“Don’t you see, the words sometimes take the place of tears?”
What if a true villain, a thoroughly evil psychopath, a man who already possessed a heart of darkness, who already scared evil men witless, then went mad? Fully and irredeemably insane. What depths of depravity, what inhumane crimes would he be capable of?
In I Was Dora Suarez, the fourth in Derek Raymond’s Factory Novels, we find out.
Be warned. This novel is not for the squeamish. This novel made its publisher, who had already published the first three Factory Novels, vomit over his desk. Much to the glee of its author, who himself was a bit of a mad man.
As with the other Factory Novels, Dora Suarez stars the unnamed, detective sergeant of London Metropolitan Police’s, Department of Unexplained Deaths – The Factory, otherwise known as A14. Unexplained Deaths handles the "rough trade." The investigation of the ugly murders of the average citizen and the dispossessed as opposed to The Department of Serious Crimes – Scotland Yard – who get the glamorous investigations.
The novel opens with the brutal murder of Dora Suarez, a seemingly gentle young girl, and the kindly 86-year-old widow, Betty Carstairs, who had taken her in. The reader gets a peek inside the mind of the killer and of his methods in this first chapter. “His eyes …bore the stare of someone entirely lost on the earth, and he was the most hideous thing that you prayed you might never see.”
The detective sergeant is on suspension from the police for striking a superior officer. Insubordination comes easy to him, as he isn’t a career ladder-climber. He is called back on the job, all is forgiven, to handle this case as the police are short-handed.
As the sergeant investigates, he immediately empathizes with the victim, and is deeply affected by the heinous details of the murder, Dora was repeatedly axed, one arm cut off before death, as she pleaded with her murderer. As he investigates further it’s discovered that the murderer ejaculated on Dora, and defecated on the scene.
He also literally threw Betty through a clock. The sergeant also discovers a diary of sorts that, as he reads, makes him believe that Dora may have known her killer. The diary also reveals her innate gentleness in real life and that she was already dying and he develops an obsessive fondness and sadness for the dead woman. There’s a sadness to Dora’s life, the way that she has been repeatedly beaten down, used by life and the people in it.