Review: Revenge of the Malakim by Paul Harrison

DCI Will Scott faces his darkest challenge yet; a serial killer is on the loose and dead bodies are showing up left, right and centre in a rapid race against time. With bureaucracy and the media interfering in his investigation, will the detective make it to the finish line before his killer gets away?

Disturbing, deft and deadly, Paul Harrison‘s first crime fiction novel, Revenge of the Malakim is one helluva ride.  In Bridlington, Yorkshire, DCI Will Scott and his team are faced with a killer who is not only unimaginably brutal but is bringing down paedophiles in rapid and random succession.

Harrison is a retired police officer and the novel is based on his previous experiences, high profile cases he has worked on and his interactions with notorious serial killers. In Revenge of the Malakim a dark subject is tackled expertly by the author by taking the reader on the day to day journey of a small police team battling their biggest case yet.

From the get go of this novel I was left excited, revolted, sympathetic and shocked all at the same time. The reader is given an insight into what real life investigative procedures look like, how the police deals with media interference and how the legal system is a corrupt force that can silence anything that isn’t in their best interest.

Harrison has woven a tight knit plot which is nothing short of an experience with twists and turns so evil and so exhilarating, I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down. Once you have read Revenge of the Malakim do let me know what you thought below or join in the discussion on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Oh, and look out for some Christie-esque elements in the novel; there are a few!

In the meantime, here’s a little from the author himself. I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Harrison recently and he has kindly answered some of my pressing questions below:

1) Having written so many non-fiction works based on your experiences in the police force, what were the challenges you faced when writing your first crime fiction novel?

To be honest, the transition wasn’t half as bad as I expected.  That’s because I believe I’ve got a great publisher in Williams & Whiting, and Mike Linane.  Over the years, I’ve interviewed some of the most horrid people known to the human race. Serial killers of all types and kinds. After a time, what they say gets boring, its all about them, their ego, and how they have suffered. When I humanised a victim they would go quiet and wouldn’t speak. What they did criminally, was evil, but most of them are actually, weak and cowardly.

So, with all that psychological knowledge of why and how they operate, I decided to create my own serial killer(s).  Once I’d created the personas the story and plot seemed to take a life of its own. I loved writing Revenge of the Malakim, so much so that I can never see myself writing non-fiction again.

2) As someone who has worked closely with crime scenes and criminals in the past, what are the elements of detection that you feel crime writers over the years have failed to discuss in their works?

Wow, that’s a tough one.  I think its understanding how banal serial killers really are and the odd motive for killing. They aren’t at all like Hannibal Lecter. Nor are they exciting. Most, like Peter Sutcliffe for example, are insipid, boring individuals, with a desire to be noticed.  That gets missed quite a bit in novels I think. However, there are some, very few though, who enjoy the game of cat and mouse.

3) Why did you choose the criminal subject of paedophilia in your novel and what other crimes would you wish to write or read more about?

It’s prevalent in todays society, and is a subject that shouldn’t be ignored or denied.  I suffered abuse as a child, and didn’t speak out for years. No one ever knew, and I went on to have a successful career in the police, and later, working with the judiciary. I used to be ashamed of the fact in case people thought me different.  I know from experience, how ignored the crime often is. So the Grooming Parlour trilogy is partially raising awareness, and breaking down barriers. We shouldn’t be afraid of the word paedophilia, yet it’s still whispered in certain parts of society, that includes within the Criminal Justice system.

My protagonists, DCI Will Scott and his sidekick, Daisy Wright, will be investigating all types of crimes in future books. Murders, mysteries, corruption, you name it.  I like books that cause the reader to think.

4) What authors and their works have inspired you and why?

My favourite author was Jonathan Goodman, he was a true crime writer and expert in every sense of the word. He mastered the craft and words just flowed in his books.  He became my mentor when I first started writing, and we worked together on a number of our own investigations. Sadly, Jon passed away a few years ago, though his legacy to true crime writing, remains to this day.  When it comes to crime fiction, I like Lee Child, however, for me Mark Billingham takes some beating for entertainment.

5) I particularly enjoyed reading about the relationship between the police force and the media; how was it like working with them in real life?

Truthfully, awful. Whilst I have respect for most of the media, the gutter press remains a nemesis to a police investigation.  Some, are less truthful than politicians, and thats saying something!  I would keep them at arms length during an investigation, even those who I knew and trusted.

6) In your personal opinion, were the killers actions justified or is the law always bigger than justice?

I’d like to say that the law is the ultimate justice, however, it isn’t. In many instances, it’s outdated, the punishment does not match the crime. Whether that’s because the judiciary are so far removed from the real world, or the terms of punishment are outdated, is open to debate.  The book creates something of social juxtaposition, we want serial killers caught, and correctly punished. However, when the serial killer is exterminating the vilest group of people imaginable, then privately, knowing the courts won’t hand down a realistic punishment, do we support what the killer is doing? In the real world, it has to be down to the law, but the law, is most definitely, an ass!

7) Which actors would you like to play all of your characters in a movie?

Ralph Ineson as DCI Will Scott & Sheridan Smith would definitely have to be DI Daisy Wright. Katherine Parkinson as Will’s wife.

8) Why is the series called the Grooming Parlour Trilogy and can you please give us a snippet of what the next book is about?

Truthfully, I wanted to set three different books, wholly different plots, yet connected to the taboo subject of abuse. I think the Grooming Parlour Trilogy covers the topic perfectly. Each book is a stand alone, however, as a trilogy, readers will see how the storyline flows from book to book.

The next book in the trilogy is called The Dark Web, it will be out this summer.  Personally I like it better than Revenge of the Malakim, because its not only about killing; there’s lots to keep the reader engaged: mysteries, corruption, deceit, and of course, murder.  I have to say, there’s a huge twist in the tale among all three books, that, if spotted, will be partially revealed in Book II.  Book III – The Street Cleaner out in September 2017, and well, it will absolutely rock!

Revenge of the Malakim is the first book in Paul Harrison’s The Grooming Parlour Trilogy and is available to buy here

Harrison will also be appearing on a panel at this year’s Deal Noir crime festival for which tickets are available here

Watch the book trailer below:


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