Swansea Terminal

Swansea Terminal
Genre : Fiction
Published : 4 Sep 2007 - Serpent's Tail
Robin Llewellyn is a washed-up private investigator with a mistake-ridden past, a wretched present, and a terrifying future. Unemployed, homeless and spending every penny he can find on alcohol, things can’t get much worse.

Apart from his “personal interest job” – watching a young man from his past – Llewellyn’s biggest challenges are getting served in pubs and finding places to pass out in at night. But his life is about to grow complicated when he cheats some drinking money out of Becca Blethyn, a deluded young woman with a fantasy fiancé. Becca’s vicious brothers extract repayment by forcibly dragging Llewellyn into their smuggling and tax avoidance business and set him up as the front man, the unwitting patsy.

But Llewellyn doesn’t give up. He hatches his own plot to double-cross his tormentors. Will he succeed, or will he be dragged under even further? Robert Lewis’s hugely impressive second novel explores what happens when someone has hit rock bottom and has absolutely nothing left to lose.


Dark, bleak, sordid, sinister, and very, very funny... Wonderfully poignant, with the pathos fuelling the suspense, the bitter-sweet ending leaves one in some doubt as to whether our hero will manage to evade lung cancer, cirrhosis and mono-browed thugs for long enough to stagger through a third book, but I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed".

The Guardian

The Welsh writer Robert Lewis's splendid creation Robin Llewellyn is a private eye of unsurpassed disintegration. No home, no money, no love life to speak of, he's an unredeemable drunkard and has lung cancer. Out of that mess Lewis has crafted a cracker of a novel. In SWANSEA TERMINAL, Llewellyn's second appearance, he's hired to guard a warehouse of illicitly obtained alcohol; but plot is not the prime element. What counts is fizzy dialogue, superbly edgy writing and terrific humour.

The Times

A crime caper with echoes of Ealing comedy, shades of James Ellroy and even a touch of Samuel Beckett... This is a compelling concoction, laced with dark humour and strangely life affirming. Robin can't go on, but he does, and we go on rooting for him right to the very end.

The Independent

Detectives with drink problems are common but Llewellyn is the real deal... Lewis's coruscating analysis of underclass, underfoot, outcast Britain is uncomfortable and challenging

Financial Times

Those forced to suffer real alcoholics loathe books like this. Terminal drunks, they complain, are rarely functional enough to narrate wry Chandleresque novels which risk presenting the reality of slobbering incompetence as some sort of louchely charming alternative lifestyle. Robert Lewis compensates by balancing the dark wit of Llewellyn's narrative with the uncompromising abyss of his life and ruthless confiscation of his tiny remaining hopes.

The Telegraph

Lewis brings the damaged and seedy underbelly of the city to vicious and uncompromising light, in a tightly written novel that positively seethes with dark, dark humour.

Time Out

Superb second novel from Welsh crime writer Robert Lewis. This book is very much the real deal, a bleak, laconic and often rather touching piece of pulp fiction that really does live up to the tradition established by Chandler back in the forties. . . Lewis has proved himself as one of the few writers in any genre capable of writing convincingly about the loneliness of the dedicated drinker, creating along the way a rounded and believable character with a surprisingly moral outlook on life at the bottom of the heap. This is a book that goes way beyond the usual motion of the Private Eye novel to examine the dark underside of modern life; if his next few books maintain this standard Robert Lewis could become one of most original voices in modern British crime writing.

Shots Mag

Sad, darkly funny and quite, quite brilliant

Peter Guttridge

Lewis takes his reader on an edgy, twisted and blackly funny roller-coaster ride


A pungent case of alcohol noir for a poignant, down on his luck and sadly memorable Welsh detective with a singular affinity for the low-life.

Maxim Jakubowski

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