2010: 58. Live Flesh

The gun was a replica.  Spenser told Fleetwood he was ninety-nine per cent sure of that."

Live Flesh, Ruth Rendell

       Another strange little Rendell tale.  This novel opens with a police officer, David, trying to rescue a woman from a hostage situation, only to be shot (and paralyzed).  We then move forward ten years, and Victor, the man who shot him has been released from prison.  As we follow Victor as he tries to rebuild his life (despite being an obvious psychopath), he worms his way into David’s life, and becomes infatuated with David’s girlfriend Clare.  Soon (as the back of the book says) his old life begins to look remarkably like his old one...

        You know, it’s typical non-Wexford Rendell - a book about a psychopath - but it’s nonetheless pretty entertaining, if you like crime books.  Victor is so alien from a normal person, and yet, you come to understand why he does the things he does - his brain is not like ours.  And, SPOILER, there is a reasonably happy ending, so you don’t feel like the psycho is triumphing.  I don’t think I’d recommend this to non-Rendell fans, but if you like her stuff you’ll like this.

Date/Place Completed: June 2010; D.C.

Categories: Ruth Rendell Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017