"Ploughing Potter's Field"
(HarperCollins, Paperback, 2000, read: Juli 00; books from this author are not available at Amazon.com)
"The tabloids called Frank Rattigan 'the Beast of East 16'. The authorities called him a dangerous sociopath. But one man called him the only possible road to redemption.
When Adrian Rawlings undertakes a series of interviews with the incarcerated killer who spent three days torturing, murdering and dismembering a young air hostess 'for fun', he is totally unprepared for the way the case eats so deeply into his own psychological neuroses and inadequacies. And as he struggles to find the vital threads to rationalize the horrifying, unthinkable crime, he finds himself drawn into a dark world of secret histories and hidden agendas which stretch far beyond the Beast himself.
But perhaps the answers Rawlings strives for lie buried within his own childhood - a place where vulnerable minds are always prey to the evil machinations of others ..."
It starts with a very interesting question: Does pure evil exist? In the course of this ''documentary'' Adrian Rawlings, whose way to forensic psychiatry is worth a novel of it' s own, is determined to prove that his counterpart Francis James Rattigan, the "Beast of East 16", is in no way different from any other psychopath incarcerated in Oakwood High Security Mental Hospital. On this occasion he unravels a plot of horrible child-abuse and a cover story without parallel.
Diary entrys and excerpts from tape recordings amplify the documentaric aspects of the novel, a bit in the tradition of G. Leroux' "Phantom of the Opera". Lovesay adds suspense to the story by showing Rawlings as a father and a member of a family and not only as a self righteous part-time private detective. We experience first-hand the effect of his work on his family and his relation to it.
Although towards the end of the novel the reader gets all the explanations he can expect, this is a must read, especially for all those liking a real wicked plot-twist in the end. And as for Adrian, he gets a lot more than he bargained for.
[Jürgen Kucklinski, October 00]
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