By Timothy Graves
Pharmakeia is the second book from author Timothy Graves, his first Homo Jihad was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. Published by Paradise Press, this novel takes the form of a thrilling and macabre tale, spun in amongst the subculture of 90s London.
It’s a heady mix of drugs, art, sex and Satanic practises. Mahvand, a young gay artist, spends much of his time creating his own comic books. He dreams of gaining some kind of recognition for his work, but acknowledgement for his talent feels frustratingly out of reach; that is until he collides with Belial (or Jean-Baptiste Lebeau-Chevalier) who, in a Faustian style manner, offers Mahvand all he ever dreamed of and more. The question is, what and how much is Mahvand willing to give up in order to fulfil his wildest fantasies?
Graves successfully conjures a distinct image of subcultural London, spanning across several vivid locations; from the Soho bookshop cum Sex Shop, to the quaint Essex suburbs, to Belial’s grand and gothic abode in North London – it’s fine imagery, carefully crafted, which adds to the rich tapestry of this novel. He also creates a delightful troupe of eccentric characters, including a cockney-rhyming gran, a high-brow conceptual artist and Candy Darling, the Geordie transsexual – owner of Soho Books.
Graves is a gripping storyteller, and the twists and turns that Pharmakeia takes are frequently unexpected, and are sure to knock you off your feet en route. It’s dark, alluring, sexy and difficult to put down, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
©Amie Taylor 2016