CORPSING by Toby Litt


Email this review


Dinner with his gorgeous ex-girlfriend in an of-the-moment restaurant is made epically memorable for a London screenwriter when an executioner pops in and wipes out the date—and nearly finishes off the writer, who, badly banged-up, carries an understandable grudge.

It was Lily who made the date with Conrad Redman. Lovely Lily. Lily the almost-actress. Lily the star of the adverts. Who six weeks ago kicked Conrad out of her life and her excellent apartment. And here she’s cocked her finger for Conrad to fill in at dinner when she’s stood up by her first choice. And Conrad, who still carries a torch, comes running. No shame. And precious little money for the very expensive dinner just ordered that won’t be enjoyed, thank you, because a gent in cyclist-delivery spandex has walked in and sprayed Lily dead with an automatic pistol, and got several rounds into Conrad, who wakes up weeks later to find himself in rehab with a lot of questions. And some money. It turns out Lily hadn’t got around to changing her will, so Conrad’s got her savings and that very desirable apartment. As he rebuilds his badly wasted body, Conrad learns that the gunman is in custody, but that nobody—not his mother, not his long-suffering social worker, not Lily’s unspeakable parents, and absolutely nobody official—will tell him anything about the assassin or the circumstances that so rudely interrupted Lily and Conrad’s last supper. As curious as he is irritated, Conrad goes digging. His wheelchair-and-taxi odyssey, shadowed by all sorts of heavies, will take him into a pathology lab, the city’s theatrical and underworlds, and (most frightening) the world of the tabloids, and will nearly get him killed all over again. He will learn that Lily was pregnant and that he was not the only one enjoying her favors when he was still enjoying them. Some of the most satisfying moments in Conrad’s battle for the truth occur when the Royal Shakespeare Company takes heavy blows.

Violent, fast, mean, funny, and thoroughly satisfying.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7145-3068-9
Page count: 380pp
Publisher: Marion Boyars
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001