The Lamp of the Wicked

The Lamp of the Wicked☆ The Lamp of the Wicked PDF / Epub ✩ Author Phil Rickman – It appears that the unlovely village of Underhowle is home to a serial killer But as the police hunt for the bodies of more young women, Rev Merrily Watkins fears that the detective in charge has beco It appears that of the PDF/EPUB ´ the unlovely village of Underhowle is home to a serial killer But as the police The Lamp PDF/EPUB ² hunt for the bodies of young women, Rev Merrily Watkins fears that the detective in charge has become blinkered Lamp of the PDF/EPUB å by ambition Meanwhile, Merrily has personal problems, like the anonymous phone calls, the candles and incense left burning in her church, and the alleged angelic visitations.

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  • Paperback
  • 576 pages
  • The Lamp of the Wicked
  • Phil Rickman
  • English
  • 07 October 2017
  • 9780330490320

10 thoughts on “The Lamp of the Wicked

  1. Christia says:

    Rickman is one of my favorite authors, so much so that I will on occasion re-read his books. I chose to re-read this one to give it another chance. Although very good, this is not one of my favorites.

    Rickman's stories are so multi-layered, sometimes it is difficult to summarize his books. This one deals primarily with the impact of the death of presumed criminal Roddy Lodge upon his hometown village of Underhowle. Because of his erratic behavior, Roddy is assumed responsible for the disappearance and death of several local women. To make matters worse, his neighbors believe he modeled his own crimes after the heinous acts of serial killer Fred West (who, I was very startled to learn, is not someone Rickman made up but was an actual real criminal, whose acts were so disturbing he makes Ted Bundy look like an angel in comparison).

    Roddy is a business competitor of (my favorite character) Gomer Parry, who lives in the scenic village of Ledwardine, in the Hereford district near the border of England and Wales. Gomer accuses Roddy of setting fire to his garage where he stores his digging equipment and also holds him responsible for the subsequent death of Gomer's nephew and assistant Nev. During a confrontation with Roddy, Gomer and his friend, the Rev. Merrily Watkins, vicar of Ledwardine who also happens to be a Deliverance Consultant (exorcist) stumble across a crime even worse than arson. As they try to determine the origins of Roddy's crimes and the explanation for his death by his own hands, Merrily must also struggle with church politics in addition to her teenage daughter Jane, who is even more sullen here than usual and is experiencingd somewhat of an existentialist crisis. And then there is the member of the congregation who develops an infatuation with Merrily and decides to move to Ledwardine as a result of her vision of the angel Uriel.

    In the meantime, Merrily's new boyfriend, musician Lol Robinson has a successful but reluctant comeback, thanks to the assistance of Prof and the mysterious Moira Cairns, 2 musicians (characters from earlier Rickman books who make a cameo appearance here).

    As usual, Rickman borrows heavily from local folklore (and in this case, criminal history) and seems to target one theme in each of his books, presenting the reader with both a supernatural explanation alongside a more rational one. The mood he sets is almost palpable and his dialogue, as always, is extremely effective and realistic.

    Not a quick read and one that requires some degree of concentration, but a good read nontheless.

  2. Rhode says:

    Congratulations to Phil Rickman for NOT using the obvious plot device in this novel. When I realized it was about a serial killer who targets women, I winced, mentally preparing myself for that scene you know is coming, when the killer has one of the lead female characters in a defenseless position and she has to get free. Every damn cop TV show - even the ones with 'strong' females - winds up putting its female leads in this situation. I didn't realize how fed up I am with it until it was not part of the plot here. Take that you uncreative TV writers!

    This book is full of thrills, chills, unexpected twists, and some lovely character development. I am not British and so was not aware until the author's notes at the end that one of the main offstage characters was based on a real life serial killer in the UK from the 1990s. If I had known he was 'real', the book would have been even more dark and scary.

  3. Christine says:

    In this installment of Merrily Watkins, Rickman makes use of the real-life murders committed by Fred and Rosemary West. The couple raped and murdered several young women. There is a two-part mini-series called Appropriate Adult that details the case against the couple. There are several books about them as well. Part of what Rickman is addressing is the always questioning of more – were all the bodies found. (If you are an American, a recent example would be the Grim Sleeper).

