Vice in Miami

2008-10-15 00:00

TRAINSPOTTING author Irvine Welsh is back to his best in Crime. Edinburgh cop Ray Lennox (who first appeared in Filth 10 years ago) is a broken man, pushed to the point of burnout by his inability to save a little girl, Britney Hamil, from death at the hands of a sadistic paedophile. His fiancée, Trudi, thinks that a holiday in sunny Florida will help him settle his demons and give her and Lennox a chance to plan their wedding, but he’s running out of anti-depressants and is as edgy as all hell. He is also drinking heavily and wanting cocaine after having been sober for several years, so it’s hardly surprising that they have an argument within a day of their arrival in Miami.

He storms off to sulk over a bottle of vodka in a dingy bar while she settles for a one-night stand with a smooth estate agent. Long story short, Lennox ends up in an apartment in the Latino part of town, doing lines of cocaine with two skanky women and their nasty boyfriends, one of whom molests a 10-year-old girl asleep in the room next door.

After a violent confrontation, Lennox finds himself the reluctant protector of a precocious pre-teen already damaged by serial sexual abuse at the hands of her drug-addict mother’s various boyfriends. He discovers that he has stumbled on an organised ring of paedophiles, with a local cop as one of the main players.

The policeman in Lennox struggles to the surface through his chemical hangover and it’s not long before he realises that if he is to rescue the girl he is going to have to come to terms not only with the Britney’s death but also with a vicious incident from his own childhood.

This is not a novel for the faint-hearted. Lennox is violent, angry, anguished and foul-mouthed; the Edinburgh cops he works with are flawed and unreconstructed; and the focus on paedophilia and child abuse is disturbing. However, it is also darkly humorous and ultimately redemptive.

TRAINSPOTTING author Irvine Welsh is back to his best in Crime. Edinburgh cop Ray Lennox (who first appeared in Filth 10 years ago) is a broken man, pushed to the point of burnout by his inability to save a little girl, Britney Hamil, from death at the hands of a sadistic paedophile. His fiancée, Trudi, thinks that a holiday in sunny Florida will help him settle his demons and give her and Lennox a chance to plan their wedding, but he’s running out of anti-depressants and is as edgy as all hell. He is also drinking heavily and wanting cocaine after having been sober for several years, so it’s hardly surprising that they have an argument within a day of their arrival in Miami.

He storms off to sulk over a bottle of vodka in a dingy bar while she settles for a one-night stand with a smooth estate agent. Long story short, Lennox ends up in an apartment in the Latino part of town, doing lines of cocaine with two skanky women and their nasty boyfriends, one of whom molests a 10-year-old girl asleep in the room next door.

After a violent confrontation, Lennox finds himself the reluctant protector of a precocious pre-teen already damaged by serial sexual abuse at the hands of her drug-addict mother’s various boyfriends. He discovers that he has stumbled on an organised ring of paedophiles, with a local cop as one of the main players.

The policeman in Lennox struggles to the surface through his chemical hangover and it’s not long before he realises that if he is to rescue the girl he is going to have to come to terms not only with the Britney’s death but also with a vicious incident from his own childhood.

This is not a novel for the faint-hearted. Lennox is violent, angry, anguished and foul-mouthed; the Edinburgh cops he works with are flawed and unreconstructed; and the focus on paedophilia and child abuse is disturbing. However, it is also darkly humorous and ultimately redemptive.

Diana Procter

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