The Corpse Role by Keith Nixon – Review

9 05 2015


Keith Nixon is a writer’s writer. Reading his work is an absolute joy and always a lesson in how to take your writing to another level. The Corpse role is a grand addition to Nixon’s increasingly impressive, cross-genre back catalogue.

Tense, intriguing and pacey as a starved greyhound, Nixon’s latest offering, billed as a police-procedural, but really just a very, very good crime-thriller from my POV, is a showcase for the experience Nixon has gained from writing tirelessly and being a genre-hoor.

The narrative changes and time-shifts are lovely, skilful and effective, never gratuities or for effect, they propel the story. This is something only seasoned, passionate writers like Nixon accomplish.

Throughout the novel the reader is given very few clues about the narrator in the past, adding to the pull of the story and veiling the person’s identity throughout. Having said that, Nixon is not a ‘pull it out the rabbit hat’ guy. The clues are all there. Upon the reveal a second reading is demanded. This is true of very few stories, and comparable to The Sixth Sense in that regard, only much more intelligent and engaging.


Keith writes crime and historical fiction novels.

His crime novels are published by UK-based indie house Caffeine Nights. Keith’s highly regarded black comedy crime debut, The Fix, has already garnered much critical acclaim. In November 2014 Russian Roulette is to be published. The enigmatic, ex-KGB tramp, Konstantin Boryakov gets his own platform to cause trouble and mayhem again. The follow up to The Fix will be published in March 2015.

You can find Keith at Amazon US and UK

Twitter: @knntom
Facebook: Keithnixonauthor


Book Review-Life is Local by Des McAnulty

5 05 2015

Mark Wilson Books

It’s not often I finish one book from an author and delve straight into another ( the last time I did so was with Jonathan Mayberry’s wonderful Rot & Ruin books)’ but as I enjoyed Des’s Novella “STRAIGHT” so much, don’t mind risking being labelled a fanboy when the writing is this good, and had time on my hands I went in with hungry eyes (not the Patrck Swayze sort). .
Now I’m not suggesting that McAnulty is anywhere near as accomplished as Mayberry, but in formulating flawed, weak very human characters whom he allows to grow, fail and shine throughout the book, Des shares some of Mayberry’s skill.
Presenting us with complex (in other words true to life) characters whom we like, dislike, love, hate and pity; Des skillfully peels away at his characters, exposing unsuspected depths in each one. He gives each characters motives without judgement, merely explanation…

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Interview – Keith Nixon: Author of The Fix

5 05 2015

Mark Wilson Books

I reviewed Keith Nixon’s wonderful novel, The Fix a week or so and at the risk of becoming his own personal Cathy Bates, I invited Keith along for an interview:

What inspired you to write your first book?

Fundamentally I’ve always wanted to write, it’s one of my earliest memories. However in the case of The Fix I was made redundant in 2009, the run up to the event wasn’t the greatest of experiences. I’ve (perhaps!) included some of the people and extrapolated some of events that occurred during that time. So, a negative turned into a positive.

How did you come up with the title?

I’m awful at thinking up titles, I usually ask opinions of beta readers, which occurred this time around as well!

Are characters and plots based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

All of the characters are borrowed to a lesser…

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Strangers are Just Friends you Haven’t Killed Yet by Ryan Bracha – Review

5 05 2015

Mark Wilson Books

Strangers are Just Friends you Haven’t Killed Yet by Ryan Bracha is one hell of a book to review.

At some points this book had me frustrated, at others delighted. Ryan has a unique ‘voice’ and utilises the written words with bravery, imagination, originality and barely any regard for the conventional techniques for forming a compelling narrative, and it doesn’t half work for him.

Mixing narrative styles and using a variety of methods to show, rather than tell, Bracha picks away at the world he’s created, gradually exposing the reader to a piece at a time. Whilst Ryan’s book is not perfect, it meanders a bit too much for me at times and could do with a little editorial tightening up throughout, his enthusiasm, insightful characterisation and understanding of what motivates flawed people drives his story forward with force and pulls you into his world. And what a world it…

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Tomorrow’s Chip Paper by Ryan Bracha – Review

5 05 2015

Mark Wilson Books

Yet another Bracha book and yet more evidence that this is a writer to watch. Ryan is a perfect example of why the indie-publishing route is so valuable. A writer like Ryan needs time to experiment, express themselves and to develop. Traditionally, in the world of publishing (essentially the music biz with posh accents) predominantly only those projects deemed commercial or marketable rather than genuinely quality stories are given a whirl in the machine, with this sort of development time rarely being offered.

In Ryan’s debut, Strangers are Friends you haven’t killed yet, we saw a fearless and enthusiastic Bracha, publicly popping his writing cherry, making mistakes, taking chances and ultimately producing a flawed but utterly brilliant novel which whilst in need of a tighter flow, demonstrated creativity and characterisation of the sort that makes other writers up their game in response.

With Tomorrow’s Chip Paper, Bracha has become a…

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Bowling Ball by Escobar Walker – Review

5 05 2015

Mark Wilson Books

Disappointing use of obvious talent

I wanted to like this book, I really did. Escobar Walker is a very, very good writer with a massive talent for observation and for conveying those characteristic traits of people that make them so individual and entertaining. This is the kind of skill that has given people like Billy Connolly a long career and makes for a potentially great writer. Unfortunately Walker isn’t making the best of his considerable writing skill or his capacity for characterisation and cutting humour.

For me, Bowling Ball was one long exercise in relaying as many Scottish clichés as possible in 90,000 words. All the main characters speak with one voice, in that they’re almost indiscernible from each other, blending in to one long narrative throughout the book. To identify each character Walker uses the phrase “my cousin’s flatmate”, or a version of it dozens of times throughout, which…

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Wee Rockets by Gerard Brennan – Review

5 05 2015

Mark Wilson Books

The product description for Wee Rockets put me off reading the book for several months. “Does for Belfast what Irvine Welsh did for Edinburgh.”

For me, this wasn’t a great endorsement and puts Brennan’s book into a category of book in one’s mind that it simply doesn’t merit being in.

Welsh is skilled in putting detestable people in crass and darkly humorous situations and making you cringe and laugh at their exploits, the whole while knowing that you’re sharing in their badness, just a little merely by laughing.

Scottish and Irish fiction is littered with stereotypic, ‘wee Ned’ characters, shoved in front of the readers or viewers to be sneered at from middle-class living rooms.

The worst as a heavy-handed scum-monger, Irvine Welsh managed one sympathetic novel in his masterpiece Glue, in which he fleshes out some real and sympathetic characters. It took Welsh four books to achieve this kind…

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