Your mission is to get the gun

Theo Tait

  • You Could Do Something Amazing with Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat] by Andrew Hankinson
    Scribe, 204 pp, £12.99, February 2016, ISBN 978 1 922247 91 9

When Truman Capote was looking for a news story to turn into what he called a ‘non-fiction novel’, he was initially concerned that such an event might date very quickly, that it might not have the ‘timeless quality’ he was looking for. Eventually, he settled on the killing of a farming family in Kansas, telling himself that ‘the human heart being what it is, murder was a theme not likely to darken and yellow with time.’ Since In Cold Blood, murderers have been a staple of the non-fiction novel, from Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song to Gordon Burn’s horribly fascinating books about Peter Sutcliffe and Fred and Rosemary West. Andrew Hankinson’s new book dramatises the last days of Raoul Moat, the Newcastle bouncer and bodybuilder who in July 2010 shot his former partner, Samantha Stobbart, her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, and a traffic policeman, David Rathband, setting in motion a massive manhunt. You Could Do Something Amazing with Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat] is written in the Capote tradition, and Hankinson mentions Gordon Burn in his acknowledgments.

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