Eat the Poor got its first Amazon review this week, which made me very happy. Sue Bavey enjoys the idea of a werewolf who is a Conservative MP:
“I particularly liked how odious the Conservative MP Christopher Garold was. Anyone following British politics lately will not find the idea of a murderous werewolf that far-fetched when it comes to the dirty little secrets of those in power.”
I feel she is being a little harsh on Christopher Garold. He is, by his lights, a good MP, albeit one who disapproves of those he thinks of as “the undeserving poor”. He works hard for his constituents, takes no bribes, and campaigns on environmental issues. As one of his voters says, “He may be a Tory, but his heart’s in the right place.” And he can hardly help being a werewolf.
I had wanted to write a story about a werewolf since people started asking me for a sequel to Something Wicked. That book had started from the idea that if vampires lived among us, they would probably dance tango. I know so many tango dancers I have never seen in daylight that it seemed entirely credible and from that point the whole story just sort of took off. But where would you find a werewolf? What sort of person could turn into a creature that rips open the throats of innocent people who are foolish enough to be out on the night of a full moon?
The honest answer, of course, is that it could be anybody. But that wasn’t really satisfying. I wanted a job where a ruthless killer instinct and an unerring conviction of your own superiority to others made the idea of being a werewolf a natural match with your personality – and I came up with a Conservative MP.
The political edge was just a way of making the story work. Eat the Poor is an entertainment, not a searing bit of political satire. But while I was writing it, I watched our traditional political system falling apart. The ‘Good Chaps’ theory of government, which underlies our unwritten constitution, has given way to an approach to political power which is much better summed up as the Werewolf theory of government: the powerful take what they want and convince themselves that they are making society a better place while they do it. So there are points where the anger slips through. If you haven’t felt angry about Parliament in the past couple of years, you haven’t been paying attention.
Much more important than any political elements is the growing relationship between the all-too-human Chief Inspector Galbraith, very aware of growing older, and his vampire partner, Pole. Both essentially rather lonely individuals, they grow closer through their rather old-fashioned shared values. They believe in decency and protecting society. And, increasingly, they believe in each other.
More important than either the satire or the relationship, though, is the sheer fun of a hunt for the supernatural in the everyday (or everynight) world of today’s London. Wouldn’t you, deep down, enjoy seeing a werewolf in Parliament? Well now you can.
Eat the Poor is available on Kindle, in paperback or on Kindle Unlimited. You can link to it here: mybook.to/EatThePoor.