Charlie Williams






Serpent's Tail, June 2004
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill

Royston Blake ("Blakey") is the Head Doorman at Hopper's Bar and Bistro. Actually, that's bein' a bit posh. Coz Hopper's ain't a Bistro. Hopper's is a boozer, innit? It's Blakey's job to keep the argy-bargy to a minimum and turn away undesirables. The Munton Brothers are the most undesirable of the lot. They get around in a van known by all and sundry as "The Meat Wagon." Thing about the Meat Wagon is, if you're in a position to know exactly why it's called that then you're not gonna be able share that information. The Meat Wagon takes its passengers on a one way trip to Hurk Forest. And that's the thing about the town of Mangel, too. Only one way you leave Mangel and that's in a pine box. Unless, of course, you've been booked a one way trip in the Meat Wagon. The Muntons don't provide pine boxes.

Blakey's got trouble. He's had a run in with the Munton Brothers in which he got a right kicking and not even his trusty wrench, his weapon of choice, could get him out of it. Now there's talk around Mangel that Blakey's lost his bottle: he's regretting opting for backing down, it's damaged his reputation for being a hard man. He's not gettin' looks from the girls any more and even spotty little Herberts are givin' him lip now. A man can't live with that. A man's gotta do summat about that.

Blakey's chance comes when he's forced by the Muntons to take part in holding up his boss for the contents of Hoppers' safe. And a doofer in a box. Everyone wants the doofer in the box, and Blakey realises if he's to get out of that trip to Hurk Forest then he'll have to find that doofer in the box. Trouble is Blakey hasn't a clue what the doofer in the box actually is.

Deep down Blakey is a rather simple soul. All he really wants is a quiet life: the occasional fag and tin of lager and the respect of those around him, but he's not all that blessed in the grey matter department. We follow events from his rather confused perspective. And therein lies a great deal of the humour of DEADFOLK. Blakey's way of dealing with the confusing events around him is to try not to think about them and just continue on his way.

WARNING: DEADFOLK is not for the squeamish. There is violence and a lot of it. There are bashings, slashings, burnings, stranglings, shootings, drownings and an assortment of other grizly deaths using a variety of objects. Oh, and there's a chainsaw named Susan. There is also a great deal of profanity.

Having issued that warning, if you are a bit of a sick puppy and black humour appeals to you then you'll love every blood soaked page of DEADFOLK.

DEADFOLK is Charlie Williams' first novel. He has since written two others in the Mangel series, FAGS AND LAGER and KING OF THE ROAD. Williams lives in the Worcester area in England with his wife and two children. His website is .

August 2006


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