First published back in November of 2019, British author Guy Portman’s novel ‘Golgotha’ formed the third instalment in the author’s ‘Necropolis’ trilogy.

DLS Synopsis:
Dyson Devereux had been locked up awaiting his trial in San Vittore Prison, Milan for the past seventeen months.  Seventeen months sharing a cell with an uncouth and irritating, tracksuit-wearing Albanian.  It had taken so long for Dyson’s trial to commence because the Italian judicial system is nothing short of a chaotic, bureaucratic quagmire.

Luckily Dyson had a small respite from the trudge and misery of the Italian prison.  A respite in the slender and appeasing form of Alegra.  The other inmates would stare with ogling eyes every time she came to visit.  Although if Dyson was honest, it was the gifts she brought which he really looked forward to.  Cantuccini, Cremino al pistacchio chocolates and biscotti.  Fine Italian delicacies which made his incarceration that little more tolerable.

Having represented himself, Dyson got off the charges he faced with relative ease.  He knew how to project the right image of innocence.  And so, it wasn’t long before he was out of that hellhole and flying back to London where he could be reacquainted with his most prized possessions.  His trophies, stored in a fly-fishing tin and secreted in Cressingham Park Cemetery prior to his pre-trial detention.

Of course, other than his prized mementos, there were other things back in England for him to return to.  His son, Horatio, who was now five.  Although seeing him meant crossing paths with Rakesha again.  That woman was not a fan of Dyson.  In fact, more than a hint of venomous hatred could be detected from her whenever she was in Dyson’s presence.

With his house currently let out, Dyson had no option but to take up some low-rent accommodation.  Unfortunately, what he ended up with was a small flat next to an irksome neighbour who played intolerably bad music at the most unsuitable of hours.  To make matters worse, it seemed Algera wasn’t getting the hint from Dyson’s swift departure from Italy, and instead she’d been incessantly calling his mobile from the minute he landed in England.  Furthermore, it appeared young Horatio had been suspended from school for bullying a transgender classmate.  A matter which Dyson had every intention of correcting with utmost urgency.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom.  Dyson had managed to secure a part-time job at Raven & Co. Funeral Directors.  It wasn’t exactly Head of Burials and Cemeteries for the Borough, but nevertheless, a step in the right direction.  He’d also met with an attractive Moldovan stripper in his apartment block.  It had to be said, things were indeed beginning to perk up.

The question is, how long would it be before someone got on the wrong side of Dyson?  How long before some infuriating imbecile has a disagreement with him?  Then you know what happens.  Another corpse to get rid of…and another memento for the tin…

DLS Review:
Once in a while you might come across a character in a book, or series of books, whose persona is so damn convincing, so unique and charismatic, that you’ll feel you actually know them.  Such uniquely sculpted characters are few and far between.  So, when you come across one, the connection you have with them leaves a lasting impact upon you.

Guy Portman’s Dyson Devereux is one such character.  He was for me anyway.  He’s not a particularly complicated character.  In fact, there’s not even a sizeable character arch to help you build those lasting connections with the character.  Instead, it’s his consistency, his uncompromising singular vision of the world, his charm and unending charisma and his desert dry wit, which makes you root for him throughout.  Dyson Devereux is what makes these books.

This is the third book in the ‘Necropolis’ trilogy.  If you’ve read the first two, you may be wondering whether the whole ‘Dexter-esque’ vibe might be beginning to wear a little thin by book three.  After all, the stories all pretty much focus upon one thing – the charismatic and razor-sharp dry wit of serial killer Dyson Devereux.  Other than following his haphazard life, that’s pretty much the length and breadth of the plot.  However, any concerns you may have about the longevity of the plot and its principal character’s entertainment factor should be completely swept aside.  Portman has judged the life of his character just right.  Three books to tell the story of Dyson Devereux.  It’s spot on.  Absolutely perfect.  Furthermore, this final instalment in the trilogy is probably the greatest achievement of the three.

You wouldn’t read ‘Golgotha’ without having first read ‘Necropolis’ (2014) and ‘Sepultura’ (2018).  Portman knows this, so doesn’t waste any time with re-introducing Dyson, or indeed sketching out any of the backstory.  It would be wholly unnecessary.  Instead, this final book jumps straight into the slipstream of Dyson’s ingeniously elaborate and spontaneously destructive world.

Dyson is every inch the man he was in the preceding books.  His life my have gone off the rails on some mind-boggling tangents, but the person he is hasn’t changed one iota because of this chaotic course.  He’s every bit the charming sociopath he was.  Let’s face it, with a character like Dyson Devereux, a clever character arch isn’t necessary.  It wouldn’t fit.  Probably wouldn’t work.  Instead we merely want to see more of him.  More of how his life will somehow continue, with his murderous bloodlust somehow still crazily undetected.

In this third novel Portman has upped the ante on how far Dyson can and will go.  There’s more murders, more vengeful plots and elaborate twists to the course of his inconceivably whitewashed existence.  Again, the parallels with ‘American Psycho’ (1991) and ‘Dexter’ (2006 – 2013) are in absolute abundance.  The darkest of humour is also there in every calculated breath he takes.  In fact, the humour is perhaps even more at the forefront of the tale here.  At times you’ll laugh-out-loud, others merely smirking at the casual nature of a character you know so well.

I eluded to a plot that was if best, wafer thin. I may be doing the story a disservice there.  It’s got a relatively singular narrative, without many different threads to its bow, however it does weave an elaborate zigzag along the course of its journey.  Dyson’s interactions with those he meets create their own micro-stories.  His delicate balance between eloquence and charm and sociopathic serial killer makes every page rich with colour and darkly comical zest.

Dyson’s reaction to learning of a five-year-old in his son’s class who now identifies as the opposite sex is a brilliantly blunt moment of unreserved genius.  It doesn’t pull any of its comical faux-punches in challenging the PC brigade.  And for that the novel becomes that much richer.

Portman has undoubtedly found his rhythm with this final instalment.  ‘Golgotha’ is nothing short of dark comedy genius.  A tightrope walk between horrific murders and laugh-out-loud entertainment.  It flaunts grisly cold-blooded murders in the same hand as sharp, intelligent wit.  There’s just so much to like in this book.  So much to enjoy on each page.

This book is cold-blooded, intricately calculated, serial killer black comedy from start to finish.

The novel runs for a total of 235 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Necropolis’ instalments:



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