(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 3/29.)
Paul has made a killing with a computer game he invented in a fit of pique at his dad, who thought he was wasting the advantages a privileged childhood had bought him. In the game, Killology, players score extra points for demonstrating creativity in the way they torture their victims. Feed them through a mincer feet first? Go up a level. Paul says the game is deeply moral because points are deducted if you look away from the screen while inflicting pain.
Alan is trying to overcome his own horror as he plots retribution on the man he holds responsible for murdering his son. But did he neglect his own duty, leaving his son unprotected and with no idea what it means to be a man? Then there is young Davey, raised in poverty by his mum. He is left negotiating his violent neighbourhood, where everyone turns a blind eye to the bullies who hold sway. “You can’t tell your mum the streets are full of psychos and it’s pure fluke you get home alive every night,” he reasons.