John Crace's digested read: Crime by Irvine Welsh

Cape, £12.99

Turbulence rocks the plane and Ray Lennox wishes he'd taken more pills. Trudi sits beside him, calmly reading Perfect Bride magazine. He gulps another Bloody Mary and starts mumbling - Weedgie nonce, Weedgie nonce.

You got the call at Edinburgh police headquarters. A seven-year-old, Britney Hamil, had gone missing. You immediately felt it in your guts. Some nonce had abducted her.

Lennox knocks back two anti-depressants. Well over the recommended daily dose. It's the only way he can handle the anxiety. Trudi is lying on the bed in their Miami hotel room, rifling through Perfect Bride. A while ago, he would have fondled her. Now his cock doesn't work. Nothing works. Except the pills. And the drink.

- I said we'd see an old friend of mine, Ginger. A retired cop.

- OK, Ray, Trudi sighs. You were doing so well at NA.

Ginger takes Lennox to a men's club. A girl young enough to be his daughter grinds herself next to Lennox. - This place is full of nonces, he rasps.

You always felt Britney's grandfather was nae a nonce. He was just a train wreck. You had a sniff it was the same beast who had done the Hertfordshire and Lake District murders and that the polis had locked up the wrong man.

He drinks a few more Stoli vodkas. He wants to tell Trudi he's dying inside. Instead he shrugs. - I'm just doing what I want. If you don't like it, you can fuck off.

- Naw you fuck off. She charges out.

Lennox heads aimlessly for a club. Two women approach him. - We're Robyn and Starry. How about we score some coke?

By three in the morning he's totally wired. He needs his antidepressants but there are none left. Robyn pulls his hand inside her knickers. He can't get wood. He hunts down another vodka.

He hears shouting in the next room. Starry is in there with two men, Vince and Johnnie, and Robyn's 11-year old daughter Tianna. Johnnie is trying to caress Tianna while the others watch.

- You fuckin nonces.

He headbutts Johnnie and kicks Vince viciously in the balls before dragging Tianna away. He's shaking. He doesn't know what to do. He wants another drink and more coke. But he's got to protect this girl.

- I'm going tae get yaw some breakfast and then hand ye tae the polis.

Your heart bled when they found Britney's body. You spent hours trawling through CCTV footage but you got no pleasure when you nailed the serial nonce. You should have saved her.

Lennox approaches the front desk of a downtown Miami polis station. There's Vince in uniform. Jeez, he's a cop. One moment you're in a typical grimy, on-the-skids Irvine Welsh book and the next you're in a Carl Hiaasen thriller.

- We've got tae get away.

Lennox takes Tianna to the car hire. The fat bastard at the rental looks like a nonce. But he'll let it go this time. They drive cross state to Tianna's uncle Chet.

- So you're a nonce too, Lennox yells.

- Only a very mild one, Chet simpers. I'll help you nail the others.

Lennox arranges to meet Ginger in the Everglades. An alligator chomps on Ginger's puppy.

- Even the fucking gators round here are nonces.

You were only 11 years old. Some nonce knocked you off your bike and made you suck his dick. Your best friend Les was raped. That's why you've always hated nonces.

Lennox closes in on the paedo-phile convention. He busts several jaws and takes out a major nonce ring.

- You're safe to be a child, now, he tells Tianna. He turns to Trudi.

- I have now conquered my demons and mysteriously acquired some unconvincing cathartic psychobabble. I am ready to give up the drugs and drink and get married.

- Aw that's nice. Then I don't have to tell you I shagged someone when you ran out on me.

The digested read, digested: Miami McFuckin Vice.

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John Crace

The GuardianTramp

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