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Guthrie, Allan - 'Slammer'
Paperback: 224 pages (Mar. 2009) Publisher: Polygon ISBN: 1846970970

Shocked. Stunned. Numb. That's how you may feel after reading this latest Allan Guthrie novel. SLAMMER is by far the best thing produced by this author to date – and this is no mean feat given that his earlier work is also fantastic. This book simply gets into your head and starts to mess with it. The most disturbing thing is the way you find yourself identifying with the principal character. You nod to yourself in understanding over memories of his childhood behaviour and then watch in helpless horror as he quickly and easily descends into madness. Maybe he was always mad but it takes the current extreme situation to push him over the edge? Maybe the ease with which he slides into insanity, and the way you identify with him, indicate you are teetering on the edge yourself? Are you, in fact, only grasping onto the last dregs of your own sanity? The emotions churning inside you after finishing this book can be quite overwhelming. Caution is required. Once you start to read SLAMMER you can't put it down very easily.

In brief, Nick Glass is a young and unsure prison officer. He is bullied by inmates and staff alike and struggles to keep himself together. Pressures at home are quite considerable too. He has a wife and young daughter and money is tight but he manages to provide for his family, despite his doubting mother-in-law. Work pressures increase from all sides and several of the cons try to get Nick to become their mule. His resolve to resist becomes weaker when someone on the outside starts to threaten his family. Nick soon begins to crack under the pressure and his decision to take things into his own hands only sees him spiraling downwards, out of control……

SLAMMER, an absolute masterpiece, really should be at the top of everyone's "must-read" list.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
February 2010

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 28/02/2010 11:53