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Kill Your Friends: A Novel Paperback – December 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
With the record industry in turmoil, this thoroughly twisted roman a clef from a former A&R insider couldn't seem timelier. Set in 1997, this debut novel follows the loathsome and morally bankrupt 27-year-old Steven Stelfox as he curses, drinks and snorts his way through a cutthroat career. Crass and bitter, Steven despises everything that originally inspired him, and as the bills pile up from his various illicit habits and ventures, he tries in vain to find the "next big thing" so he can secure another bundle of money. Satirizing Big Music, the novel brims with self-evident truths--as Steven explains, he usually only hits one in every 10 acts, but even that allows him to do better than most. As Steven's arrogance precariously struggles against a healthy dose of paranoia, he faces his ultimate nightmare: he might actually have to sober up, do some work and break out a decent record by a decent act. This is not for the easily offended, but readers with at least a slightly deranged bent will have a ball. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This debut novel takes a withering look at the British music business in the late 1990s, during the hedonistic last gasp of a dying industry. Steven Stelfox is an A & R man with a major label who is desperately searching for his next hit—when he isn’t inhaling Bloody Marys, doing massive quantities of cocaine, or watching porn. He’s all but given up on the angry black rapper Rage, who is working on his “concept” album; instead, he’s focused on a group of Spice Girls wannabes, “the worst sort of sink-estate, single-mother, benefit-fraud trash imaginable.” And their music? “The biggest insult to humanity since a roomful of Nazis first cooed over the blueprints for Auschwitz.” Contemptuous of musicians, the public, and, most of all, any colleagues who show signs of working hard, Steven prepares to save himself with a murderously ambitious plan to be named the head of A & R. Niven, who spent 10 years working in the music industry, uses his insider knowledge and a racist, misogynistic lead character to produce a very dark, viciously funny novel. --Joanne Wilkinson
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This is a compliment by the way.
I loved this book
Now if I told you that you were going to read a novel centered on such a character, you might expect it to be a horror novel, or a thriller, maybe a mystery or police procedural. You would probably not expect that it would be the funniest thing you've read in years.
I will caution you here: if you don't think humor can possibly mix with buckets of blood, vomit, urine, feces and semen, or if you couldn't possibly laugh where there is blatant bigotry, or if wretched excess offends you to the point where you lose your sense of humor, this might not be the book for you.
If, however, you're possessed of a strong stomach and aren't easily offended, you're in for a treat.
Taking a look into the life of what has been recently coined a Professional Sociopath; the protagonist of this book is the most extreme of this phenomenon. With a – shall we say – different sense of right and wrong, this book takes the reader on the professional progression of a music marketing agent.
However be aware, if black comedy offends or is not your cup-of-tea, this book will not appeal. So then do what my partner did and read it like a thriller. John Niven taps brilliantly into mind of a sociopath and with his understanding of the music industry this book leaves you worrying about going into the office on Monday.