DEATH BY FICTION
Ashley R Lister
Kokoro Presss E-book Price £5.99
Trade Paperback £11.99
Released: 29th August 2010
Reviewer: Marcelle Perks
This devilishly clever murder mystery depicts the pandemonium that breaks out when a crime publisher is due to give a talk to the Manchester Mystery writer’s circle. Not only does he end up dead (presented on the table with a clean shot to the head) but the five aspiring crime writers must try to work out whodunit. One of them is guilty, but which one?
The multiple narrative (told from the point of view of a policeman, gangster, pensioner, psychopath and a femme fatale) presents very different perspectives and there’re plenty of twists in the tale. Lister’s skill is to present a tongue-in-cheek expose of the publishing industry and the lengths that aspiring writers will go to land a publishing contract. There’s sardonic discussion of such matters as a killer plot, back story and writer’s block and the irony that the only writer who lands the coveted book deal is the one who hasn’t actually written a crime novel.
The engine of the story moves at a furious pace, but each of the multiple narrators offers us a glimpse into their own personal reasons for wanting, and needing, the publishing contract. Although overall the book is a black comedy, Lister frequently reminds us of the dark places in the human heart. A cunning, resourceful narrative that will trip up any reader that tries to work out the murderer’s identity. Lister is a well-known writer of erotic fiction and his first crime novel shows him to be a master at his game.