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The Seven Days of Peter Crumb
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The Seven Days of Peter Crumb

4.5 4
by Jonny Glynn

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Intelligent, wry, and seriously twisted, Peter Crumb is a man who suffers two personalities, only one of which is capable of remorse. His life has been derailed by a single, devastating act of violence, and now, in what he intends to be his last week on earth, he is determined to leave his mark upon humanity—randomly, unjustly, with infinite attention to


Intelligent, wry, and seriously twisted, Peter Crumb is a man who suffers two personalities, only one of which is capable of remorse. His life has been derailed by a single, devastating act of violence, and now, in what he intends to be his last week on earth, he is determined to leave his mark upon humanity—randomly, unjustly, with infinite attention to detail. Allowing the morning's newspaper headlines to loosely dictate his actions, Crumb sets out on a weeklong descent into hell, determined to drag as many as possible into the darkness along with him.

Gritty, dazzling, and profoundly disturbing, Jonny Glynn's The Seven Days of Peter Crumb is an extraordinary debut that portrays the deterioration of a severely splintered soul.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“The Seven Days of Peter Crumb, a chronicle of the final week in a psychopath’s life by the British actor and writer Jonny Glynn, is gruesome, obscene and utterly disturbing. It is also absorbing and well written....I was transfixed.”
Dazed & Confused (UK)
“The devil in Glynn’s details begs to be read.”
Metro London
“Savage, stylish...beautifully designed.”
Publishers Weekly

Like a terse American Psycho, this first novel from British writer and actor Glynn suffers from familiarity even as the voice of the narrator, Peter Crumb, fascinates. Believing he will kill himself in a week, Crumb decides to succumb to his id and do whatever he pleases-and killing people is near the top of his list, along with making witty social observations. His particular mental illnessrequires him to have conversations with a crueler version of himself while butchering London neighbors, misusing prostitutes and making the Marquis de Sade's most ferocious work look like part of the Nancy Drew series. Crumb's monumental appetite for carnage and self-examination drives what there is of a plot. While the reader definitely believes in Crumb, the problem is that in an age of reality shows and slasher movies even the worst degradations have lost their power to shock. Glynn's visceral prose convinces, but the sell-by date on this novel passed long ago. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Despite its allusions to Christian duality, Dostoevsky and existential morality, this debut novel depends more on shock value than literary value for its appeal. Peter Crumb is a very bad man. Or perhaps a good man or a man with good intentions, but with a bad man living inside him, wrestling for his soul. Crumb converses with the bad man and generally follows his orders, one of which is that he must write everything down to compose what is apparently this book. Another of which is that Crumb must die at the end of seven days. British writer-actor Glynn constructs the novel in the form of a daily diary, one in which newspaper headlines either reflect Crumb's unspeakable violence or spark it. "In seven days I will be dead, but for seven days I will be free. Free to realize my potential as a human being, as a man, in whatever wonderful or dreadful a way that that might be," the bad Crumb informs the good Crumb. Yet it's the good Crumb who embarks on a senseless spree of serial murders, and who occasionally experiences the sort of guilt that the bad Crumb never would. Since there's little suspense once the reader (whom Crumb occasionally addresses) realizes that at least one of the Crumbs is a cold-blooded killer who murders strangers without motivation in the most gruesome ways imaginable, the devil of the plot is in the details. Whom will he kill? Whom will he spare? How will he torture his prey? And what has made Peter Crumb the way he is? The answer to the last lies in an episode less convincing than the violence, in which Crumb returns to his former wife, a woman who somehow forgives him for a crime so vile, and so senseless, that he can never forgive himself. Did he even commit thatcrime? Will something redeem him before the week is up?Not for the squeamish.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
P. S. Series
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Seven Days of Peter Crumb
A Novel

Chapter One


Write it down, he said—every dirty word, he said—the truth of it—the awful evil truth of it.

I woke in a shocking condition. My body livid with dehydration. My mind exquisitely deranged. That numb ache and the awful prospect, another day . . .

Straight away I could feel him, on me, and in me, that damp and familiar presence, disjoining through me, wringing me out, twisting the tired stiffened ends of me apart, distending his limbs long through mine, acknowledging cognizance, and yawning.

'Good morning,' he drooled. A tired wet slur of lazy vowels and sneering bonhomie . . . His breath was of the kidney, it is always of the kidney.

I ignored him, kicked at my slippers and shuffled off into the kitchen. He followed me, whistling. I recognized the tune immediately. It was a tune my father used to whistle. A cheery, seven-dwarfs-off-to-work sort of whistle. Quite terrifying. I filled the kettle and smelt the milk.

'Breakfast,' he said, pulling up a chair and joining uninvited, 'will be neither English nor Continental. Just two slices of stale brown bread—lightly toasted, smeared with rancid unsalted yellow fat and topped with cheap gollywog preserve.'

It was as if he was trying to impress me. I paid him no mind, lit a cigarette and sat perfectly still, my eyes fixed staring at the shadow between the edge of the table and the wall. I held my gaze unblinking until the kettle reached its climax. It almost had him fooled, for a moment I felt normal and everyday, but it was no use, the cigarette had worked its magic,my guts were churning, and he knew it——

'I feel the pinch,' he cried, 'and am ready to shit.'

I bolted for the toilet, my bowels voiding. Grade 7 on the Bristol, I'm afraid to say—'sloppy, no solid pieces', just a cloudy smattering of unctuous yellow viscidity, spat out of my arse all over the bowl, quite disgusting. The vile fetid stink of faecal waste was all about me, inside and out—I was gagging. 'Christ,' he said, 'I can taste it.' And he wasn't joking. I then found I had no toilet tissue. 'Bloody marvellous,' he said. I didn't panic, I kept a straight face and played the Hindu. I squatted in the bathtub, ran my arse under the tap and used my left hand. All in all it was quite refreshing. Afterwards, as I was drying off, I caught sight of him in the mirror, watching me . . . Shifty and venal, guilty and afraid . . . I looked away, ashamed.

