Fletcher, by David Horscroft

Desember 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

Warning: This book contains foul language and gratuitous violence. Stop reading now if these things are not for you, as this review shall not shy away from them.


Every once in a while something or someone makes me reassess who I am and why. This book, Fletcher, by David Horscroft, did just that.

Fletcher lives in post-apocalyptic world, a world in which the rich and mighty live in compounds protected by the military and private security companies, while the great unwashed eke out a living in ghettos ruled by gangs and thugs.

Does this sound familiar?

Does the ADT guy outside your high walls give you a false sense of security?


This is a mirror to look into

Fletcher, also known as K, is an outcast. He kills. And he enjoys it. It makes for the worst, mindless violence I have ever experienced in my life.

If violence gets you down, please note this book is not for you.

However; the horror acts as a metaphor for the wrongs and the evils in our own society. Once I understood this, I was morbidly hooked by the book. It simply fucked with my brain. Sorry, I do not use this simply as an expletive. I use it since there are all sorts of references in the book to violence and drugs that create orgasmic feelings in the brain and body.

No, normally violence does not do it for me, but this metaphor of the thug standing up against the wealth of organised economic injustice somehow got the synapsis in my brain firing. I was utterly repulsed by the book and I also could not wait to get back to reading it again… The fix of the junky. Yes, yes indeed.

The only other time I have ever experienced something similar was when, as a student, I was watching Extremities by William Mastrosimone. I was sitting in the front row and the rape scene was happening. I found myself horribly aroused; my entire body was sexually riled. I was truly mortified by my body’s reaction.. How could this arouse me? This was not soft porn, this was a rape scene.

This type horror returned while I read this book.

I am not a prude. In the past week I had asked a woman to take her clothes off for a photo shoot. She did. I do at times watch both erotica and soft porn, but I certainly do not ever do snuff movies. Not ever. Period.

Even when violence comes to play I do not do think of myself as a prude. I loved Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp fiction and I still speak highly of his Reservoir dogs. Be warned, though, this book draws one in much, much deeper. The violence in Fletcher is a hell of a lot more graphic. While I never experienced arousal, the morbid desire to dig into these levels of horror was scary.


So, Fletcher holds up a mirror and asks: how different are you really?

This play with mirrors happens at a meta-level, as K, the lead, hates mirrors.


The future now

The book has just been published, in 2014. The story tells of a world in utter chaos and devastation during the year 2014. Like many other science fiction books, this one wants you to look out of the window and to see, really see, the parallels between the page and the present.

You cannot avoid the mirror.


Hyperbole, storylines and intertexts

This is a highly disturbing book. But why? Chanette Paul, the brilliant and under-rated author of Ewebeeld, explains that the violence and isolation her female leads experiences is hyperbolic, otherwise the reader would get bored with mundane.

We are so used to “mundane” abuse and violence, it no longer shocks us.

While Paul uses a gripping story and carefully employs various references to fairy tales and the Greek Mythology, Horscroft’s approach feels more like an attack with a crowbar. It is painful, bloody, repulsive and damn effective. There are clever references in Fletcher to Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, though. These yet again underline the starkness between the lives of the haves, living in lala-land, and the impossibility of getting even when you are facing off with those who are able to out- money you.

Fletcher also employs a gripping storyline. I am keen not to say too much, other than it is worth reading right to the end. This is a David and Goliath tale all over again. The only difference is that this man, K, is a lot more vile than the David of the Bible.

My biggest concern with the story is that this K, or Fletcher, is just a touch too much. Face it, Chuck Norris looks like a pathetic wimp next to Fletcher. I simply could not buy some the fight scenes. And yet, we all seem to accept those scenes in movies where the ninjas do backflips over the roofs of houses, or run on flying daggers. I have once heard reviewer a calling those scenes poetic. Well, then Fletcher is full of poetry; blunt, crowbar-driven poetry. It certainly is not realistic that a lone ranger can fight of entire divisions all the time.

Yet, should we look at the mythology and the Jungian archetypes, we realise true heroes ought to be superhuman. Why should we settle for mundane heroes if we are surrounded by such scary inhumanity in real life?

There are a few other things that bugged me as well. For instance, Fletcher goes scavenging and seemingly is able to find food where others do not – despite their lingering presence.

This book is not trying to be realistic, though. It even undermines itself by constantly and wilfully referring to false historic references, while those historic references that are real, remind us just how evil the world outside our windows really is. There are companies that make billions out of selling arms to various sides of the conflict zone around the world.

This book may use hyperbole to explore the evil perpetuated by big corporations, but it remains chillingly close to the bone.


For whom the K is calling?

Who should read this book?

  • Anyone who loves political science will find the play between corporate wealth and limp governments wonderful – the end reveals the true meaning of this horror.
  • Anyone who loves science fiction will find the armoured suits and chemical warfare pitched against old-fashioned use of muscles and brain cells fascinating.
  • Anyone who loves Tarantino’ movies should read this, but be warned this is way beyond anything his mind can dredge up.

If you have read this far, then you should know who is not to read it.

Fletcher is a disgusting, repulsive book, but I highly recommend it. Why? It forces us to look in the mirror. That is why.

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Fletcher, by David Horscroft, was published by Fox & Raven Publishing and it can be bought via their emporium.

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