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.
Where to begin. I will read anything and everything as long as the theme is some what disturbing – yeah ok I know that might make me kinda weird but I know what I like – and after reading the synopsis of Literary Stalker, a disturbed read is what I thought I’d get. Let me tell you, Roger didn’t disappoint in that regard at all.
Basically we follow Nick as he tries to write his great masterpiece, with an unsupportive partner and thoughts of revenge on a certain few, we are with him as this latest (& he hopes the best) work is written.
The novel Nick is writing, The Facebook Murders, is about an author, Jago, who is planning on killing his critics and using that experience to plot his own novel. Hats off to Roger for writing a novel, within a novel, how he kept things straight in his head is beyond me, man Roger has some skill. Saying that, I was confused on occasion as I found I had to re-read bits to check whether the killings were fictional or actual but to be honest by that point I didn’t care. As the story unfolds the lines get a bit blurry between what is real and what is fictional, what crimes are real and what are simply writer ideas. I’m not even sure whether the police, who get involved later, are real or not.
The use of social media and the way Roger uses Facebook really made me think. So many times I’ve ‘stalked’ folk I admire, folk I think are a bit odd, even folk that I really can’t stand but need to know whats happening in their online world LOL. So far I’ve managed to hold back from saying anything horrible to anyone, or commenting on a post with out thought but I can see how easy it may be to fall down that rabbit hole. I can also see how other peoples comments or reactions can be taken the wrong or even right way, and then how that could open a whole new can of worms. Literary Stalker is one of the few books that has kept me thinking after I put it down, so well done Roger, you got me.
On the whole fellow authors should give this book a go, it will make you think and possibly reassess how you interact with fans and fellow authors. Saying that anyone can read this, it may make you think before you interact in a negative way online and that has to be good thing. Yes it is confusing in parts, but the confusion is so worth the pay off.
Roger Keen was born in London and attended art colleges in Plymouth and Bournemouth before pursuing a career in television. He began publishing fiction and non-fiction in the 1990s, specializing in noir short stories and articles and reviews concerning genre film and literature. He has a particular interest in the Surrealists, the Beat writers, 1960s psychedelia, cyberpunk and weird cinema.
Roger’s short stories have appeared in magazines such as Psychotrope, Threads, Sierra Heaven and Flickers ’n’ Frames; and his non-fiction has appeared in anthologies and magazines including Out of the Shadows, the PsypressUK Journal, Critical Wave, Writer’s Monthly and The Third Alternative. He also contributes to websites such as Reality Sandwich, The Digital Fix, The Oak Tree Review, Infinity Plus and The Zone.
Roger’s counterculture memoir The Mad Artist: Psychonautic Adventures in the 1970s was published in 2010. It is both an odyssey of druggy excess, in the tradition of Fear and loathing in Las Vegas, and a piece of experimental ‘reality fiction’, exploring the interface between autobiography, fiction and metafiction. The recently published Literary Stalker takes these elements further within the framework of a psychological horror/crime novel. Roger is currently doing research for a book on weird cinema, and when not writing he makes short films and likes mountain walking and skiing.
Try some of your own stalking here, I’m sure Roger will be nice about it.