    But to say this book is simply a mystery involving a real-life murder case would be misleading.

    The art of the novel is the question of relationships. Not so much marriage, though that is touched on as well, but romantic relationships and family relationships. There is Jane who not only faces a crisis of faith but also suffers through romantic problems with Irene as she worries about whether or not her mother is throwing away a relationship with Lol. Lol, Jane thinks, is spending too much time with a singer who really resembles Kate Bush.

    So that’s another reason to like this novel.

    There is the new woman in the village who is a bit too famous and a bit too interested in Merrily, as well as her husband. There is Bliss’ marriage, which may be falling about. There is the woman whose sewage semester needed to be dug up and oopsie there’s a body.

    Merrily gets brought into the case because of Gomer and because, well, her nose.

    But the murder almost feels secondary to the tangle of interconnect personal relationships and changing towns that consumes the novel. In addition to the issues above, there are also questions about what, if anything, you owe the dead, abuse, and sexuality. The pacing is almost wandering, but engrossing. A reader will wonder how Rickman can take all the threads and weave them together. Never fear, he does, quite well in fact.

    The one thing I did miss in the book was more interaction between the Watkins women. I can understand the reasoning for it, but Merrily and Jane work best when they speak to each other.

  4. Laura says:

    3.75 stars. I always enjoy this series, but this one was primarily about a mass murderer, so I can't say it gave me that creepy cozy feeling I look forward to with this series (although it definitely did in parts, before that storyline really got going. I highly recommend this series for ghost story lovers and people interested in the supernatural. Rickman bases some part of each story on reality, which always ramps up the creepy factor, and I loved the main characters from the first book. Also really enjoy the audio versions, which are available on Audible.

  5. Pam Baddeley says:

    This was not the book I had anticipated at all, given its beginning. It starts off with a tragedy which strikes Gomer Parry, one of the most likeable characters in this series. The Reverend Merrily Watkins accompanies him for moral support - and because he has been in the pub when he got the call and needs someone else to drive his van - to the scene of his business premises where all his digger vehicles are stored. An even worse discovery awaits than the destruction of Gomer's livelihood, and they are soon off to a house where he had earlier agreed to remove a badly fitted upmarket septic tank for a woman who appeared too scared to call back Roddy Lodge, the original contractor, Gomer being convinced that Roddy - who has left a threatening message on his answerphone - has torched his premises.

    A confrontation with Roddy, who is there at night apparently removing the tank himself, soon escalates into a murder enquiry. And the book starts to take a different turn, first with Roddy's seeming madness and 'confession' of being a mass murderer, and then with the effect of electrical energy on human health, for Roddy's village is surrounded by electricity pilons and his home is right next to one. Finally, the dominant theme of the second part of the book takes over where the real life serial killers, Fred (now deceased) and Rosemary West, become an integral part of the story.

    The book was extremely dark and full of depression: for a start, Merrily's 17-year-old daughter Jane is suffering from it, having lost her starry eyed belief in spirits of nature and other such New Age topics and now seeing no point in human existence. Merrily's mentor, Huw, is another sufferer and seeking some redemption for the loss of his love, a woman whose daughter was murdered, probably by West or some disciple of his, and who eventually committed suicide. The community where Roddy lives is also dogged by a dark presence in the former Baptist chapel. The only light relief in the book is the possibility of Merrily's lover Lol finally getting back on stage and being able to perform again, and Moira, the Scots singer who is helping him to do that.

    I found the basing of the story on the real life crimes of the Wests unacceptable. There are obviously a lot of people still living who have either lost loved ones at their hands, or who have to live with the knowledge that they will never know if the Wests were responsible for the disappearance of their relatives in that general area around that time. Plus those who were survivors of the awful abuse that went on at the Wests' house. The book was actually published in 2003, not that long after the events in question either. I think a story could have been written where the same ideas were used - electromagnetism and its effect on human mental health, practitioners of sex magic and how that might shade into sexual abuse and murder - without having to have it be about these real life people. For me, it trivialised the suffering of the victims and their families, and so I'm afraid this has to be a 1-star even though it was well written - because I just didn't like it.

