RUNE by Christopher Fowler


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The author of Roofworld (1988) flirts again with the fantastic in a story about a London adman and sexy punker--both at war against occult forces wielded by a very pushy megazillionaire entrepreneur. Glib and prosperous Harry Buckingham is summoned from an important meeting at the advertising agency where he is something of a star. Would he mind coming down to the police station? There's a bit of a problem. Harry's father is dead, crushed accidentally by a delivery truck driven by Miss Grace Crispian, a movie-mad young woman whose purple mohawk cannot disguise her innate physical charms. The police would like to know whether Harry has any idea why his father, a man in his 60s, would have been running across the city as if he were being pursued by the devil. Harry and his father weren't close, but the son can't help being curious, and he begins to look up the last people to see his dad alive, beginning with Grace and then on to the Hindu woman who understood entirely too well the meaning of the scratchy runic script on the scrap of paper in the late Mr. Buckingham's hand. Harry's search is independent of the official police inquiry, which is in the hands of a most charming pair of senior detectives and a clever, beehived policewoman. As more runic messages turn up in the hands of dead bodies, everybody seeks help from--who else?--a librarian. Economic and satanic forces threaten the world. Wonderful characters, snappy Lines, dead-on atmosphere, Spy-class social commentary--the last things one expects to find this close to fantasy. And it all works.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Ballantine