Slaughter Music

 “The best since his extraordinary debut, Underground . . . Few contemporary writers have so powerfully evoked the sheer bloody menace of our capital city.” – GQ magazine, June ’95

Now available as an e-book.  To take a look, or to sample (for free) or to download a copy for your Kindle, click here: Slaughter Music

All other eReader versions can be had from Smashwords. click here.


Russell is published by Prospero and can be found on Facebook


The story:
Tim Hawk is young, virginal – and a hit-man. He plans his assassinations well, rehearsing them with cool detachment, and his professionalism makes him a rising star in Kazan’s gang.  Hawk’s only other interest, an unexpected love for baroque opera, is kept concealed.  When Kazan, born Ukrainian but now a leading London gangster, returns with his beautiful bride-to-be – beautiful, naive and vulnerable – Hawk presents the pair with a macabre wedding present.  Other guests are shocked, but Kazan and Irena are intrigued.  Kazan, fatefully, charges Hawk with protecting his prized young bride – who is half Kazan’s age, and much the same age as Tim Hawk.  “When beauty’s the prize / What mortal fears dying?

It isn’t only Kazan’s marriage that is vulnerable.  His empire is under siege.  As the threats and danger mount, Kazan finds himself betrayed and let down on all sides.  The only people he can rely on, it seems, are his wife and the trusted Hawk.  Hawk brings in another shootist, Cecille, and on Guy Fawkes night, as a full-scale gang war breaks out, these four alone must face the enemy.  As Kazan’s marriage and criminal empire are undermined, the doomed quartet rush to a violent and operatic climax.

“A narrative rich enough to qualify as good literature of any ilk.”
– A Shot in the Dark, Sept ’94

“Quirky enough to make you sit up and take notice.”
– Literary Review, October ’94

“One of fiction’s most rococco tough guys.”
– Guardian, October ’94

“Who says Brits can’t write true hardboiled? This guy is good! James makes it all come starkly alive, dangerous and fascinating . . . Someone to watch.”
– Gary Lovis, Editor, Hardboiled magazine, March ’95

“If you savor the hard-boiled crime novel the way a wine connoisseur lingers over the aroma and first sip of a deliciously rare vintage, it would be a pity to bypass Slaughter Music. Russell James, an Englishman, first enticed US readers with the tough realism of Payback (1993), and now delivers a worthy successor steeped in bloody violence, Machiavellian intrigue and intricate psychological suspense.”
– Michael Davis in Mostly Murder, June ’95

“Not until Slaughter Music did I come in contact with British prose of the definitely hard-boiled, sharp-edged style… It was worth the wait.”  –  Tom Piccirilli in Mystery News

“Pulp fiction at its classiest, without a shred of redemption or lame sentimentality.”  –  Peter Handel in the San Francisco Chronicle

Now available as an e-book.  To take a look, or to sample (for free) or to download a Kindle copy, click here:
Slaughter Music

All other eReader versions can be had from Smashwords. click here.

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