Book info

I Was Dora Suarez (1990)

I Was Dora Suarez (1990)
Author
Rating
3.82 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
035619485X (ISBN13: 9780356194851)
languge
English
genre
publisher
scribners
Rate book
I Was Dora Suarez (1990)
I Was Dora Suarez (1990)

About book: Extremely harrowing read.Possibly the best in the "Factory Series" but I wouldn't swear to it in a court of law.For all that's righteous - please read this novel. But read the 1st 3 first.Having been called back to A14 by the Deputy Commander known only as “the voice” but never actually seen by the DS in the entire series entries, the Detective Sergeant finds himself dropped in the middle of what will become the most heinous case in his entire career.This case –what starts out as the investigation into a double homicide- is deemed unsolvable by Serious Crimes so the Unsolved Crimes Department, or A14, is handed the case.Due to the complicated nature of the murders the Detective Sergeant having been suspended for over a year following a violent incident of insubordination that occurs in the previous novel has been brought back to A14 and given this particular case to solve. The crimes described in this book are horrifyingly depraved.It is the blackest, most hopeless case the Unnamed Detective Sergeant has yet been assigned.As in the previous entries much space is given over to the Detective Sergeant to ruminate, to ponder the end of all in this world that is righteous and just.It is a dire, grim black masterpiece of horror and terror.I wondered (and still wonder) how much the views expressed by the unnamed Detective Sergeant were in reality the author Derek Raymond’s own. Did society in reality disgust him as much as it disgusted his unnamed Detective Sergeant? Had Derek Raymond/Robin Cook finally become so filled with hatred of the mid-to-late 1980s reign of Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain that he purged the poisonous despair from his own heart into his art? In the writing of The Factory Series was Derek Raymond performing a sort of modern day exorcism in an attempt to return to Great Britain the glory of the self-less British people of the 1930s & 1940s who so valiantly fought to. prevail against the mass destruction of the aerial assaults and murder of civilians that occurred during the Nazi blitz? Those special and in many cases the unlikeliest of heroes who risked their lives and lost them by selflessly throwing themselves into gas-filled collapsed buildings in frantic searches for strangers still trapped beneath the brick and mortar and steel and concrete in order to save lives and in so doing claimed small victories?Maybe I’ve lost my way in this series. Maybe it’s really just a superb five-novel crime-thriller series.Whatever the case, this just happens to be the finest novel Derek Raymond ever wrote.It was a long time before I could make myself look closely into [Dora's] ruined face with the terrible hacks, gashes, bruising and broken bone on its bad side. I wouldn’t do it until I was alone, and yet to be alone with her was really worse to begin with, because I was afraid that I might get so far out of touch by looking at her that I might never get back; I was as frightened to look at her as I would be to drown.And yet I found, far from being afraid when I did look into her face, that I was in tears. The good side of it, except for one smear of blood down her cheek, was intact. The axe had struck her across, and then down the face, the bad side. Her eyes were not damaged; they were black, ironic and three-quarters open – blind almonds turned in towards a high ceiling with the sly pointlessness of the dead. (Page 43)I thought as I drove that even though I was too late to save her, if I could solve her death, I might make some contribution to the coming of a time when such a horror would no longer be possible, a time when society would no longer throw up monsters. I had long understood that every effort was worth that effort, but I had never understood it as clearly as I did now. Like death itself, the gateway was tactful and half-concealed. (Page 84)I got off the phone, put my elbows on the desk and my face in my hands; I suddenly felt appalled, helpless. What few sweet things, such few people as I had ever known and trusted, this handful of promising elements that I had learned unconsciously to depend on, were now like something poisoned that I had just eaten, sickening me – now such love as I knew reversed itself into an agony that spread to my fingertips, to my gut, my brain. (Page 119)From “Dora’s Exercise Book”:I know one thing –I must never breathe a single word of my fear. I’m no longer a woman –I am just a discoloured mask of pain. The state of my body poses all of the great questions that matter to the two of us, and in begging me to liberate it, now that it’s no longer capable of living with me, it’s telling me, in its own way, This is the worst of goodbyes for the us two, and I told it that because of your state, which is also my state, out state, because the cards fell wrongly for us, we are at the point of disorder where existence is no longer possible, for the more order you try to put into your life beyond a certain point, the more you fall ill, despair, and peel away. For what is knowledge for, if not getting ready for death? (Page 120)To work in A14 is to see everything that no one ever sees: the violence, misery and despair, the immeasurable distance in the mind of a human being that knows nothing but suffering between its dreams and its death.Every death I have ever seen in my work – in bars, at the edge of motorways, in filthy rooms, suicides, people who have thrown themselves from high buildings, under cars, buses, or the underground, are all for me casualties on a single front. Each to me, even some killers, have been men or women deprived of any reason for going on – children even, sometimes –and one bright desperate day they awake and say to themselves, “I’ll end it”, and they write themselves off in one single stroke of negative, savage joy, since, there was nobody to meet them at the station.Then afterwards, the ravens, the vultures and the vampires that had been into them come to us to claim or