate detective thriller will have you gripped from the start. Richard Godwin is an author not to be missed.”
Sheila Quigley Author of Thorn In My Side.
“Mr Glamour is, in every sense of the word, the real McCoy: genuine hard boiled detective fiction. Lean, gritty, and tough, it’s a journey into the heart of darkness … you won’t soon forget. Connoisseurs of Nouveau Noir will have to add Richard Godwin to the list of writers to watch!”
C E Lawrence, author of Silent Kills.
“Involving and compellingly sinister, Richard Godwin’s Mr. Glamour portrays cops and criminals, the mad and the driven in a novel of psychological noir. Read it while snuggling with your stuffed teddy bear for comfort.”
— Gary Phillips, author of Treacherous: Grifters, Ruffians and Killers
“This is one outstanding novel written by one amazing author.”
Fran Lewis Review.
I think Mr. Glamour will appeal to mystery and crime aficionados, to readers interested in psychological profiling and designer lifestyles, to thriller and noir fans, and to anyone who enjoys a fast paced narrative with strong characters.
Mr. Glamour can be bought now at Amazon.com
at all good retailers online and in stores in April. If you Google it you should see a range of options come up.
And you can find out more about me at my website
and my stories here
10 thoughts on “Writer’s Interviews – Jason Michel chats to Mr Glamour, Richard Godwin”
If I had to use a single word description (which is impossible) of Mr. Glamour it would be, “unflinching.” Richard refuses to defuse the absolute reality of a psychotic killer’s trail and the horrible scenes from the nightmares such killers leave in their wake. Every cop (and combat soldier) I know will tell you that you are a very fortunate person if you have never witnessed the things they see almost every day. They say it’s impossible to soften such scenes, to forget them, that they leave a mark upon your soul that can never be erased. They also say that the only thing standing between them and putting their own gun in their mouths is the absolute need to catch the one who is responsible for those devestating acts and bring them to the light. Mr. Glamour is the closest I’ve read to the stories my friends have told me. That’s some powerful stuff, indeed.
AJ thank you for your comment. The fact that Mr. Glamour evokes such a response in you is great to hear.
I’m working on notes for an evolutionary psych class now that talks about men and status, and the relationship that brings with women. Sounds like this book is along the same lines. Interesting.
Charles there are correlations I think you will find of interest. I hope you enjoy Mr. Glamour.
Good stuff lads. Mr Glamour is marvellously twisted. A great London novel that reminds me of Nick Roeg’s ‘Performance’.
Thanks Paul. You just made my day mate.
Looking forward to reading this and the follow up to AR!
Thanks Dan. I hope you enjoy Mr. Glamour.
I am very anxious to read Mr. Glamour. What I find extremely interesting about this is your comments about this being a surveillance society. That is so true. I remember a movie from years ago (Body Double, actually), where one of the main characters is looking through a telescope and sees someone looking right back at him through a telescope. We are a society of voyeurs. We want to see and we want to be seen. But you deal with those that need to be seen in a certain way; they are defined by the brands they wear. This may be a work of fiction, but I believe I will find a generous amount of truth between the lines. There are always dark forces at work, and one has to wonder what’s really hiding behind those gold bracelets, diamond earrings and designer bags.
Joyce as always you have amazing insights. We are under surveillance, all of us. And the question’s extent of who is watching us is commensurate to the extent of our desire to be watched. And when we ask to be watched do we know who the watcher is?