RED BRIDE by Christopher Fowler


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Satan and the supernatural worm their way into the British film scene via a glamorous model who vamps a hitherto straight-arrow publicist. London is littered with bodies. Doughty Detective Chief Inspector Ian Hargreave and his dishy, retro-glamorous sergeant-girlfriend Janice (both of whom appeared in Orde's Rune and Roofworld) take over the investigation of a series of spectacularly gory murders when the young detective on the case follows a victim to death by drowning in mid-Thames. The bloody corpses all had something or other to do with Miss Ixora De Corizo, a glamorous, ultrapale seductress who can't keep her personal history straight. Ixora has totally entranced poor John Chapel, an upright young family man and accountant who (and this is as hard to believe as the supernatural stuff to come) has just made a career switch from figures to flacking in the film world. After years of exemplary marriage to his dowdy, devout childhood sweetheart, Chapel goes off the tracks with spectacular speed. Within weeks he's out of the sweet house in Richmond and into Ixora's spooky, disintegrating detached villa in Chelsea. It's way more than he can handle, but the man is bewitched. Bad news, since the three or four men Ixora bewitched before him have turned up as mutilated corpses at semi-satanist murder scenes. Ixora's career as a starlet starts to rocket as Chapel's new job hits the skids. His life seems to hit bottom when he is accused of all the murders, but worse is to come.... Fowler again succeeds in making London as spooky as anything, but this time the fantasy at the center of the story is a little shopworn. For some readers, the willing suspension of disbelief will snap before everything's tied up.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: ROC/Penguin