Sweet Fifteen

James Campbell

  • Bad Blood: A Family Murder by Richard Levine
    Hutchinson, 351 pp, £8.95, May 1983, ISBN 0 09 152360 5
  • The Glasgow Rape Case by Ross Harper and Arnot McWhinnie
    Hutchinson, 259 pp, £5.95, June 1983, ISBN 0 09 151731 1
  • Notes from a Waiting-Room by Alan Reeve
    Heretic Books, 203 pp, £3.50, May 1983, ISBN 0 946097 09 7

‘I couldn’t get in touch with my feelings,’ Marlene Olive remarked one day after it was all over. ‘Lots of times I thought my dad was still alive.’ This must be deemed a serious failure of perception on her part, since with Chuck Riley, her teenage boyfriend and co-star in the true story of Bad Blood, Marlene murdered her parents in an act of astounding brutality. ‘Spaced’ on LSD, Chuck embedded a hammer in Mrs Olive’s skull with such force that it required his full strength with both hands to remove it. Pumping four bullets into Mr Olive a minute later was charitable by comparison. Although she spent the next hour soothing, reassuring and sexually flattering Chuck, Marlene could not evade her unease. For months she had talked about killing her parents, plotted it, and finally bullied Chuck into striking the blows, only to find herself strangely unconvinced. As far as her mother was concerned, it was good riddance, but almost immediately she felt the death of her father as a genuine loss and wished him back. It is with morbid amusement that the reader finds her writing to Chuck complaining of loneliness a month after they were separated by confinement: ‘I have no family and no real friends.’

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