Kill Your Friends By John Niven Review!


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Kill Your Friends (2008) by John Niven is a very original read.

The book follows ambitious record producer Steven Stelfox. Stelfox is probably one of the most dislikable characters you could find in fiction and this book is very cleverly told from this complex character’s POV. The story takes place in the late nineties and 27-year-old Stelfox is chasing the money while pretending to be interested in the creative process. So far probably an authentic portrayal of many successful record producers (not all thankfully!) but there is even darker elements to Stelfox’s character such as murderous desires, a love of destroying people and countless prejudices. All round he’s just not a very nice guy and the type of person one loves to avoid in real life. But Stelfox is also charming and charismatic and all of this combined is a very dangerous combination. Be warned, do not look for any redeeming features in his character. They aren’t there. In short he is a sociopath. But told from his POV creates some very fresh, original writing. There is great satire in this book. Ultimately it is a well-written satire of people like Stelfox.

 

It is a well-written account of the darker side of the music industry too. Niven writes the concept of many artists filtering in and out of the business and their dreams falling to pieces. How Stelfox and co promise them the world only to forget all about them and consequently they returning to everyday life disillusioned and still dreaming about and regretting what never was. The detached way which Niven writes the responses, both inner and outer, from Stelfox and other industry big shots is spot-on of a ruthless and cold response that exists in the music business and in business in general. It was good to see this side being explored as opposed to the fluffy ‘I’ll make you a star’ and ‘Now you are a star’ storyline which is played out a lot. Niven doesn’t sweep this murkier side under the carpet which kudos to him for not doing. Nor does he sweep under the carpet the even murkier element of record producers using their power to gain sexual favours from the artists and those in awe of the business so double kudos to him for that.

 

This book definitely is like American Psycho which I haven’t read in full as of yet but I read a bit of it and it definitely reminded me of it. It’s an obvious comparison but it’s a true one so if you like that book, you will like this one most likely. My favourite character in this book was Parker-Hall. Sure he was business-orientated but you got the impression he was a decent guy and that his decentness was part of why he was so successful. He was everything Stelfox would do better in the business being but wasn’t. Stelfox’s jealousy, cruelty and ruthlessness go to extremes with Parker-Hall and I found that part very sad and hard to read. But at the same time very realistic.

 

It’s not the easiest read in the world and you will definitely want to read something more jolly or at least something with a more likable main character after but it is certainly worth a read. It’s very different from a lot of books and is very well done and well researched by the writer.

 

To purchase Kill Your Friends by John Niven go to:

 

 

And for more information about John Niven and his work go to:

https://www.amazon.com/John-Niven/e/B001JSC30W

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Jamaica Inn By Daphne du Maurier Review!

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Jamaica Inn (1936) by Daphne du Maurier is a wonderful classic Gothic novel set in the 1820s in Cornwall.

The story follows protagonist Mary Yellan who sets out for Jamaica Inn to live with her Aunt Patience and her husband Joss Merlyn. It was her mother’s wishes before her death that Mary would go and stay with them but what lies ahead at Jamaica Inn ensures that this story is top class compelling. Soon a story of coming-of-age and setting out in the world to find your place becomes a tale of murder mystery and psychological drama. This is the first book by du Maurier which I have read and her writing style is simply gorgeous. There is a great balance she strikes between giving you all the descriptions you need to keep you engrossed in this story without overdoing it. Her portrayals of the characters and the internal workings of their minds adds a lot of spice and intrigue to the piece – and also sends the reader into many roundabouts which is always great in a mystery story.

 

Alongside the character portrayals, Jamaica Inn itself is a character in it’s own right. It sets the scene perfectly for a foreboding gloom to hang over so many aspects of the story. So many people are scared of Jamaica Inn and rarely – if ever with the exception of Mary – visit it unless they are usually up to no good. Or that is the image which is painted in any case. This adds to the overall intrigue in the setting. Mary’s relationship with Joss Merlyn is also a major element of this story. He is very mentally abusive towards Aunt Patience and Mary decides it is her duty to look after her aunt who has become a shadow of her previous self. The ongoing clashes between Mary and Joss are extremely well-written and leave the reader wondering where their confrontations will lead.