complain over their now irrecoverable debt in the bloody, silent field, while the government, trailing the press after it like a shabby skirt stalks off to dine, wonders if it is still popular.But for me the front is the street, and I am forced to see it every day.I see it, eat it, sleep and dream the street, am the street. I groan in its violent dreams, see it under the rain, and in the sun, the hurrying people on it, killers as well as victims, flying past absorbed as if they were praying. The way I am, I sense tears as well as hear them.Dead people are very clean, too clean. They have been purged, white and even as the light on snow, but why? Where’s the justice in it? That’s what I want to know. (Page 129-130)It is so difficult for a police officer to be part of the people that he is paid by the state to control and yet it is sometimes not because he does not want to be part of the people, but because he does not know how to recover his origins until, as in my case, he is faced with a great personal catastrophe, which then becomes every catastrophe, and which changes everything both in himself and around him. Like Socrates, I think that all men must be just towards their own code if they are going to be at all, because in the end one code is all the codes, given that one is a just man. (Pages 132-133)I felt my voice crack as I added: “I’m going through some sort of personal crisis with this case that I can’t describe…”“What?”, said Cryer. “You? A crisis?”“All I can say is that I’ve got to be careful not to go over the edge this time,” I said.“For Christ’s sake don’t fall.”“In the end we all do.”…said Cryer: “Why don’t you ever come round to the house? … – why won’t you let any of us help you?”“You know me, Tom”, I said. “I can’t. Must I explain? How can I explain? I’m a very lonely man, deep buried, and so I love you from in the earth.”I rang off.(Pages 146-147)By examining other people’s lives and deaths I am half consciously showing myself how to approach my own.Strip horror; face it naked. Don’t hide or run, and then the good will come, even if it has to go through hell to find you.“There ought to be a law that made murder impossible”, I said. “but there isn’t, so I’m filling the gap until there is”. (Page 170)If you want to deal with evil, you must live with it and know it. In my work you have no chance at all of beating what you don’t know, whose language you can’t speak; the margin is very tight, and the risk of being corrupted accordingly very near.I loved Dora, not only because I found her beautiful for me, but also because I felt so ashamed that we should have allowed her to fall so far.…For the span of my own lifetime I would always arrive too late, but I felt I must try to look forward to a day when that would all be altered, so that we would no longer only be able to obtain justice for people after they were dead. I know that if it were for me ever to command anything, I would have a centre where people frightened for their lives could come and be seriously listened to, their fears sifted, analysed and acted upon, and not just be told to fuck off and stop wasting police time.(Pages 192-193)

It was an essay by Joyce Carol Oates some months ago in the New York Review of Books that drew my attention to the late Derek Raymond as one of the best “noir” crime novelists of the end of the last century, and the most Chandleresque British author. I had never heard about him until then. “I was Dora Suarez” was described as Raymond’s most terrible and also most poetic book which, I was warned, was definitely not for the queasy. There was also the story (maybe urban legend or a well-planned publicity stunt but credible all the same) that the editor had actually vomited on his desk upon first reading it. So despite the fact that I knew his “Factory” series included a few less disturbing books, I thought I’d go for the hardest piece. I found “I was Dora Suarez” truly incredible. I don’t think I ever read a book with the amount of gore, blood and assorted body fluids as well as perversion and cruelty that occurs in this story. What is quite unusual is that the nameless narrator (he calls himself Detective Sergeant) investigating Dora’s horrible murder and leading us into a web of crime in 1980s London, which gives the word depravity a new dimension, literally falls in love with the murdered girl via her moving diary. This sort of thing – falling in love with beautiful dead girls – conjures up early 19th century Romantic poets, and the parallel is apt: the feeling and poetry is closely akin to what we find in the work of those authors. The diary and the horror of the murder fill the Detective Sergeant not only with a lust for revenge but also with a longing that is hopeless by definition, its subject being dead. The extremes of terrible realism at one end and intimate romantic feeling on the other create a tension that keeps the book vibrating. There is one more element: the author’s compulsive wish to emulate his idol, Raymond Chandler by constant wisecracking. The huge majority of these quips are elaborate threats addressed to the various lesser criminals and shady characters who figure as witnesses and accomplices helping the narrator to close in on the murderer. This permanent quipping (in certain dialogues you will find a threat of this kind in every second sentence) is a bit overdone and is the only weak point of the novel. All in all, “I Was Dora Suarez” is a terrible, weird and magnificent book.(less)30 minutes ago
1
353
download or read online
Reviews
Mike Gabor
Dora Suarez is brutally murdered by an axe wielding maniac. Felix Roatta, a night club owner, has the top of his head blown off a few hours later. A picture of the two victims together tie the cases together. Our unnamed DS is assigned to the case and begins his investigation.Again, a very powerful novel in the Factory series. The unnamed DS reveals a bit more about himself and it helps explain his obsession for obtaining justice for Dora Suarez. This is a very brutal and graphic novel. Some scenes may turn some people off and I do feel thet the author may have been a bit to graphic however, this is still an excellent book and I highly recommend it to all Noir fans.
