Dust and Desire Cover

An Atomic Moo Book Review of Conrad Williams Novel

I’m sure this isn’t true for the vast majority of mystery stories out on book shelves, but it seems like most of the ones I’ve read (and I like mysteries) tend to center around a detective who’s life is complete shit. The protagonist, sometimes including modern interpretations of Sherlock Holmes, are often surly, anti-social, drug addled, dicks (P.I.’s) working on the fringes of law and order. Who also despite being barely sober, somehow manage to put together all the pieces of a dangerous whodunit. Yeah, pretty much what happens in Conrad William’s novel, Dust and Desire, but this time with way more drinking. Keen.

Dust and Desire pits a broken ex-cop turned PI (Sorrell) against a ruthless serial killer and it doesn’t help that this psycho is also coming after Sorrell and everyone he knows. Here’s the official synopsis:

The Four-Year-Old, an extraordinary killer, has arrived in London, hell-bent on destruction… PI Joel Sorrell is approached by the mysterious Kara Geenan, who is desperate to find her missing brother. Joel takes on the case but almost immediately, an attempt is made on his life. The body count increases. And then Kara vanishes too… as those close to Joel are sucked into his nightmare, he realizes he must track down the killer if he is to halt a grisly masterplan – even if it means sacrificing his own life.

Though I’m skeptical that any human being could function after the massive volumes of alcohol Sorrell imbibes, let alone stop a killer, I enjoyed this story. Dust and Desire is chuck full of dark humor and even darker action. Sorrell’s messy past adds a fantastic backdrop to his investigation, and reading about a detective that is almost universally hated is always a lot of fun. Though readers should be warned this book is amazingly English. I mean – it doesn’t shy away from a very U.K. based (I want to say cockney, but I don’t know…) narrative and metaphors that I’m sure make sense in London (maybe) but there were several times where I had to do my own “google” investigations just to figure out what the hell Sorrell had just said. However, this could also be interpreted as just part of the books charm, and we all walk away with a few new terms for being drunk. Also, Dust and Desires readers can look forward to an additional (exclusive) short story, Do Not Resuscitate, and an author Q&A.

Dust and Desire is available now at most major book sellers, or you can get your copy online at Titanbooks.com.

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