 

But there is an element of this book which shows that sometimes not everything is as it seems and without giving too much away du Maurier wrote this element to perfection like all mystery writers worth their salt. I was very fond of Mary. She is a very strong and determined woman who in many ways was very much ahead of her time. On the downside though she had a trusting nature which by itself is great but it was a trusting nature that bordered on too trusting. And her judgments often seemed to be made on who she liked as a person more than the facts in the case. This was a very clever character trait for du Maurier to put as one of Mary’s qualities however because she could use it to supply red herrings for the readers.

 

I loved it and it is a definite must-read.

 

To download your free copy of Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier go to:

https://epdf.tips/jamaica-inn2758bc700366e22385ec258483a9cf2149941.html

And for more information about Daphne du Maurier and her work go to:

http://www.dumaurier.org/

Friday Fictioneers: Yellow & Blue

 

 

 

Yellow & Blue

 

She had dreams to get out of this small town, make waves literally in the world. Those yellow and blue flags at the leisure centre always lifted her spirits when energy was low or she felt insecure. She turned the light off and walked to the bus stop. Her head full of the future, tired of the present.

On the bus she looked at the tattoo of a tiny yellow and blue flag on her wrist. She imaged standing on the podium with the Ukrainian flag flying as the anthem played.

Someday I will finally make my parents proud.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/so

Friday Fictioneers: Get Away From It All

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

 

Get Away From It All

 

Dave liked to get away from it all. Let the smoke inhale, exhale. Releasing the tension. A place to gather his thoughts after a long day at work …

Working for the big man, part of the corporate chain.

How that smug sonofabitch looked down on me each day. With his big suit, his college education from of the big yolks, all that money behind him from Mummy and Daddy …

Today Dave had been fired. Consequently smashed his boss’ head into the table till he was no longer breathing. Dave took another pull on his cigarette, planned his escape from town.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/so

Friday Fictioneers: Help

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help

 

I wasn’t sure if I knew the difference between a Church and a Synagogue. Whether that was the cold and hunger or my ignorance I couldn’t say. The people looked after me when I came from the streets. I later found out they were Jews. I respect that one hundred per cent, they were people first. They found a lost soul and said ‘I’m here for you’.

 

They didn’t know I was a child murderer on the run but I know their response would have been the same. Help the person and ask questions later. Because this person might die.

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/so

 

 

(This was a difficult story to write because if anyone knows me, they know that I am a massive supporter of justice and fairness so I went back and forth on what I felt the response to this person should be but I, like a lot of people can’t  leave a person to die or be without food because of anything they did. I suppose that says more about me than them. But the death penalty has been an issue I have struggled to form an opinion on (unlike most issues which I have formed opinions on in seconds) and this story has helped me realise I can’t be in favour of anyone being killed or physically hurt. I wouldn’t judge someone for thinking he, it is a he in my background story though there is many she and they with the same evil, should not be helped in any way. I’m more one side now since exploring my thoughts on this issue but I’m more borderline than some people so I completely understand if readers feel he shouldn’t be helped because there is a slight part of me that thinks the same. Want to point out that the people in the story don’t know his past and if I did, I would point the police in his direction but I would give him a sandwich first. 1 million percent I would disagree with what my character done but I’m not him. I have a conscience and I questioned myself in the writing of the piece and I couldn’t leave him in pain though I would love to have.

Sorry for the long-winded explanation. Love you all. Thanks for reading. (Both the story & the aftermath, god I sure ramble.) xx

 

 

Friday Fictioneers: A Place To Get Lost In

 

 

 

 

A Place To Get Lost In

 

He watched through the crack. The morning was just turning to afternoon on the beach. A perfect view of a gorgeous tourist spot. All blue sky and sea. A place one could get lost in their thoughts, unwind, not notice anyone or anything …

Like that random bloke last night sitting on the beach, cigarette in hand, earphones in. His first practice for his serial killer future. He never met the bloke before. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time noticing no one …

Happy that bloke’s body didn’t rise to the surface, the future serial killer walked away.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/

Friday Fictioneers: Plans

 

 

 

 

Plans

 

Writing was like her footsteps in the snow. You make your mark, they disappear, someone else makes their marks behind you. Erasing yours, showing life as it is now.

 

That was why on that cold night as she walked from the pub, she wondered why she had been so scared to say what she felt. To create stories of real life. Not safe. To leave the bubble of her own existence and be a writer. True writers wrote about everyone and everything, didn’t they?

 

That was plan until she walked out in front of that car. And died at the scene.

 

My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:

 

For Friday Fictioneers Writing Prompt. Check out the website at:

https://rochellewisoff.com/