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As dodgy English towns go, Mangel doesn t look like much but it s everything to Royston Blake In Mangel, Blake is head doorman at Hoppers Wine Bar and Bistro, drives a Ford Capri i, and generally has no trouble getting laid On any given day, he can walk the streets of his town knowing he s respected by one and all That is, until a rumor begins to circulate that Blake s lost his bottle , and everything goes to hell Even his best mates, Fin and Legsy, have heard the talk that the formerly hard living bruiser has gone soft, lost his edge, and become a pushover in a town where he can ill afford it To make matters worse, the Munton brothers are after him, and the thought of ending up in the back of their notorious Meat Wagon is almost too much to bear Something s gotta give, but it sure as hell won t be Blake What ensues is an outrageously bloody showdown that will leave a permanent scar on the grubby face of Blake s beloved West Country town Deadfolk is a brutal black comedy that introduces a wholly original voice to the ranks of literature s most memorable protagonists Sorry, but I felt no connection with any of the characters All dysfunctional I hope the England is not really like this. Books written in the first person often fail to deliver when the words used in the narration don t match the character from which they are supposed to originate.The big strength of this book is that the words perfectly match the character There s no sudden descriptive passages worthy of Dylan Thomas in between rites of thuggery, and it s so much better for it too.So, it s easy to get thoroughly drawn into the story of Royston Blake, and even though thankfully his imaginary world and mine don t overlap much, feel that I somehow understand what he s going through The book plays with lovely little moments when we can see what s going on, but it s going right over the head of our narrator.The story is set in a non descript British town, and involves some violence and thuggery, which might not be to everyone s taste, but for me none of this is overplayed no long descriptive passages of gore, for example again, adding to the story rather than detracting.I picked this up following the rebranding I m so shallow having been taken by the minimalist cover design I m glad I did. This book annoyed me so much in the first couple of chapters that I put it down and didn t return to it until I was hard up for a read a few weeks later The narrative first person by Blake the main character seemed like a constant stream of consciousness rather than a proper story, but once I got over that and slipped into the thought process and constant colloquialisms, I started to enjoy the story.The thing that made this book enjoyable for me overall, despite some elements I couldn t like, including the main character, was the excellent supporting cast that the author uses to effectively flesh out and humanise a pretty poor Main character in Blake These supporting characters brought the book alive for me.The main character and the overall story reminds me a little of Irvine Welsh s Filth but a bit less interesting.I might revisit Blake and Mangle in future, and would definitely give a different type of story from the author a go as his writing is funny, touching and engaging at times. This series will really divide people, and I can see both sides If you find films like Lock, Stock etc have too much swearing then these books won t be for you.The language in the book is very strong , which will put many people off, but it is necessary for it to believable as the first person account of the main character, who is certainly no James Bond type hero although he might disagree Very cleverly written, with the story holding together despite Blake s version of events not always matching up with the actions taking place if you read it that might make sense.I enjoyed it so much, I m currently ploughing through the rest of the series and I hope there will be to come