  6. Kerry Hennigan says:

    This is probably the grimmest of Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins mysteries. It has connections to a real life serial killer of horrific proportions, which makes this a dark, dark novel.

    Adding to the darkness is the 'dark night of the soul' through which Merrily's teenage daughter Jane is currently living, her faith in anything and everything dispelled by depression and despair.

    When a body is discovered in suspicious circumstances in a sewerage trench, suspicions are raised that there may be others hidden elsewhere in the region where the same contractor has been working. Merrily's old friend Gomer Parry is called in to dig for any evidence. But Gomer has his own tragedy to deal with, and Merrily feels powerless to help.

    The message in The Lamp of the Wicked seems to be that evil, even if it turns out to be deliberately contrived, is still evil.

    Young Jane, meantime, is just looking for some reason to believe there really is something to, well, believe in, beyond the darkness.

    UP-DATE after a subsequent reading 17 Aug 2014

    The Lamp of the Wicked is a ripping read – I enjoy it far more than its immediate predecessor in Phil Rickman’s wonderful Merrily Watkins series, namely The Cure of Souls, which has confused me both times I’ve read it. (Yes, only twice, while I’ve read most books in the series many times).

    Merrily’s daughter Jane, on of my favourite characters in the series, is experience a very dark night of the soul while her mother becomes increasingly distracted by the events unraveling in Underhowle.

    Lol Robinson, Huw Owen and DI Franny Bliss all have sufficient roles in this novel to satisfy their fans, as does Gomer Parry, who experiences some of the tragedy too close to home for him to be forgiving.

    The great thing about this one is the twists in the final revelations… more than one twist, more than one revelation, so that Rickman continues to keep us – and Merrily guessing, and doesn’t fail to take us by surprise.

  7. Donna says:

    This is number 5 in the series and the characters are developing and growing. A lot has happened in the village of Ledwardine and its environs in the year or so since Rev Merrily Watkins arrived! It's the sort of place you may not want to move to, a bit like Midsomer!! In fact this series could probably be made into a TV series, although I hope they would do it justice, and some of the grisly scenes may not be ideal for daytime viewing!
    This book centres on a serial killer - but is he really, or is he just someone with an illness caused by his environment? Did he actually kill anyone?
    It all becomes clear right at the end of the book, and incidental characters who you may not really think much about, or wonder why they are there, come into their own at the end. They are all there for a reason it seems.
    There is a bit of artistic license in the fact that the murders are linked to an infamous real life serial killer who was convicted at around the time this book was written, and I guess this adds to making the story itself seem a bit more believable.
    I enjoyed his book once I sat down and got on with reading it, and I'm interested to see what Rev Watkins has to deal with next time!

  8. Jamie Collins says:

    This is the darkest of this series yet. It's about the aftermath, or maybe you'd say fallout, of a real-life English serial killer of the 1990's, Fred West. It’s a good book, notwithstanding some nonsense about people being allergic to electricity, but I'd have been content to go my whole life without knowing anything about West, serial killers not being one of my favorite topics to read about. Fictional ones are bad enough; this novel sometimes felt too much like a true crime book.

    The paranormal aspects are weaker here than in the last book. There is little more than a sense of the lingering evil spirit of West possibly infecting/possessing people and places.

    I continue to enjoy Rickman’s writing and his characters. I like Merrily, although she seems to be rather ineffectual as a priest, as an exorcist and as a mother. She rarely takes action - things happen to her and around her and despite of her. Her simple physical presence and her quiet, determined goodwill seem to be enough to soothe and impress people.

    I love the slow pacing of these stories, and I love the setting: small English towns close to the Welsh border which are making efforts to modernize and prosper that often clash with local traditions and sensibility.

  9. Julia says:

    The Lamp of the Wicked is a tremendously dark, creepy book, but it is also one of the shortest long books I've ever read. Each entry in Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series is excellent, and recommended. If you're looking for an absorbing, well-written, intelligent series with strong, believable characters, try Phil Rickman.

  10. ❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀ says:

    I'm giving this one two stars because of it's subject matter. I really had to push myself to finish it.

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