My skin is green. I smell of mould. The scab on my ankle is weeping . . . What would Mother say? Clean your teeth.

'My toothpaste,' he said, picking it up and squeezing out a pea-sized blob, 'is herbal. Camomile, sage, eucalyptus and myrrh. It combines the oral-care science of Colgate with nature's best herbs and claims to protect the whole family.'

From what? I thought.

'The contempt these people hold you in,' he said. 'Doesn't it rile? Implicit in their claim to protect the whole family is the notion that your family is in danger.' And then he looked at me, brought his face close to mine and whispered—warning me, he whispered, 'Do not swallow.'

I sluiced with warm water. He doesn't like cold, it hurts his teeth.

In my jacket, as I was getting dressed, I found an old photograph of Emma. A twisted scrap of recollection, forgotten in a pocket. A girl on a beach with a bucket and spade, four years old, sticky beneath the sunshine, blushing ice-cream smiles. A mummy and daddy. Happy and whole. And unembarrassed. To think that was once my life . . . She'd be fourteen on the 28th of April.

My eyes were misting, my throat lumping, emotions mobilizing, and he was on me, snatching the photograph from my fingers. 'I don't forget,' he said. 'I'm very good at memory.' And then he tore the picture into tiny pieces and scattered them all over the carpet and barked, 'Remember that? Remember that?' . . . I do remember that. It left me shaking . . . The long arm was east, the short arm west . . . He went and stood in the corridor and made that munching noise, and then watched the cleaning lady through the spyhole in the front door. She comes once a month and pushes a hoover around the communal parts and gives it all a bit of a tidy. I don't know her name—I've never actually spoken to her—but I think she may be foreign. She has the gormless dewy-eyed look of an Eastern European about her, but he thinks she may be a Cockney—I'm not so sure. He said he could smell her and that she smelt cheap. He said she had a sour little mouth, pinched tight shut like a cat's arse. And then he put his hand in my pocket and tweaked the end of my penis. He said there was something about her guttersnipe demeanour that he found profoundly arousing. He said he imagined her to be an accomplished sexualist, exhaustively perverse in the bedroom, a cider-drinking reader's wife that knows no shame—a real dirty banger, he said —yes, he said, fiddling his fingers in my pocket, pinching the end of me. Sex among the common classes is so of itself, so sui generis—their uncles break them in at an early age and then they're at it every day after. She's probably seen more cock than the public lavatories in King's Cross station . . . And then he said I should rape her . . . He said she'd love it, that that kind of thing would be sport to a girl like her . . . He said that Nietzsche—or it might have been Oscar Wilde, or James Bond— once said, 'A woman hath no greater love, than that she hath for the first man that raped her.'

The Seven Days of Peter Crumb
A Novel
. Copyright � by Jonny Glynn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. <%END%>

Meet the Author

Jonny Glynn is a British writer and actor who has written for the stage and the screen, and has performed in dozens of plays, including the Royal Shakespeare Company's yearlong complete works of Shakespeare program. This is his first book.

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4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
I feel kind of sick and demented for actually enjoying this book. But I did. Enjoy it. Well....enjoy isn't really the word. I was more horrified while reading this. Peter Crumb, serious schizophrenic, plans on dying in seven days. He spends these last days acting out some of the most sick and twisted scenarios on complete strangers. He murders, rapes and does things I'm not even going to mention here. But this creepy little book is strangely alluring. I kept reading just to see what Peter Crumb was going to do next and how it all was going to end. If you enjoy stories like American Psycho, then you'll appreciate this debut from Jonny Glynn. If you want to get inside the head of a murdering madman on a downward spiral....this is the book for you. If not...then I recommend you stay far far away from The Seven Days of Peter Crumb. "Gritty, dazzling, and profoundly disturbing, Jonny Glynn's The Seven Days of Peter Crumb is an extraordinary debut that portrays the deterioration of a severely splintered soul." -from synopsis
TimLB More than 1 year ago
For some reason this book caught my eye one day. I picked it up and read the back.

The concept sounded interesting enough: a schizophrenic man named Peter Crumb uses newspaper headlines to decide what he does in his final week alive.

It's such a bizarre, grotesque story. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it helps to keep you interested and wondering to the very end. I recommend this book to anybody that isn't too sensitive to offensive material. Sit back, relax, and take a trip into the mind of a madman.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In London Peter Crumb has recently begun listening to the other voice¿s recommendations. The conversations between Peter and the other Peter center on whether to rape and murder his neighbors. The other Peter insists he will be dead in a week anyway so forget the societal dictates of thou shall not kill and just have fun doing whatever you want to do. Peter begins brutally killing his neighbors and raping prostitutes. As he completes one act, his voice tells him to do another. He begins to self analyze the two Peters and realizes that one is amoral while the other feels guilt but is cowardly. The amoral Peter continues to rule as THE SEVEN DAYS OF PETER CRUMB comes closer to ending at least in one of his egos with much of London in shock by the viciousness of a new serial killer rapist. --- Readers will find the debate and discussions between the two Peters fascinating in a macabre way similar to gawking at a car accident. His multiple personality disorder contains a remorseful but weak Peter and an amoral strong Peter who wins every argument as one kill leads to another. Even more interesting is how numb the audience feels towards the duel Peters graphically describing his methodology employed in his kills in the three decades since John Carpenter directed Halloween. --- Harriet Klausner