A serial killer haunts the streets of the Rhondda Valley. Bent Police who torture suspects and beat up a whistleblower colleague come to the Rhondda on a mission to get rid of evidence. In North Wales two children escape the clutches of a care home run by a paedophile only to be murdered later. And in London a far left group backing the miners strike is run by a control freak hypocrite with a penchant for sexually abusing young women.
This is a riveting and horrific tale and there is hardly a sympathetic character in the book. Only Terry Vaughan, a local policeman who joined the force to escape the Valleys and is described as a ” wet behind the ears sheep-shagger ” by his bent superiors emerges as a hero in the tale.
The author, Roger Cottrell, is a former investigative crime reporter and was a young Trotsykite on the Central Committee of the Worker’s Revolutionary Party during the miner’s strike. Now a script writer for TV and film in Ireland and a university academic this is part of a ” work in progress” trilogy.
For those, like me, who love to frighten themselves watching edgy Scandi Noir on BBC 4 on a Saturday night this tale is a perfect fit. Indeed the author has already written a script.
Put together in the mix, an ambitious graduate local reporter nicknamed ” Clever Trevor” with a drug habit in the Rhondda; an ambitious woman hack on the Sun and News of the World and those senior bent police officers, all on the trail of a serial killer who murders paedo victims and young women who support the miner’s strike. It also a cover up of a paedophile ring involving Westminster politicians. To add a literary angle the mysterious killer who taunts the police goes by the name of Azazel, the fallen angel who joined Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno creeps into the story.
For those who remember this era the background of the miner’s strike with pickets stoning coaches bring in scabs, and police from the Met roughing up striking miners in the back of vans, is very familiar. Added spice comes when striking miners smash up Rhondda’s police station and the police wreck a miner’s club in retaliation.
Some references in the book are more than just fiction. There is the murder of a black social worker Americk Fraser for trying to expose a paedophile ring operating in the London borough of Lambeth. He was handcuffed to shopping trolley, doused in lighter fuel and set ablaze and dumped in the Thames. In real life Bulaq Forsythe a black social worker was murdered for trying to expose a paedophile ring in Lambeth. He didn’t die in such horrendous circumstances But he had notes linking the South Vale Care Home in South Norwood to paedophiles. The Met Police launched an investigation into his death but nothing came of it. Now we know from the official Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and a recent internal inquiry there was widespread child sexual abuse in Lambeth.
Similarly the North Wales care home where the boys absconded in the book had for years been part of a paedophile ring and its ring leaders in the 1980s included the late North Wales Police chief superintendent Gordon Angelsea. He was never exposed until a National Crime Agency investigation secured his conviction in 2016. All the stuff about Masonic links and the police co-operating with care homes is based on grim fact.
And Liam O’Leary, the head of the Workers Revolutionary League, is based on the now long dead Gerry Healy, the head of the WRP, who is said to have sexually abused 26 women and employed two thugs to impose discipline in the far left organisation.
This is indeed a very dark book but made more menacing because a lot of the fiction in the tale has a basis in reality. It has a very dramatic ending which I won’t spoil by revealing but it is very cinematic. Read it if you can stomach it.
Jaded Jerusalem by Roger Cottrell. Available from Amazon £12.99
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