In 1993, two 10-year-old boys abducted and murdered a toddler in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
According to the BBC, the toddler was a victim of “brutal and heinous violence”. This horrific crime would incite anger in most, but for Andy Bray, it was an inspiration to write his first novel, Dark Globe.
As a close friend of Andy Bray, I remember his dedication to writing Dark Globe. He would rarely venture outside of his house, consumed by his work.
He later said, “I wanted to keep my work a secret. Writing it took me to a dark, complex world, hence the title.”
It was also revealed that the anti-hero, Joey Carlton, a school teacher, was based on the killers of James Bulger. I received a copy of Dark Globe shortly after it was published, in September 2005.
The reader is introduced to Joey Carlton, a funny, relatable character. However, as the narrative progresses, the reader is confronted by the true Joey, a man who is sexually perverse, psychologically unstable and guilty of infanticide.
As an angry, vigilante mob pursue the teacher, readers will question where their loyalty lies: pedophile murderer, or justice?
The most disturbing aspect of Bray’s work is that while the answer to this question seems simple, obvious; the reader is left with new-found, conflicting opinions about the ethics of their world. In this sense, the novel possesses the same moral inclination as Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
While the narrative is written in a coherent and stable manner, the tone and backdrop of Dark Globe are erratic. The descriptions of settings by the narrator echo the paranoid delusions of Thompson, while the tone they are delivered in is reminiscent of Dostoyevsky’s cynicism.
What is truly compelling about this erratic but concise narrative is that Joey’s psychological portrayal seems more a work of non-fiction than fiction.
Dark Globe is an honest portrayal of the unhinged human psyche and Joey, presented as a conscious character, must face his subconscious, which manifests itself as the angry mob that pursues him.
Bray’s work offers a new perspective on murder trials such as the Bulger case. Readers who felt uncomfortable with Capote’s In Cold Blood or Ellis’ American Psycho will not enjoy this novel.
Bray challenges and disturbs his readers, delivering profound messages about the most fundamental moral ideology. Dark Globe is available from Amazon.com and other leading booksellers.