David L. Hayles's extraordinary d-but collection of short stories is an alarming excursion to a world populated by the suffering, the delusional and the criminally insane. It is a place where death comes unexpectedly and violently, at the hands of psychopaths, riflemen and cruel accident. These are tales of ingenious cruelty and sudden death in which menace and hilarity go hand in hand. The twenty stories that make up The Suicide Kit, for all their freaks and grotesques, are imbued with a brilliant, brutal humour. 'The Typing Pool' features the tyrannical director of a detention camp, a man in search of a secretary, whose competitive dictation test ends, as planned, in the execution of all but one of the applicants. In 'Bones', an uxorious man, fearful of his habit of falling out of love, takes a tribal potion designed to bring blissful fidelity only to begin a strange descent into necrophilia, whilst 'The Cruise' opens to us the diary of a bored wife on a cruise liner who inadvertently murders her husband.
Elsewhere, we meet a sadistic hotelier whose pleasure is the kidnapping of foreign arrivals at London's Victoria Coach Station, a homicidal corporal who wipes out his own platoon, the incredible Doctor Octor, the worst doctor on Harley Street, and Orson Beadle, travelling purveyor of sex toys, who finds within a fearsome pub a gaggle of willing male initiates. Both surreal and provocative, The Suicide Kit is a unique d-but, the fictional equivalent of a short ride in a fast machine.
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(216mm x 136mm x 15mm)
Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
'The Suicide Kit: No pills, no guns, no bloody mess. Credit cards accepted. Senior citizen discounts. Cults - we do special offers on bulk orders.' This is perhaps the funniest bit of a book that plumbs the murkiest depths of human stupidity, desperation and lunacy for the sake of a cynical giggle. Hayes's collection of short stories is a brisk dip into a surreality that is only just beyond the boundaries of belief. 'The Typing Pool' heads the charge with a jittery vengeance wreaked upon a murderous concentration-camp supervisor by his own secretary. 'The Dwarf Wrangler' is a silly invention on the theme of inhumanity, while 'House of Buggin' details the convenient exploitation of creepy-crawly phobia to fix a jealousy rant with a nauseating twist. Hayes writes in simple tones geared more for pace than sensation. Uniformly succinct, his stories are inspired by the contents of your average tabloid - irate holiday-makers, bogus doctors, swingers in suburbia, dodgy immigrants, the sex trade - but taken to the edge of absurdity as if to prove a point. But his prankish fables appear to have no real point to prove, except perhaps that we are who we are, however miserable, weak and foul, and if you cannot joke about it then ending it all may be the sensible thing to do. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - David L. Hayles
Born in East Sussex in 1970, David L. Hayles studied film and theatre at London University. After a year in the Caribbean working as a cocktail waiter, he returned to London to study journalism before going on to work for MTV and the BBC, where he now works.