M.R. Mackenzie's Reviews > Literary Stalker

Literary Stalker by Roger Keen
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really liked it

Literary Stalker put me in mind of a matryoshka doll – those Russian stacking dolls where each figurine contains inside it an identical but smaller version of itself. Nick Chatterton is an unemployed and, so far, unsuccessful novelist, taking out his frustrations on the critics and fellow writers who’ve slighted him by making them the murder victims of his latest novel – in which a deranged novelist, Jagor Farrar, seeks revenge against those same detractors… the subtle difference being that, while Nick restricts his vengeance to the realm of fantasy, Jago is actually killing his critics.

It took me a few chapters to cotton on to the back-and-forth switching between Nick’s narration and Jago’s, in part because there’s no signposting of whose perspective we’re sharing – a deliberate choice which I increasingly appreciated as the lines between the “reality” of Nick’s world and the fantasy of Jago’s world became increasingly blurred… particularly when Jago himself begins referencing the fictional characters of the revenge novel he himself is writing… and the fictional characters in the revenge novel being written by his fictional protagonist, and so on.

The plot owes much to – and frequently references – the Vincent Price movie Theatre of Blood, but also works in allusions from everything from Reservoir Dogs to The Godfather, with Jago (or is it Nick?) drawing on iconic scenes from these films to carry out his bloody acts of vengeance. While he’s not the world’s most sympathetic narrator, there’s something undeniably compelling about the vindictive, obsessive Nick, convinced of his own genius and that his lack of success is down to his peers conspiring against him. I’m sure every aspiring author has, at some point, entertained delusions of their own grandeur and railed against the success and fame enjoyed by others whom they consider inferior to them!

I really enjoyed Literary Stalker. It’s pacy, unpredictable and often very, very funny. My usual tastes in crime novels tend to be less metaphysical in nature, but this one won me over with its wit and ingenuity, and I can’t wait to see what Roger Keen comes up with next.
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Reading Progress

January 15, 2018 – Started Reading
January 15, 2018 – Shelved
January 15, 2018 –
January 15, 2018 –
January 16, 2018 –
January 17, 2018 –
January 18, 2018 –
January 19, 2018 –
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January 21, 2018 –
January 21, 2018 –
January 22, 2018 –
January 23, 2018 –
January 24, 2018 –
January 25, 2018 – Finished Reading

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