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Nightmare in the Street by Derek Raymond
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Nightmare in the Street (1988)

by Derek Raymond

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I'm a fan of Derek Raymond's Factory series, and my husband bought me Nightmare on the Street because I'm a completist. Posthumously published, this forgotten typescript reads like a skeleton of ideas waiting for the flesh of narrative flow to be added. I skim-read huge chunks of text where lots of words were saying nothing much. I'd hazard a guess that only a fifth of the book is actually story with a plot.

On the whole, it's a mixture of polemic and dialectics - almost like reading the ravings of a madman having a conversation with himself. It made me think of Wilde or Coward in tone on a couple of occasions.

It's more a ghost story than a crime novel. Crimes happen, but they're not that significant to the story. Only one crime matters, and it leaves the main character haunted and raving with madness.

There are echoes of scenes in the Factory novels - a chippy detective at odds with the system who believes himself to be morally superior and is fond of punching higher ranking officers finds himself suspended. A couple of the ideas in this typescript were certainly used in the final Factory book, which makes me wonder whether Raymond abandoned the typescript for a reason.

There's a line on page 171 that sums up the tone of the book: "He thought he had probably never grown up much after sixteen." The florid, over emotional outbursts about love and justice are quite juvenile in tone, especially the daydreaming about Madonna-Slut stereotypical women.

In all, I think it would have been better to leave this 2/5s work unpublished. If you're a Factory series aficionado, give it a miss. You'll be disappointed. ( )
  missizicks | Mar 24, 2015 |
Derek Raymond was a great writer. Together with Colin Wilson, Derek Raymond invented British noir. HIs books are beyond hardboiled. He takes the reader into deep and dark territory. The Factory Series that he wrote between 1984 and 1990 will enter the worldwide canon of noir novels and I Was Dora Suarez may go down as the acme of noir.

That said, Nightmare in The Street is awful. It is not just bad - it is terrible. But ... that is not Derek Raymond's fault, the typescript for this travesty was discovered after his death and in my humble opinion it should have been immediately destroyed. It is so clearly not a finished work - probably a first draft in fact - that it cannot be counted in his ouevre. The publishers do not even appear to have employed an editor familiar with his style. This text is so rough, so unpolished, so unpared that it is an insult to his memory and talent and a cynical moneymaking con on his readers.

Read any other Derek Raymond novel but do not read this.
  papalaz | Jan 3, 2009 |
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When, Kleber, a plain clothes officer in Paris, is suspended from the police force for punching a fellow officer, his underworld adversaries seize their chance to bring him to heel. Down but not out, he will show no mercy to those who harm the ones he loves.… (more)

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