Title: Literary Stalker by Roger Keen.
Publisher: Darkness Visible.
Genres: Horror, Mystery/Thriller, Psychological, LBGTQ
Published: 17th September 2017
If you value your life, don’t dare to suggest to Nick Chatterton that he’s not a good writer!
Nick is embarking on his latest crime/horror novel – a pastiche of the Vincent Price movie Theatre of Blood – where Nick draws up a hit list of his enemies within the writing world and gets his narrator to dispatch them according to the plots of classic crime and horror movies, such as Reservoir Dogs.
Top of the list is a writer who is both a superstar of the horror genre and who in Nick’s reckoning has wronged him the most. Nick first met Hugh Canford-Eversleigh at a reading more than a decade ago and fell madly in love with him, interpreting their encounter as the start of a magnificent affair. Nick’s feelings soon expanded into full-blown obsession, and he stalked Hugh, believing his love would eventually be returned. Nick was repeatedly rebuffed, much to his anger, but it was years later that his rage reached murderous proportions, due to an unexpected and outlandish twist of fate.
Now through his novel, The Facebook Murders, Nick is settling all his old scores, blurring the lines between autobiography and fiction – and with his obsessions reaching fever pitch, blurring the lines between writing about nasty stuff and doing nasty stuff for real.
Set within the milieu of British horror, fantasy and sci-fi writing, Roger’s new novel continues with the metafictional experiments of The Mad Artist – involving self-begetting and nested narratives looping and interfacing. As a horror/crime piece with liberal amounts of violence and multifarious nods to simpatico novels and movies, it plays with ideas of genre, and in the traditional of metafiction, it’s very ‘nudge-wink’, tongue-in-cheek and blackly comic.
“Literary Stalker works wonderfully as a genre thriller with a delightfully absurd comic edge…a clever piece of genre writing, self-aware and self-critical, but uncompromisingly entertaining. If there are any criticisms to be made about the novel, it would take a braver reviewer than me willing to risk pointing them out to the author.” – Noel Megahey, The Digital Fix, Geek Life
Here is some more info about how Roger came to write Literary Stalker in this blog piece: https://musingsofthemadartist.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/literary-stalker-a-novel-by-roger-keen/
Here are links to two recent interviews which contain other angles:
Nick Chatterton is an unemployed wannabe writer. He’s trapped in a loveless relationship with a flamboyant hairdresser called Robin who is constantly putting him down especially when it comes to his writing career or lack of it. His only retreat is his new book, The Facebook Murders, where he settles old scores with other writers who’ve wronged him but as the book progresses Nick starts to blur the lines between fact and fiction…
Now as an unpublished writer myself, I kind of related to Nick, at the beginning anyway, that sense of why isn’t my work out there on the bestseller lists? Whereas I know my writing needs work, Nick doesn’t and believes a great number of people have conspired against him to make sure he’s never going to become a bestseller. He decides to enact his revenge using classic movie murders as a blueprint. As the story goes along, jumping from past to present, you see his obsessive nature really coming out.
The story is written in the first person and you really get inside Nick’s head and see his warped logic up close and personal which I loved. His is such a lifelike character too, I could almost hear his voice in my head as I was reading it. He’s very pedantic, often giving a little too much information and using long words to show how clever he is. I didn’t think my vocabulary was too bad until I read this book, but I was so glad my Kindle has a dictionary feature otherwise I would have spent half my time Googling words!
There’s lots of horror/pop culture references in the story too, notably the Theatre Of Blood, an old Vincent Price movie, which I have never seen. I have to be honest there was quite a few things that went over my head and unless you are a movie/horror buff you probably won’t get either but I wouldn’t let that put you off.
I also did find the story a little confusing at times, especially as Nick was writing his own book within this book, with bits of his character, Jago Farrar’s, story was interspersed throughout.
This was genuinely one of those books I’m not sure how I feel about now that I’ve finished it, but it has really stuck in my mind. It’s not exactly a page turner but it was engrossing enough to keep me reading until the end.
The best way I can describe this book? Memorable.
Author Bio:Roger Keen was born in London and attended Plymouth College of Art & Design and Bournemouth & Poole College of Art & Design, studying fine art, photography and film. Since then he has worked extensively in television, contributing to many award-winning dramas, documentaries and children’s programmes for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. His programmes have won Royal Television Society, Worldfest-Houston and other awards.
He began publishing fiction and non-fiction in the 1990s, specialising in dark short stories and articles and reviews concerning weird film and literature. He has a particular interest in the Surrealists, the Beat writers, cyberpunk and the psychedelic movement. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines including the PsypressUK Journal, Out of the Shadows,Critical Wave, Writer’s Monthly, Threadsand The Third Alternative. He also contributes to websites such as Reality Sandwich, The Oak Tree Review,The Digital Fix, Infinity Plusand The Zone.
In 2010 Roger published The Mad Artist: Psychonautic Adventures in the 1970s, a novelistic memoir concerning his life as an art student. Using nested narratives, it is a piece of experimental ‘reality fiction’, exploring the interface between autobiography, fiction and metafiction. The recently published metacrime novel Literary Stalkertakes these elements further in pure fictional form.
Darkness Visible Publishing – About Us
Darkness Visible is a newly formed publisher arising out of the collaboration of three friends with an interest in offbeat literary and genre fiction. Our first venture is the publication of Roger Keen’s metacrime thriller Literary Stalker, and we hope to expand by taking on other authors in due course.
The term ‘darkness visible’ comes from John Milton’s epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ (1667). It describes the nature of the flames of Hell, emitting not light but something else entirely. It was also used as a title for a 1979 novel by William Golding and a 1989 memoir by William Styron, concerning his struggles with deep depression.
We like the term because of its striking imagery and poetic resonance, and as a publisher imprint it covers a certain territory in writing. We are specialising in dark, edgy and transgressive fiction and non-fiction, which may lay outside or blur the conventional boundaries of literary categories and genres, and in doing so seeks new fusions and syntheses.