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Rupert Thomson: The Five Gates of Hell

I read this shortly after reading Dreams of Leaving and it seemed far less effective. It is a book about death. It is set in Moon Beach, sometime in the future. Moon Beach reminded me of Huntington Beach and maybe it was meant to but, of course, it could also be anywhere in Florida where the rich go to die. Moon Beach is inhabited by the rich who go there to die, so the main industry is funeral parlours. There are two main characters – Nathan Christie, the pretty, rich boy, and Jed Morgan, the poor, ugly boy. Their paths inevitably cross, particularly when the evil but fascinating Neville Creed comes into the picture. Creed is the chairman of the Paradise Corporation, the number one funeral parlour conglomerate and both have a relationship with him, both personal and professional. Creed’s macabre hold over the boys and the community and his inevitable downfall make for interesting reading as Thomson is a writer always very much in control of his material but I still preferred Dreams of Leaving.

Publishing history

First published 1991 by Bloomsbury