I am a great fan of Nick Cave (I caught him last time he was in Brussels with the Bad Seeds). Knowing this, a friend, JA, loaned me his second novel, The Death of Bunny Munroe, but I never managed to get past the opening pages. Then another friend, EDN, bought me the book as a gift and so I started it again, and this time read the gruesomely fascinating tale right through. Living in a drug- and alcohol-induced haze, Cave’s monstrously priapic anti-hero hits the road, young son in tow, following his wife’s suicide. Bunny Munroe’s inexorable decline is shadowed by a serial killer’s journey south and the one big disappointment with this tale is that, although Cave was clearly thinking about it, the serial killer and Bunny Munroe do not meet, in Don’t Look Now style (maybe Cave was afraid of being accused of using a cliché). A review in The Brighton Magazine (Cave lives in Brighton and the story is set around the town) well summed up Cave’s imaginary world as being full of ‘characters who dwell on the fringes of society and stumble through life on a diet of drugs, chaos and disappointment, but who’ll never give up stumbling, which is why in part they fascinate us so much.’ Cave writes distinctively, with unflinching descriptions and morbid wit (one character has a nose ‘like a cat flap’), though the reader has to overlook a lot of un-Englishness in what is supposed to be an English tale (Bunny is forever ‘torching’ Lambert and Butlers with his ‘Zippo’). At times, it seems like a prose version of his Murder Ballads. But that sort of thing couldn’t really happen here, could it? Oh no? These two stories – this one, and this one – appeared on consecutive days in my newspaper as I was finishing the book.