‘Mr. In-Between’ by Neil Cross
Mr. In-Between is, so far, my least favourite book by Neil Cross. Not only was the content very dark (a lot of violence and gore) but Cross would spiral into very complicated descriptions that, I felt, took away from the essence of the story.
Jon Bennett is a troubled young hit-man who was institutionalised for much of his life. Upon a chance encounter with a long lost childhood friend (Andy) — and after taking a liking to Andy’s family and seeing what love and real human connection looks like — he rebels against his master, “The Tattooed Man”, and begins to seek his own path to redemption.
As always, with Cross, the pictures he paints are vivid — vomit-ridden sidewalks, a terrifyingly cold English winter, the pulsating music emanating from a house party, the sizzling of a lit cigarette butt clasped between lips; you can hear Jon, Andy and his wife, Cathy, speaking in their small living room hunched over cups of tea. But, this time — and to be fair this book was first published in 1998 and is much older than Holloway Falls (2003) and Luther (2011) — Cross sometimes burdened and bored me with narrative; one scene or just one conversation could span the length of an entire chapter.
“…to nuzzle into the space between her ear and in one long inhalation which made his lungs ache, to take into himself that scent and hold it inside, where it might flow through his veins like fresh air through the window of a long unoccupied house.”