Special Report

Written by Irvin Welsh
Genre : Fiction, Crime
Published in December 2013
512 pages

FILTH, which means grubby or very dirty trash, is the name of a full-length novel written by Irvine Welsh. The book deals with the story of corrupt police officers in Scotland who are only interested in money and promotion.

Bruce Robertson, the main character of the book, makes an ambitious plan to get promoted by solving the murder case of a black student. In the process, he comes to learn the fact that there are other police officers who also want to be promoted by solving the case. He does unethical things like making mischief between his co-workers for his own success. For example, Bruce Robertson does not think twice about telling lies to his co-workers. Bruce makes his co-workers hate each other by lying to them. For example, Bruce lies to his coworkers Ray Lennox and Bunty Blades individually that they hate each other and each want to be an office supervisor, so they check each other out. He also lies to all of his coworkers that their colleague Peter Inglis is gay. After that, Peter becomes an outcast.

Bruce openly shows his sexual desire and greed and does not hesitate to show his dislike of certain people, effectively shown from first-person perspective. People of color (Blacks and Asians), gays, and women are his targets, always ridiculing people of color and gays and crudely expressing his lust for women. Vilifications are also very commonly used. These special features cause plenty of controversy. Nevertheless Filth became a best-selling book and was also made into a movie of the same name. Until the middle of the novel, it’s true that readers have some negative feelings about Bruce’s erroneous values and reject him as a hero. However, later in the story his unfortunate background and unhappy childhood emerge, revealing the truth that he was also just a victim.

A very unique and interesting aspect of the story is that a parasite which lives in Bruce’s body unveils the host’s hidden story. The parasite initially struggled not to be removed from Bruce’s body, and finally, it dominated Bruce’s consciousness. The parasite makes Robertson think incorrectly and disrupts his mind. Also at the end of the novel, there is a shocking twist about the black student murder case that is exposed too. Readers will be surprised after finding out who the real murderer is.

Because it has some controversial factors, readers must be prepared to be offended. Readers who haven’t established strong values yet may accept Bruce Robertson’s poor values easily. Despite the controversial aspects of this book, it is interesting and worth the time to read it.