It should have been a dream come true. Nick always fancied her at school but nothing came of it. Six years later he meets up with her again. This time she wants him.
Nick plays sax in a jazz-rock band, while Babette, who always shone at school, went on to university and, as students do, became involved with animal rights.
Babette persuades Nick to drive her to a local meat processing factory, where she intends to get photographic evidence of what goes on inside. But she doesn’t come out. She has been killed in a horrifying ‘accident’.
Nick’s quest to find what happened leads him into the dark and complex labyrinth of food politics, in which heroes and villains do not come conveniently packaged. Businessmen can be human, animal rights activists can be vicious.
As Nick probes ever deeper into the murk, the story of what really happened to Babette – and why – becomes horrifying clear. Meanwhile, his band is preparing for its biggest ever opportunity – a slot at the world famous Glastonbury Festival. If Nick can make it.
“A juicy slice of British noir writing, tackling animal liberation taken to its violent extreme. If you imagine Jim Thompson or David Goodis brought up to date and set in Bristol, you will be close.”
– Mike Ripley in the Sunday Telegraph.
“Long admired as one of the rare British crime writers on a par with the legendary David Goodis, James’ turf has been the world of the underdog and the leftovers of society, which he has vigorously championed with acute empathy and even poetry. His new novel is as dark and gritty as they come and features a sharp look at the dark side of the meat processing industry and the animal rights protest front. A world where love is soon lost and villains are really villains: Russell James land!”
– Books On Line f e a t u r e d review
“One hell of a story. James is an accomplished writer who takes you with him – sometimes by the scruff of the neck – wherever he wants to go, and Oh No, Not My Baby is a noir mystery that will surprise and sometimes shock you. I won’t give away the ending – revealed in a fiery denouement at the Glastonbury music festival – but suffice to say, it’ll be a surprise. A good read.”
– Peter Nash in Crime Time magazine.
“What starts as boredom and mild unease crescendos through panic into fear and distress as it becomes obvious that something serious has occurred in the factory. The resulting murder investigation throws Nick to the wolves: police, unspecified ‘security’ and animal rights activists all try to get something from him that he hasn’t got … Most of the story is told in retrospect. A very effective device is to allow the characters to tell their story direct, as if giving a statement. The questions and ‘he said/she saids’ are eliminated, along with any need for description, and the story moves quickly as a result … The book gripped me and the amoral Zane and Shiel are two characters we should meet again (only in fiction, though).”
– Gaynor Coules in Shots magazine.
“On the night side of the mean streets, Russell James’s OH NO, NOT MY BABY is another uncomfortable excursion into the demi-world of society’s underdogs and losers by an author who has sometimes been compared to the American David Goodis for his unflinching look at the gutter and its ambiguous charms. A gritty tale of wrongdoings amongst animal liberation activists and the shady side of the meat processing industry, this is gripping if downbeat stuff.”
– Maxim Jakubowski in The Guardian
“Russell James is a really good hard-boiled writer. This one is a real, twisted beauty… It’s an excellent read, a first rate noir thriller that stands right up there with his earlier classics.”
– Gary Lovisi, editor, Hardboiled magazine
“A lean, mean view of corporate expediency and men being led around by their gonads, plus jazz riffs so expertly described that readers will wish they could go to the Blue Delta’s next gig. Almost as fine as Payback (1993); a couple of beats darker than Count Me Out (1997).”
– Kirkus Reviews, February 2000
“James has a way with characters. Few are precisely what they seem, and our desire to learn who they really are and what actually happened makes this one a page-turner.”
– Thomas Gaughan in Booklist, February 2000
“James’ storytelling is so gripping and strong, and the ending in particular is so tough and bleak, that it truly didn’t occur to me until this moment that the plot might be just the teensiest bit familiar. This is a block-out-reality, sit-up-till-two, finish-it-in-one-sitting novel… This is well worth your time – especially if you accompany it with tofu instead of sausage.”
– Victoria Esposito-Shea, editor of the HandHeldCrime e-zine