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The Death List (Matt Wells #1)

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  658 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Writer's block is nothing compared to the tale London-based novelist Matt Wells is now caught in. A chain of seemingly innocent e-mails from a devoted fan turns sinister when Matt discovers his correspondent is a cold-blooded killer with an agenda for murder.

This is the real thing, and soon Matt is plunged into a plot more twisted than any he could dream up for his novels.
ebook, 432 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Mira Books (first published 2007)
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Majo's Library.
Tal vez hasta parecería que por tener semejante título, tendría un argumento predecible hasta el hastío, pero muy por el contrario, este libro me gustó y mucho. Rescato (dando gracias por su existencia) que va directo a los hechos. “Ocurrió el segundo asesinato, el cuerpo se encontraba a las afueras de la ciudad, en un bote. El Diablo Blanco le había cortado…”
Presentó muchas situaciones verdaderamente emocionantes en las que nuestro personaje, el escritor londinense Matt Wells se encontró en en
Darcia Helle
I realize that this is fiction but fiction still needs to make sense. And this book often did not. What was supposed to be heroic (I assume), I found to be ridiculous. Many characters' behavior was questionable at best. The writing kept me at a distance. I was never able to latch onto the characters and experience their emotions. For instance, if a character whose viewpoint I'm reading from is being tortured prior to being murdered, I expect to feel something. But this read more like a newspaper ...more
Jun 15, 2009 Mic rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A pretty basic book - overblown emotions, often stated way too obviously, dumb assumptions, horrendously ham-fisted romantic allusions, way too much "mates would do anything for each other" stuff.

Reads like it was written by a 15yo, TBH.
Paul Pessolano
“The Death List” by Paul Johnston, published by Mira.

Category – Mystery/Thriller Publication Date – July 2007

I am often asked to recommend a British mystery. This is a British mystery, but quite unlike Agatha Christie’s “Miss Marple”.

Matt Stone (Wells) is a mystery writer of some fame, until he set his mysteries in Albania and no one seems to care for the setting or his characters.

He starts to receive fan mail that sets him on a dangerous course of murder. The course is so devious that Matt can
Katie Kenig
Aug 19, 2011 Katie Kenig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I love books about writers. While I've never read anything by this Scottish author before, I grabbed the book while working at the Canmore library because it was about a mystery writer who gets caught up in the antics of a fan-turned-serial-killer. As a writer myself (okay, mostly a journalist and a wannabe author) I feel a connection with books about writers, and find them particularly fun.

The story takes place in London, and is full of fun (for me at least) slang and colloquialisms and bits of
Jodi Berkebile
Jun 26, 2013 Jodi Berkebile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am one of those people who are always looking for cheap books at stores like Dollar Tree, usually you end up with a flop but sometimes you find a real gem! The Death List by Paul Johnston is one of those gems.
The book is a mystery/Thriller and a real page turner (I couldn't put it down!) its about a mystery writer named Matt Wells who is having a hard time selling his newest series. He starts getting fan mail from a man going by the name of "The white devil" who has a death list of people who
Lois Duncan
This was a good mystery novel, but too gory for my particular taste. That says nothing about the author's rendition of the story, but about my sensitivities as a reader. I found myself skipping entire paragraphs that contained detailed descriptions of the injuries inflicted upon the tortured victims. But I did keep reading because I wanted to see how the book ended.
This book is pretty action packed and keeps you on the edge of your seat but it is also very gory and gruesome in some parts.
Nov 01, 2016 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an edge of your seat thrill ride. It was gory and gruesome and kept you guessing on what was going to happen next. Would love to read Paul's next book.

My only complaint would be the other killers roaming around, I didn't understand how they fit into the story. Still enjoyed the book though.
Soul Survivor
This is one of those books where I thought I might have to do a coin flip between 3&4-star ratings.
I was saved that drama by a very unsatisfactory ending , which almost pushed it to two-stars . I had thought I would pursue other volumes by this author , but there are so many books out there.....
It's a shame to finish a book on a sour note , especially on your birthday .
Iain McGregor
Jan 06, 2011 Iain McGregor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Death List by Paul Johnston

I was about to read Paul Johnston's "Maps of hell", having read a good review of the book, however, I did a bit of research and found that it was actually book No 3 in the Matt Wells series and so I started with book No 1: "The Death List". (Incidentally, a great web site for information on authors can be found at

