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Richard House Books In Order

Publication Order of Kills Books

Sutler (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Massive (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Kill (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Hit (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Bruiser (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Uninvited (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Richard House is a British novelist best known for The Kills series of Novels. House wears many hats, being a novelist, university lecturer, artist, and filmmaker. He is also the editor of Fatboy Review a digital magazine. His teaching methodology is focused on helping students develop their research practice, discipline, and craft into creative works. As such, it was inevitable that House would put what he taught into practice, by writing The Kills series, published in 2013.

House was born in in Cyprus and later immigrated to the UK where he went on to become a university lecturer in the arts at the University of Birmingham in 2010. He has had a long-term interest in contemporary fiction that involved aspects of social and political frameworks of the 80s and 90s.

While he achieved commercial success with The Kills series of books, he gained critical acclaim with his first ever book Bruiser, which was in the shortlist for the Ferro Grumley Gay Fiction Award in the USA. The Kills series was also on the shortlist list for the 2013 Booker Prize, the South Bank Arts Award, the GC Prize, and the Gordon Burn Prize. Apart from the novels, he has also written short fiction such as Skin, Agra, and Underworld that were published in magazines.

In 2014, Playground Entertainment in conjunction with the BBC and STARZ announced that they would be working with Richard House to make The Kills into a TV series and feature film. The TV and film adaptations would be an extension of the timelines and ideas from the novels. They will feature the social and political unrest themes of the 70s and 80s protest groups in the US and the UK.

Summary of Sutler by Richard House

The focus of the first novel of the Kills series is the construction of an American military base code named The Massive in the Iraqi desert, during the reconstruction period in the mid-2000s. The base is to be self-sustaining with its own shopping complex, schools, airport, water supply, and even a cinema. While everything seems fine on the surface, the entire project is a corrupt and wasteful project that some important political figures are using to siphon money from the government. At the beginning of Sutler, nothing has yet to be built yet the government is missing $53 million. Meanwhile some higher ups have instructed the project manager to go underground for his and their protection.

John Jacob Ford otherwise known as Sutler, is tasked with making initial assessments of the project on behalf of the company that is contracted to construct the base. However, there is nothing much to assess, since Camp Liberty is nothing more than the biggest decrepit pits used to incinerate animal, human and chemical waste in the desert. As a contractor that had already served in Iraq, Ford has to take up the new name of Stephen Lawrence Sutler as government regulations do not allow for second stints. It is under this alias that Ford flees Iraq as the government starts to apply pressure on the private contractors regarding corruption. However, he leaves with the promise of $250,000 from the ambitious HOSCO advisor Paul Geezler his immediate boss. Paul is the main standout character that fits the novel’s theme of the white-collar villain in government contracting.

Things go haywire when Sutler now on the run finds out that his former employers at HOSCO have now laid all the blame for the disappearance of the $53 million on him. He takes up more aliases and flies to Turkey, Malta, Germany, and the French Alps where he does a disappearing act. On his tail is a motley crew of characters that include a German consular official, an insurance claims adjuster, war reporters, and a Norwegian hired assassin. All of them have their own motivations for seeking to find answers to the missing money and locating the enigmatic Sutler. As the story develops, all of the characters make their own complex trails of chaos as they hunt their target.

Summary of the Massive by Richard House

The second book of the Kills series is the strongest of all the four books. Its focus is on the contractors based at the military installation Camp Liberty. These contractors are only marginal actors in the lucrative frauds run by companies such as HOSCO. One character even goes as far as calling these men gophers meaning they are only interested in the money. To be honest though, they are engaged in work that the military can find no one else to do such as toxic waste incineration, security, and transport. Apart from the work being very dangerous, it is also frequently illegal or borderline illegal. House succeeds in painting a portrait of a subculture of highly paid mercenaries that are in essence a law unto themselves. A recruiter explains asserts that being a contractor is the best job ever, as when one is in the field as a contractor they are private individuals working for themselves, without any meaningful supervision or audit.

The book details some happenings that just weird if anything. For instance, the Massive contractors have a betting pool on who among them will get an injury or die. What is ever weirder, some men tilt the odds in their favor by rigging the work shifts. Since noncombatants are not allowed to obtain or carry arms, the contractors burn the incineration pits using hand grenades that they purchase from the black market. In his typical remarkable style, Richard House writes a vivid description of the polluted desert snowfall that result from the explosions in the pits.

The thousand plus page book can also be fittingly referred to as Massive, with four books in the Kills volume. Taking a Tom Wolfe-esque look into the dark and sinister world of military contractors, Richard House provides a comprehensive narrative that is also as thrilling and as shrewd as John le Carre’s globetrotting thrillers. One of the major twists in the story is the horror murder that appears as if from nowhere, taking up quite a significant chunk of the book. Nonetheless, despite the detours and plot complications, House manages to keep the book’s current feel. It is chock full of intertwining mysteries, hidden associations, and storylines some of which are unresolved and some are not. House presents a novel that is maddeningly circuitous, yet engrossing, and engaging in every sense of the word.

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