In recent months I’ve developed a real soft spot for what might be described as Southern Noir. The hillbillies and their meth habits, the illicit cooks in some trailer in the back of beyond, the small town sheriffs who if it weren’t for 4x4’s and mobile phones could just as easily step out of the Wild West. Perhaps it’s a product of watching too much Breaking Bad, or maybe it’s just the safe knowledge that as a resident of a nice English town I’m unlikely to ever meet any of the characters’ real life equivalents. Whatever it is I can’t get enough.
If you share my fascination in all things redneck, then Dirtbags is for you. This is a serial killer novel with a difference. Basically, hillbilly wannabe murderer agrees to off somebody’s wife. To help him do it, he partners up with his neighbour a couple of trailers down, a wannabe spree killer. Off they go to kill the wife deciding that this will be the beginning of a new career, which will make them more famous than Bundy, Dahmer, and all the others put together. Cue much darkly comic (emphasis on the word dark) and very violent antics.
This is a well-written novel which doesn’t shy away from some pretty grotesque themes. The characters are well rounded and I couldn’t help but wonder how well the author knows this world. He seems to know it a lot. Whether that’s down to research or because he’s lived it, I can’t say. But what I can conclude is that he takes the reader on a wild rollercoaster and left me looking forward to the sequel.
I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars.