Nick Ryan
Created by Shaun Hutson

London gumshoe NICK RYAN is your average loser private eye. His wife and daughter have gone off to live with some rich bloke, he smokes too much, drinks too much, entertains rather violent thoughts, has terrible taste in music and he's a very sick man.

When his daughter is kidnapped by some of her stepdad's associates and a nasty porno tape shows her captors masked and greased up, Ryan is determined to get her back. Along for the ride is Kieran, a young Irish guy whose sister has disappeared, may be homeless and ­ even worse ­ may be one of the victims of a series of brutal murders in England's capital. Soon it's less a case of detection, more annihilation. After all, for Ryan, time is short. He has cancer.

Splatterhound Shaun Hutson, otherwise known as "The Godfather of Gore" started his career with the icky novel Slugs (featuring, funnily enough, man-eating slugs), before moving on to vampire foetuses (Spawn) and undead gangsters (the schlock-horror masterpiece Assassin) before penning Deadhead (in which Nick appears), his only private eye novel to date in 1994.

On one hand, Ryan is a typical Hutson protagonist, a faceless hardboiled wreck of a cliché. He listens to metal, drives fast, and there's not a thorny problem in the world that can't be solved with an easily procured automatic weapon. On the other, he's a natural comic book progression from Mike Hammer. You decide. Though I'd go for the former, myself.

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Respectfully submitted by Ray Banks.


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