St. Martin's, Jun 2002, 12.95, 256 pp.
Horror novelist Billy Dye needs cash so he accepts the assignment of interviewing the crime kingpin of Manchester, England, Malcolm Priest. Surprisingly, the interview goes quite well as the boastful Priest profanely brags equally about his life of crime as much as his support to good deeds charities. Proud of his efforts, especially getting out with his skin intact, Billy consumes too much alcohol, which leads to his handing in an uncomplimentary picture of Priest.
Sober, Billy wonders if his knees, elbows, or fingers will be broken, that is if he lives to feel the pain. However, Billy gets a break as the editor turns the piece into friendly fluff. Pleased with the article, Priest hires Billy to ghostwrite his memoir. However, Billy being Billy manages to quickly destroy the good will of the article. Priest casts the die that Dye must die so Billy ends up in a graveyard facing execution by Raghead the hit man, who wears a bag over his head to hide his identity from his customers and victims. However, Billy's luck finally changes when Raghead turns out to be his closest childhood friend, who loyally tries to protect his buddy from Priest's gang of thugs.
THE DEATH YOU DESERVE is an entertaining crime thriller that satirizes invincible hero types defeating armies of trained killers. The story line never takes itself seriously, which leads to readers receiving a wild tale populated by an eccentric cast. Though Billy is the star, Raghead and Priest make the tale as caricatures of criminals.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner