Review — Confessions of an English Psychopath

Title: Confessions of an English Psychopath

Author: Jack Strange


That moment when you contact the author to ask who he’d cast as the main character, so as to better help get a mental picture and audible voice in your head … and the author comes back with the answer “Jude Law” and your brain goes *whoof* and your glasses fog up …

Nor does it hurt that the premise is a bit like that absolutely delightful Kingsmen: The Secret Service movie, done with similar British-style cuttingly polite wit. It’s brisk and clever, hilarious even as it’s reprehensible — the guy’s a serial killer, after all, a psychopath just like it says right there in the title.

A psychopath recruited and trained by a clandestine agency to carry out discreet ‘cleaning’ missions; well, naturally he’s a natural. But, one problem with people like that is, they have this thing about rules and authority not applying to them. An operative like Lawrence Odd may be among the best in the department, but he’s also going to push, or outright ignore, boundaries.

Locked doors and secret files within the agency office? Oh, that just won’t do. Company policies against fraternizing socially after hours? As if that’s any reason not to strike up a relationship with an attractive co-worker. As far as Lawrence is concerned, even those who technically may be the boss of him aren’t, well, the boss of him.

The first-person conversational POV really puts the reader right there in his head, which is simultaneously fascinating and uncomfortable. He’s a bad guy, he’s fundamentally bent on some deep human and empathic level, yet, you kinda gotta like him and feel sorry for and root for him. Beyond his surface charm and arrogance, he has an almost childlike bewilderment, as if sincerely perplexed why others just don’t understand.

Times like these are when the bad-guys-vs.-worse-guys thing comes in handy. When Lawrence goes rogue, he has reasons. There’s a certain guilty-pleasure quality to it all, and when you also get to envision Jude Law in the role? *whoof*