No Exit Press, £7.99stg
The cover of 'Sleeping with Jane Austen' promises a "riveting tale of obsession and murder". A tale of obsession and murder? Certainly. Riveting? Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Picture a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons and you have Daniel Adamson, the main character, indeed the only character, in David Aitken’s unusual crime novel.
"You have as much chance of being released from this place as you have of sleeping with bloody Jane Austen," the governor taunts Adamson as he is admitted to CHOC ICE to serve a life sentence. The words, in quite an unusual way, prove to be ironic.
Daniel 'The Needler' Adamson has a murderous fetish for women's ears and not quite so murderous an obsession with Lindsay Wagner, aka the Bionic Woman. This unusual ear obsession leads to his incarceration at the Camperdown Hospital for Offenders of Criminally Insane Category E – CHOC ICE to its inmates. When a publishing company becomes interested in The Needler's autobiography, 'Sleeping with Jane Austen' is born.
The book is a stream of thought that chronicles Adamson's murders. Written as a monologue addressed to the reader, it starts off as a funny, quirky, refreshing, different read. However, the novelty soon wears off and the Needler and his story become quite irritating, to say the least.
Aitken does attempt a new take on the crime genre, but 'Sleeping with Jane Austen' and The Needler just aren't strong enough to sustain interest.