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Book Review

Book Cover

The Ordinary


Author: Christopher Ritchie
Publisher: GP Publishing
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 0 9931639 7 5
Publication Date: 20 June 2015

Beneath the visible world the Ordinary are gathering to supplant humanity as the dominant species on Earth. Created and sustained by the negative energies created by acts of credulity or degradation, the increase in violence, pornography and crime which characterises the twentieth century has allowed them to grow to the point where they are a credible threat to a humanity largely unaware of their existence...

The Ordinary (2015. 306 pages) is the second horror novel from Christopher Richie, following his debut book, House of Pigs, characters from which reoccur in this story.

The book is not as surreal as its predecessor, but it does have its own dark charms. It may be obvious to say that this is not a book for those who are easily offended, as it deals with the necessary negative energies which feed the Ordinary, so there is a lot about pornography, references to rape and mutilation, disturbing scenes of death. On the other hand, this is not to say that the book does not contain some very dark humour.

As the reader, we follow a multi-threaded narrative where all the characters are more or less connected, whether they are aware of this or not. The first character we meet is Piotr, a seemingly tortured individual who is plagued by nightmares of his sister; a sister who he believes was taken and used by pornographer, Lazarous. He views this work as an act of depravity and Lazarous as a latter-day devil, one which needs to be confronted.

Across town, Jock and Bleach have a very prosperous line of work with Stanley, acquiring teenage girls for his macabre collection, though why Stanley employs them is initially a mystery as neither is particularly efficient in this role and Bleach spends most of his time stoned, which leads to the occasional accident where he kills one of the victims.

As the bodies start to mount up, the police try their best to make sense of what appears to be senseless killings, even turning to Robert a retired policeman whose innate intuition had previously help solve difficult crimes. Robert goes off to examine the latest crime scene, leaving his son, Jez, with his new girlfriend, Maria, who seems to have a connection to some of the dead girls.

Evil is a relative term in the book, where Richie could have made the Ordinary fearful monsters, in a panto way, their existence is much more subtle. They are the product of mans own evil and so have little choice except to emulate this. They neither excuse nor deny their actions, unlike the human characters in the book, many of whom make their living either causing or reporting on human misery. I suspect that the author would view the news as entertainment made out of other peoples pain and suffering, which viewers consume mindlessly, whilst stuffing their faces with microwave dinners.

The Ordinary’s presentation does raise questions for the reader as to who the bad guys really are, after all as creatures we murder and consume other creatures for pleasure and the Ordinary are only following our example.

For all of the seemingly dark things which Stanley engages in, he does so with great humour and comes across as the most unintentionally funny character in the book, followed by the tragically amusing Jock and Bleach, whereas few of the humans show even these redeeming features.

It’s not a comfortable read, but it is an interesting ride into humanities heart of darkness.


Charles Packer

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