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The skull beneath the skin

Mixing high-flown philosophy with sickening violence, Derek Raymond's crime novels have long been neglected. Now, finally, they are being republished

By Paul Barker   February 2007

After many shadowy years as a cult novelist, Derek Raymond may at last be emerging—with the dazed blink of a man stepping out from his favourite pub—into the sunnier uplands of real fame. For Raymond, the only snag is that he’s dead. But to him, that might not have seemed such a drawback. He liked the thought that the Mounties or the marines always arrived too late. Raymond’s great-grandfather took part in the charge of the Light Brigade, but survived. In this, he was luckier than almost everyone in his great-grandson’s black-as-night thrillers.

Raymond, like Webster, was much possessed by…

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