Book Review: Assassin by Shaun Hutson

“A rollercoaster ride of rotting revulsion!”

51aVcYEkjJL__SL500_AA300_Born and bred in Hertfordshire, England, Shaun Hutson worked at many jobs after being expelled from school, only to become a full-time author in 1983. Hutson became a prolific writer throughout the 80s right up to present day, with over thirty novels under his belt, crossing many genres. His inexhaustible work has helped gain him the accolade ‘The Shakespeare of Gore’.

Assassin is the story of gangsters and betrayal, with serial killers and zombies thrown into the mix for good measure. While a gang of serial killer youths comprising of both men and women run amok in London, killing the rich, a brutal mob war is brewing; a war born out of revenge the likes of which nobody has ever witnessed before; and that war is about to spill over onto the streets, as serial killers and zombies go toe-to-toe with a ruthless criminal organisation.

When a cluster of modern flats is demolished, a secret buried within the foundations is unearthed – a secret in the form of five rotting gangsters, who are hell-bent on retribution, and the destruction of the man who put them there. They stop at nothing to reach their goal, as they slice, cut, and hack their way through enemy and civilian alike.

Hutson’s writing is unrelenting and smouldering. His vile descriptions of graphic violence and bloodshed are top-notch. It certainly isn’t for the timid of heart or weak of knee. Even though Assassin delivers on all levels, the story is slightly slow in getting started, and can be confusing with the many characters and plot threads. But, having said that, Hutson brings it all together like a tightly-woven basket.

Small time crook, driver, and bodyguard, Carter, the protagonist, works for the ruthless gangland boss, Harrison. Carter seems to be fiercely loyal to his mob boss, until it becomes clear he’s not after he is seen fooling around with Harrison’s girlfriend, Tina: a hot, supermodel blonde, who has her own plans regarding Carter and Harrison. But those plans are thwarted when an unsuspecting enemy emerges from the shadowy streets of London, in the form of a serial killer posse. This bunch of unhinged youngsters, who are using the rich and famous as a hit-list, will stop at nothing to erase Harrison and those closest to him. Even if it means dying for their cause.

‘You’ll never make a hitman,’ said Carter, quietly, a smile spreading across his lips. He stood up and she walked towards him, throwing her arms around his neck, drawing his face to hers. Their lips pressed together, her tongue pushing against his, seeking entry to the warm moistness inside his mouth. He pulled her hard against him, aware of the growing warmth spreading around his groin, the heady scent of her perfume and her hands now gliding across his chest and back as he responded fiercely to his kiss. When they finally parted, Tina was breathing heavily.

Meanwhile, the undead gangsters are offing Harrison’s men, while taking cracks at Harrison himself. The five zombie mobsters are lead by Charlie Ross. A man who’d been ruthless and unpredictable in life; a threat Harrison could not let live. After double-crossing Ross in a dirty deal, Harrison is free to rule London, until the destruction of the flats two years down the line releases Ross and his men from the hole Harrison had concealed the bodies in. When Harrison’s men start dying, he brings in a hitman by the name of Mitchell, who loves nothing more than listening to rock music as he slaughters people for money.

‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ roared the singer, the second reverberating inside  Mitchell’s head. ‘We’ve got fun and games…’ The car drew nearer. ‘We got everything you want, honey we know the names…’ Mitchell wound down the rear window and steadied the HK33 against his shoulder. ‘We are the people that can find whatever you may need…’ Barbieri turned and saw the Volvo bearing down on them. ‘If you got the money, honey, we got your dieses…’

Assassin is a rollercoaster ride of rotting revulsion. The story merges two genres, crime and horror, as the otherworld meets the underworld. The story may start off slow, but it becomes unflinching and flawless as Hutson gets into his stride. Some aspects of the tale echo the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Clive Barker’s classic, The Hellbound Heart. The ending is swift, brutal and totally shocking, making Hutson’s urban chiller a great read.

DAVID OWAIN HUGHES

Publisher: Caffeine Nights Publishing
Paperback: (288pp)
Release Date: 7 October 2013

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1 comment

  1. I read it years ago and loved it. I haven’t read his last five books because I’ve been reading over things but I do miss his writing. He’s like a bullet to the senses and blew me away when I first read one of his original breakthrough books, Deathday. Absolutely loved it.
    I got many onto him and they’ve not looked back since.
    I met him once in Hammicks/Waterstones standing on his own with a load of books. I went in to buy his latest books in hardback and paperback and there he was signing a load of his novels on his own. The managemetn and publishers had screwed up and hadn’t advertised him being there. I was in awe of him so much that when he asked me if I would like the two books signed I had picked up of his, I just stared at him blankly, not believing he was there right in front of me. He smiled and signed them (I still have both books) and we chatted when I had calmed down.
    He told me he doesn’t like to read himself but liked Dean Koontz, hated King and groaned when I mentioned the great James Herbert but smiled. I actually think he liked Herbert’s work.
    He said he was a film buff more than a reader which is why his work is a bit different from the rest and has that film feel? He told me if I wanted to laugh hard and loud, I should watch Slugs, an adaptation of one of his books. I told him I had a morbid fear of them and it took me a lot to get through his book! He laughed at that. He’s a very nice man. I should have invited him for a drink at the time but was too in awe of him. Ah well.

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