Trevor
This book is apparently considered the best of Derek Raymond's Factory series of philosophical-noir crime novels, and also the most repulsive. When Raymond's publisher first read it, he threw up on his desk, or so the story goes. While I don't know if that's true or just perverse marketing, I can certainly attest to the plausibility of that anecdote: Raymond went a bit crazypants with the gore on this one. Think American Psycho with more disease and bodily fluids.To be fair, all the gross-out passages are (mostly) offset by the depth and humanity of the protagonist, a nameless sergeant who cares more about justice for the weak than pleasing his superiors. In this novel, the victim (Dora Suarez) was a young woman dying of AIDS, who was viciously murdered the very night she was planning on taking her own life. The protagonist gets to know her through her diary, and in a classically "noir" way falls in love with her memory as he tries to bring her killer to justice. Some of the book's best writing is during her diary passages and the sergeant's reactions to them.That isn't enough, however, for me to agree that this is the best novel in the Factory series. As good as the style of writing is, the structure is actually quite poor. There are many drawn-out conversations that don't really advance anything, where the story is just spinning its wheels. For example, take the novel's many interrogations, which all follow the same pattern: the protagonist will demand that a particular lowlife give up some information. The criminal will plead ignorance, and the sergeant will launch into an elaborate threat about how difficult things will get. Their police station, I should mention, is nicknamed "The Factory" for its reputation of working suspects over. The criminal will appear genuinely frightened by this, but will then continue to plead ignorance. The cycle repeats itself a few more times, and then the conversation ends. Also, the concept of the diary entries (as well-written as they were) was already done in Raymond's first Factory novel, He Died with His Eyes Open. In that novel, the victim had left behind personal cassette recordings instead of a diary, but the "voice from beyond the grave" effect was exactly the same.Because of these flaws, I actually found this book to be weaker than the first two Factory novels, which is a shame because with some tighter editing, I Was Dora Suarez could have easily been the best. Perhaps no one at Raymond's publishers had a strong enough stomach to edit it properly?
Anthony Vacca
With one of the most hardcore opening chapters of any murder mystery I have ever read, I Was Dora Suarez is a disturbingly brilliant novel, and the strongest entry into Derek Raymond's Factory series since the soul-gutting first novel, He Died With His Eyes Open. In one night, an elderly woman is smashed face-first through a grandfather clock, a slimy club owner has most of his head painted across a wall and a mysterious beauty named Dora Suarez is mutilated and then molested by an insane axe-murderer. Yanked out of suspension by his higher-ups, the Unnamed Detective is ordered to dive headfirst into this orgy of violence. And as he wades his way through all the gore, UD becomes more and more certain that all three atrocities were committed by the same madman. An autopsy and the obsessive reading of Dora's diary reveals that not only was she dying of AIDS but that she may have been in love with the psychopath who ended her already terminally short life. Soon the UD finds himself investigating a seedy nightclub that housed acts of inhuman depravity, and what may be the link which tied Dora to her killer.Legend says this novel was rejected by its first publisher who vomited upon reading the aforementioned, notorious opening chapter, and admittedly I Was Dora Suarez is not a novel many readers will enjoy. Raymond is unrelenting with his depictions of vileness, and the mercifully few chapters told from the killer's point of view are acts of linguistic and scatological extravagance. But what keeps this from being an exercise in shock value and the durability of one's gag reflex is the depth of pain UD feels for Dora Suarez. Her writings take on the weight of scripture as UD slowly realizes that he is profoundly in love with the woman who once was Dora Suarez. It's this which keeps the UD from being an almost cartoonish mouthpiece for Raymond's own particular brand of nihilism. The deep woe he feels for the unfairness of her suffering is harrowing to read. Add in an unforgettably disgusting wretch for a villain, and you have what will probably go down as the blackest of all noirs. But for all the filth, cruelty, violence and greed which permeates through every page, I Was Dora Suarez isn't a hearltess read. What it is is a troubling investigation into love, suffering and the strangeness of mercy.
Review will shown on site after approval.
(Review will shown on site after approval)