From the outset it was clear that I was reading a 'page turner' and the action came thick and fast. The basic story is about a fading author being seduced
Nov 14, 2008 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mystery author, Matt Wells was in a bit of a stump. His books weren’t best sellers anymore and he was receiving rejections for his new ones. Matt seems to have maintained one faithful fan. This fan corresponds with Matt by email at least three times a week. At first the emails were innocent enough but recently they have started getting more personal. All Matt knows is that this fan calls himself The White Devil. The White Devil seems to be holding all the cards in the deck by teasing Matt. The W ...more
Matthew Sarookanian
I don't usually read this kind of books, so what I might say will be of no relavence to those who love books like this. In fact I did enjoy the book on the level that I think I was suppose to. The action was good and it was decently fast pace, and the story was interesting. I do enjoy the cop and killer game sort of like the Hannibal series, and there was a nice little twist at the end that I was not expecting. The problems though were that (and maybe I'm just a book snob) it was kind of poorly ...more
Jefther E.

Obviamente por el rating y la primera frase nos damos cuenta casi de manera instantánea que no me gusto esta porquería de libro, porque sí, es una porquería de libro. Tuve tantos problemas con él que ni sé por dónde comenzar.

Debo decir que lo compré un lindo día de mayo en la Feria Del Libro. Lo compré porque estaba exageradamente barato y sonaba interesante: "un escritor de novela negra que se encuentra envuelto de manera dramática con un asesino en serie que decide eliminar a todas
Nov 03, 2010 Zauberlehrling! rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Wer SAW mag wird dieses Buch lieben. Es ist unmenschlich, bestialisch, blutrünstig und macht Angst. Es liest sich fast von selbst.

Die ersten zwei Drittel habe ich innerhalb von zwei Tagen gelesen. Ich konnte das Buch einfach nicht aus der Hand legen. Leider ist es zum Ende hin ein wenig langatmig und Turner (ein Polizist) ist unglaublich nervig. Da hilft es auch nicht, dass er schließlich einsieht, dass er auf der falschen Fährte war. Ebenso nervig ist die Ex-Frau unseres Hauptdarstellers. Ich h
Becci Williams
Feb 27, 2016 Becci Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliantly gory thriller. The White Devil wants his story of revenge told, which he has called The Death List, so he goes to an out of work, down on his luck writer Matt Wells. Most of these murders haven't been done yet so Matt has to literally write these chapters on each murder as they happen, he really doesn't want to do it but the Devil has a hold on him by threatening his family. The Devil is watching Matt's every move so if he doesn't do what the Devil asks, his family would be ...more
Feb 07, 2017 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up randomly from a pile I had bought for the shop.
Its about a writer Matt Wells,tick. Its about revenge tick. So I started and I found myself in the middle of a rather quirky and intriguing though brutal read. Not for the fainthearted as the murders are graphic ,varied and numerous but the plot and the journey are definitely worth the effort.
Reading about the author I find he is a Scottish author living in Greece.I honestly had no idea but then that would have been another ti
Jenica Celine
Apr 20, 2013 Jenica Celine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved and liked this book and everything itself. It just gave me an expression a real "wow." I was really shocked with the revelation on how Sara Robbins was connected with the White Devil, seriously! I didn't expect that twist! It made me loved the story and the twists more! I also loved the story's theme about revenge and seeking vengeance, How did Matt loved his job although some publishers called him pathetic novelist, How Matt protected his family specially Lucy. I admire his best ...more
Dec 06, 2012 Alexander rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

This is a competently written and grisly mystery story. The motivations of the protagonist and the killer(s) are completely unconvincing and unbelievable. A rich, all-knowing and powerful murderer from a poverty-stricken background wreaks grisly revenge on all who did him wrong, then all who did wrong to the hapless writer he "adopts". Why?

What is more, at the end of the book, it is revealed that the writer's loving girlfriend, is actually the stone cold i
Apr 07, 2012 Henrik rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Kerr
Matt Wells was just an innocent crime writer until he starts getting e-mails from a twisted psycho killer calling himself the White Devil. After the Devil kills everyone on his own death list (a list of everyone who did him wrong) he starts on one he made for Matt. Matt can either let himself be framed for murder and hope the Devil stays away from his loved ones or he can risk his life and the lives of his friends and family to try to catch him.

