The Deal Maker: Lou Yardley
Reviewed By Tarn Richardson
- Paperback: 307 pages
- Publisher: Lou Yardley (10 July 2019)
Knowledge is power, so Sir Francis Bacon is rumoured to have first claimed, back when men wore tights and Kings lost their heads quicker than short-tempered footballers. And he was right. With knowledge you have empowerment, can achieve great things, as well as terrible things, defeat problems, solve riddles and reach your life goals. But, as with anything worth owning, in order to gain knowledge, there is often a price that needs to be paid, whether in effort, time, often money, but sometimes through some degree of personal loss.
The act of payment in return for enlightenment goes back to the Greek Mythologies and the River Styx, crossing the great river to reach the fifth circle of Hell and damnation – or knowledge and wondrous powers available to be found there. And it is from this scenario that Lou Yardley draws upon for her latest novel, THE DEAL MAKER.
THE DEAL MAKER could have gone one of two ways; a grim, endlessly dark and terrifying tale of surrendering your soul (or body parts as it turns out) to a devilish entity in return for some personal gain. Or else opting for something that has its long proboscis tongue firmly wedged in its decaying cheek whilst mixing the macabre with the hilarious; black humour, with sharp lines, sharper dialogue and a fast-paced story. Yardley picked the latter and wisely too, delivering something irreverent, unambiguous, brisk and, chiefly, fun. A huge amount of fun.
Focused around two main characters, Kelly and Ted, both of whom having lost someone dear to them, pretty quickly we are introduced to Jack, a monstrous demon from the bowels of hell, who appears from TV sets, leaves a foul stench wherever he goes and deals in knowledge in return for the recipient’s body parts; a finger here, an eye there. There’s a delicious monstrosity about Jack, a vile and hideous thing with a tricksy maligned power, full of charm and hideous devilry, his body a patchwork quilt of parts taken from others who’ve accepted his offers and donated accordingly.
As the story develops, Kelly and Ted, their particular needs (separate from each other though their stories are intrinsically tied, as becomes apparent the further you get into the story,) become slowly more and more deformed as they give away their parts in their desperate search to find out what has happened to their loved ones.
It’s a fascinating concept, giving away bits of yourself in the pursuit of the one you love, making you, the reader, wonder as you read just how much you would be willing to give up, not necessarily in a tangible sense, but in terms of ambition and life choices in order to stay close to loved ones.
Of course, the river of love never did flow straight and true and aside from giving up their very bodily selves to Jack in return for profit from his knowledge, they slowly give up the humanity within themselves too, both Kelly and Ted turning to murderous actions to accomplish their plans, enabled by Jack. Again, it’s a clever concept, the main protagonists becoming monstrous, not just to look at, but monstrous in their behaviour.
By writing something run through (quite literally) with black humour, as a reader you find it easy to forgive some of the glaring impossibilities of some scenes and events, instead carried along by the brilliantly paced and, at times, laugh out loud comedy that keeps the novel light and stops it from falling into sentimentality or self-importance. It has enough flavour, intrigue and appreciation of the characters, (maybe a little thinly-drawn but that’s okay here as the story more than pulls you along), and bags of pace to wrench you to the end and the final twist which is warmly welcomed and richly delivered.
Lou Yardley is a young but prolific writer. Having started writing in 2015, she has written fourteen books, including this, her latest. It’s an admirable achievement and for her determination and drive, as well as her clearly vivid imagination, she should be applauded.
To write so many novels in such a short space of time obviously means that something has to give, and in this case, Yardley sacrifices description, scene-setting and long sections of character background, in exchange for black pep pill storytelling.
So if literature that delivers a healthy slice of dark humour with a couple of gallons worth of blood, whilst asking nothing of you other than to lie back and think of Jack sounds like your sort of thing, then THE DEAL MAKER might be the one to bring home the thrills – or perhaps that should be the Bacon.
The Deal Maker
Everyone has a price. What’s yours?
“The Deal Maker” is the new demonic tale from the mind that brought you “Hellhound”, “When the Sun Sets” and “We All Scream for Ice Cream”.
Ted’s girlfriend has vanished from the face of the earth and conventional methods of finding her have failed miserably. So when a devilish entity that calls itself Jack appears and offers him a solution, Ted finds himself agreeing to its terms, no matter how bloody and painful they may be. How far will he go to find her?
Kelly lives for one thing and one thing only: Vengeance. The trouble is those who should be feeling her wrath are remarkably good at hiding. Is she prepared to lose everything to find them?
“The Deal Maker” looks at how far people are willing to go to chase their goals. How much are we prepared to lose until we cease to be human? What are we willing to give up?
If demons, gore and hellish creatures are your thing, dive right in!
Tarn Richardson was brought up a fan of fantasy and horror, in a remote house, rumoured to be haunted, near Taunton, Somerset. He is the author of THE DARKEST HAND series, published by Duckworth Overlook in 2015-2017 and republished by RedDoor in 2019. Comprising of THE DAMNED, THE FALLEN, THE RISEN, and free eBook prequel THE HUNTED, the books tell the epic story of Inquisitor Poldek Tacit, battling the forces of evil to the backdrop of World War One. He has also written the novels, RIPPED, and THE VILLAGE IN THE WOODS, to be published in 2020 and 2021. He lives near Salisbury with this wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson, and their two sons.
Official Website www.tarnrichardson.co.uk