In 2008, John Niven published Kill Your Friends, a novel set in the Britpop era of 1997, which introduced scabrous music business executive Steven Stelfox. Now he’s back in this new work, set twenty years after its predecessor. Stelfox is now basically retired, rich beyond his wildest dreams, and works only when the mood takes him. A phone call from an old friend, now head of a major US label, calls him once more into action – their lead artist, once the world’s biggest pop star but now a drug addict and sexual predator, is millions of dollars in the red and only a huge comeback world tour can balance the books. Alas, he’s in no shape to carry this out, and the situation becomes critical when the parents of one of his ‘special friends’ begin blackmailing him. Enter the fixer Stelfox to fire fight. Pretty soon he has cooked up an audacious plan to spin the situation, make the blackmailers go away and revive the flagging fortunes of the record company – oh, and make a killing for himself in the process. There are plenty of outrageous laugh out loud passages in this dark, satirical novel, which examines the impact of populism, of reality TV and fake news on today’s society in the ‘lowest common denominator’ Trump era. Stelfox is a combination of the repellent and the compelling, very much in the way of one of Irvine Welsh’s creations or one of Martin Amis’ characters from his ‘Money’ era. An excellent, pacey and entertaining read, but maybe not one for the easily offended!
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Kill Your Friends, Amis, Welsh.
One thing you’ve learned
No prizes for guessing who the pop star is based on.