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Summary

Meet Steven Stelfox.

London, 1997: New Labour is sweeping into power, and Britpop is at its zenith. A&R man Stelfox is slashing and burning his way through the music industry, fuelled by greed and inhuman quantities of cocaine, searching for the next hit record amid a relentless orgy of self-gratification.

But as the hits dry up and the industry begins to change, Stelfox must take the notion of cutthroat business practices to murderous new levels in a desperate attempt to salvage his career.

©2015 John Niven (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Cartoon satire

Hedonistic nutter A&R man sniffs, screws and eventually throws the moral compass out into space, in his rush to survive in the 1990's music business. Apart from Steven Stelfox, the star of this story, characterisation is cartoonishly thin. I think this is done on purpose, so that the reader cares as little for the fate of each character that comes unstuck, as Stelfox does himself.
There is a lot of grim humour here, one or two bits genuinely causing me to laugh out loud, partly in shock at the latest antic. As the book was written 8 years ago and deals with an industry in the last days before the internet revolution, there is a nostalgic feeling that this might be back in the bad old days and it couldn't happen today!
I enjoyed the narration, which caught the air of the privileged exec very well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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vile vile vile

I struggled to get to chapter 2 before giving up. felt utterly depressed after listening

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not for the easiy offended

Very graphic and crude novel but very entertaining diving into the world of a clear psychopath. The narration is incredible and I'd recommend this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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It's all TRUE

I've worked in music for 12 years.
This is ALL TRUE. And highly entertaining.
Most of the characters are real and still work in music.

Film bad. Book good.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great story read poorly...

There are a couple major issues with this audiobook, which I feel have completely ruined the listening experience, and unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend it.

I say unfortunately, as I thoroughly enjoyed the book. So much so, that I've bought it three times and still don't have a copy.

Firstly, the sound quality on the recording is, in parts, just plain terrible. There are sections when you can barely hear Tom Riley at all (notably, the protagonist's Stephen Stelfox inner monologue), then parts where the audio is so painfully loud, it distorts (mainly Derek/Rudi screaming). I mean it physically hurts to listen to, and I found myself constantly turning the volume up and down....

It's a pretty easy fix; Tom, you generally don't whisper when recording an audio-book, and if you're going to shout, move away from the microphone a bit.

But recording quality aside, I have the same issue with this as I have with the film adaptation; the actors and/or director seemed to have completely misinterpreted the characters.

This is hardly surprising, as on further examination, it turns out Tom Riley is actually an actor from the film - and it soon becomes clear that he was doing his best (and actually quite a good job) of imitating the actors' portrayal of their characters from the film. The problem being, they all got it wrong in the first place.

Stephen Stelfox is a loathsome character. An absolutely hideous example of a human being. But in the book, for some unbeknown reason, the reader is completely engrossed by him. You're really rooting for him and find that you have this strange kind of respect for him. He has a disdainful opinion of the music industry and sees how ridiculous the whole thing is, but does a great job of explaining it. Whereas in the film, Nicolas Hoult's version of him is just simply unlikable. You couldn't care less what he thinks or what happens to him and I felt the same way listening to this, as I could clearly hear that Riley has just copied Hoult's version of Stelfox.

This is abundantly clear with most (if not all) of the other characters throughout the whole story, but irritatingly so with Trellick; the raspy Jospeh Mawle, Schnieder, the nerdy and audibly Jewish comic actor Dustin Demri-Burns' (massively underrated in my opinion; search 'Fiery Hawk' on youtube) and DC Woodham - a very softly spoken, and at times somewhat feminine performance by Edward Hogg.

Additionally, Riley's portrayal of both Rebecca and Derek are stomach-churningly cringe-worthy and I feel insulted on behalf of them - it makes you want to skip through it.

It's a shame. I really enjoyed the dark humour in this book, but the magic of the story telling and shock of the murder scenes are completely overshadowed by the unlikeability of the characters.

Every now and again, my girlfriend and I take long drives to see friends/family all over the country, and we recently started taking it in turns to pick the audiobooks for the long hours in the car. After she picked Stephen King's very well written, produced and read 'Misery' and I picked this - the score is very much 1-0 to her.

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Brlliant performance by Tom Riley

Tom Riley acts the part of Steven Stelfox perfectly and his gift for impersonations and accents is incredible. Outstanding performance !

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strap in, this is gonna get rough

It's funny so you'll laugh. it's also so dark that you'll feel bad for laughing. This is the funniest thing about this book.

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Great dark story, Brilliantly narrated

Unbelievably dark, but enjoyable book, the author did fantastic job making it so much more real! Great stuff, highly recommended!

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Offensive

Well that was pretty interesting. Unpleasantly gripping after a slowish start. Brilliantly narrated. I may need to read some more.

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Brilliantly Written, Pitch Black Humour

A brilliant listen, incredibly written, but most definitely not not not for the faint hearted!

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  • Ryan
  • 25-06-18

It’s like living in the head of a psychopath

TL;DR: Horrible psychopathic protagonist but difficult to put down. Be prepared - it’s very dark and terrible to think that some people must actually think like that. Not a the light-hearted.

Right from the beginning it’s clear that this guy is a psychopath and it’s an unpleasant experience to be in his head.

I wanted to stop reading as soon as possible afraid that the protagonists thoughts would somehow infect me and turn me into a psychopath.

He isn’t a guy you root for unless you too are a psychopath.

Even though I was disgusted by him, I just had to finish the book. Afterwards, I was disappointed with the way it ended. I would have preferred a different outcome. Like I said, he’s not much of a hero, not someone you can get behind.