David L. Hayles's debut collection of short stories is an extraordinary, alarming excursion to a world populated by the suffering, the delusional and the criminally insane. It is a place where death comes unexpectedly and violently, at the hands of psychopaths, riflemen and cruel accident. These are tales of ingenious cruelty and sudden death in which menace and hilarity go hand in hand. But the twenty stories that make up The Suicide Kit, for all their freaks and grotesques, are imbued with a brilliant, brutal humour. 'The Typing Pool' features the tyrannical director of a detention camp, a man in search of a secretary, whose competitive dictation test ends, as planned, in the execution of all but one of the applicants. In 'Bones', an uxorious man, fearful of his habit of falling out of love, takes a tribal potion designed to bring blissful fidelity only to begin a strange descent into necrophilia whilst 'The Cruise' opens to us the diary of a bored wife on a cruise liner who inadvertently murders her husband.
Elsewhere, we meet a sadistic hotelier whose pleasure is the kidnapping of foreign arrivals at London's Victoria Coach Station, a homicidal corporal who wipes out his own platoon, the incredible Doctor Octor, the worst doctor on Harley Street, and Orson Beadle, travelling purveyor of sex toys, who finds within a fearsome pub a gaggle of willing male initiates. By turns surreal and provocative, The Suicide Kit is the fictional equivalent of a short ride in a fast machine.
Born in East Sussex in 1970, David L. Hayles studied film and theatre at London University. After a year in the Caribbean working as a cocktail waiter, he returned to London to study journalism before going on to work for MTV and the BBC, where he now works.