My boyfriend recomended this book to my and I recom
Feb 17, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series-thriller, 2012
If you love thrillers set in the UK, you'll love the first installment in the Matt Wells series. Matt Stone aka Matt Wells is a crime writer who's down on his luck. His ex-wife hates him, he lost his publisher and agent, he haven't written anything in a few years. Until now, when someone emailed him, claiming his biggest fan, sending him subliminal messages. Little did Matt know, this same person is a serial killer who's copying the crimes in Matt's books, which puts him in the middle of this me ...more
Laurie Johnston
A grisly read!

A psychopath forces a struggling writer to fictionalize his killing spree, framing the writer to take the fall.

Under threat of death of people he loves, the novelist, sent the killer’s notes, crafts them into a slasher tale. Then the killer’s hit-list starts to expand. The author’s acquaintances start to die, and—enlisting a band of feisty pals—the writer rallies a team to fight back.

As page-turners go, the story is great. With every death explicitly drawn, fans of torture-murder
Feb 26, 2013 Deana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About a mystery writer who gets caught up in a real life mystery/murder case. Very barbaric, gruesome scenes but a good story with a nice plot twist at the end. Which ended like a series starter (and after looking for more books by the same author I found out it was :-) Although I am interested in reading the others, the one problem I had was likability/sympathy for the main character. Something kept me at arms length. Maybe as the series develops I will align more with him but Harry Bosch he ai ...more
Jeremy David
This was very promising at the beginning and I still have no bad things to say about the overall story. I also learned a lot of British slang. But the back half was a little lackluster, as it seemed his plan and execution against the killer was a little hard to believe, and dare I say impossible. He just so happened to be connected with a group of friends to solve all of his problems for him. And the way this one concluded was very uninspiring. But I can't disregard how much of a page turner it ...more
Oct 20, 2008 Jacobi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read
This was really solid. It reminded me of Richard Laymon's In The Dark, where something seemingly innocuous quickly spirals out of control. This isn't a gritty crime drama, but more of a over-the-top mystery/thriller in the vein of James Patterson's better stuff. The wheels begin to fall off in the end, as the police become ever unbelievable and the situations all that much more outlandish, but I had a great deal of fun with this.

I'll definitely be reading more of Paul Johnston's stuff in the fu
Nov 20, 2008 Deirdre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt Wells isn't doing well, dumped by his agent, publisher and wife he's trying to work out a way to get back into his groove and hoping that things will get better. Then someone starts killing the people who have made his life miserable and they're telling him all about it. Watching his every move.

It was edge-of-the-seat stuff for me throughout this story, there were times I lapsed in concentration but most of the time I really wanted to know what would happen next.

Well plotted stuff and inter
Jun 15, 2013 nt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No muy agradable. Me atrevería a decir que no está bien redactado, o bueno: no está redactado de una manera que me guste. En otras ocasiones me he quejado de los libros que gastan demasiadas paginas solamente describiendo lugares, cosa que termina siendo tediosa. Pero realmente si es necesario, en un punto medio.

Pienso que los libros que te permiten reproducir las escenas en la mente son los que me hacen decir que leer es como ver una película, pero mejor. Con este libro no se puede decir que e
Tom Piercy
Don't expect gritty realism or a conventional modern novel. This is melodrama through and through. The characters may not have great depth, but neither are they cardboard cutouts.

The book's fascination lies in the way it explores the concept of revenge proposed in Webster's play 'The White Devil' written 400 years ago. Webster's melodramatic style is paralleled. The action is unparalleled. If you can, see a performance of Webster's 'The White Devil' before you read this book. Then take a tranqui
Lucy Furr
About the only thing The Death List has going for it is that it was easy to read, I blew through its 400 pages in two sittings. The plot had potential, and at first I was enjoying it, but more and more the characters turned out to be stereotypical and flat reproductions of characters I've seen hundreds of times before. By page 100 I had figured out who the White Devil's "accomplice" was. There was just nothing surprising or unique about this book, and in a genre where there is a plethora of prol ...more
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Paul Johnston was born in Edinburgh, studied Greek at Oxford, and now divides his time between the UK and a small Greek island. His highly-acclaimed Quintilian Dalrymple series won the John Creasey Memorial Dagger for best first crime novel.

* Quint Dalrymple
* Alex Mavros
* Matt Wells
More about Paul Johnston...

Other Books in the Series

Matt Wells (4 books)
  • The Soul Collector
  • Maps of Hell
  • The Nameless Dead

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