Posts Tagged ‘metafiction’

Theatre of Blood (1973) w/ author Roger Keen

‘Theatre of Blood and Literary Stalker’, my guest post for Machine Mean on the Blog Tour, deals with the key influence of the film on the book, whilst performing a review and an analysis of what we love about this classic. Big thanks to Thomas S. Flowers and Chad Clark.

Machine Mean

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I had the basic plot idea for Literary Stalker – a bad writer with grudges who takes revenge on selected colleagues – many years before I wrote the novel, but it remained on the back burner because it seemed too simplistic. Then I had the further idea of making the work a pastiche, with showcased references to films and other novels, very much in the style of Quentin Tarantino. Having fun developing this, one film in particular popped into my mind – one I hadn’t actually viewed for decades, but which I remembered fondly from way back in the 1970s and ’80s. It was Theatre of Blood, and I got the DVD and re-watched it, several times. The rest, as they say, is history. 

The blueprint of a vengeful actor, dispensing justice to the critics who’ve disparaged him, using Shakespeare’s plays, matched my idea; but rather than simply copy…

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Reviews In The Machine : Literary Stalker, by Roger Keen

Nice in-depth incisive review from Chad Clark at Machine Mean.

Machine Mean

LitIt’s a pretty rare occurrence for me to be scared by a book anymore. And I’m not saying that as a way of bragging, just that after you’ve seen so many horror movies and read or written so many stories, it gets harder and harder to get to that emotional place.
That being said, it’s well within the realm of possibility that I can be disturbed by a book. And this brings us to the topic for today, Literary Stalker, by Roger Keen.
This is the story of a young, aspiring author, Nick, whose current work is a book titled, The Facebook Murders, in which his fictional protagonist goes on a small murder spree, killing people who had wronged him or tried to damage his career. I find stories relating to stalkers to be unsettling enough, especially in the social media landscape. Keen managed to take this concept and make…

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The Literary Stalker’s Take on Gun Control

Extract from Chapter 6: Clichéd Ways of Obtaining a Gun

In debates about gun crime and gun control, one old chestnut comment keeps cropping up: It’s not guns that kill people, it’s people that kill people. What an idiotic thing to say! When you have a gun in your hand, you know full well it’s the gun that’s going to do the killing and you’re just a passenger. How would ‘you’, minus the gun, go about killing someone? Grab them by the throat and try to strangle them? Pound them to death with your fists? Kick them to death? Use the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique? Or use a lesser weapon, such as a knife or baseball bat?

All are possibilities to be sure, but none are exactly easy and inevitably involve some level of physical prowess, fighting knowledge and skills. What’s more, once you embark on such an attack, your victim is going to take evasive action, retaliate and perhaps overpower you. Taking all this into account, it’s highly likely that ‘you’ wouldn’t consider it advisable to undertake the killing attempt at all. But if you possess a gun, it’s different. With one of those, you can stand a distance away from your victim, and providing you can point the thing straight and hold it as though you mean business, you have the complete upper hand. And if you’ve got the balls to pull the trigger…well. How much percentage of the kill would be down to ‘you’ and how much down to the gun?

So what does the Literary Stalker do? He steals a World War II Webley service revolver from his great uncle and uses it to murder three of his intended victims. But hey, it only happens in a novel-within-a-novel. More info: Darkness Visible Publishing.


New Review: Literary Stalker by Roger Keen @The_Mad_Artist @DV_Publishing

February 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Literary Stalker by [Keen, Roger]

“Nick Chatterton is really feeling quite sorry for himself, frustrated and disillusioned with his life and the people in it. Most days he spends day dreaming of the life that he believes he should have had, if people had just recognised his talent as a writer. He easily loses track of time which his partner Robin is not too happy about when he returns home from work. Then an idea springs to mind for his next attempt at a new novel. The Facebook Murders.”

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via Literary Stalker by Roger Keen @The_Mad_Artist @DV_Publishing #Review


Metacrime Murder Mystery: The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor by Cameron McCabe

December 21, 2017 Leave a comment

When I was thinking up ways of promoting my new book, Literary Stalker, I toyed with the word ‘metacrime’ – a compression of ‘metafictional crime’ – and I did a search to see how widely the term had been used before, and in relation to what. I discovered it was hardly in use at all, and the only work I came across that bore that particular label was the 1937 ‘Golden Age of Crime’ novel The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor by Cameron McCabe.

The search led me to an excellent review of the book by Ted Gioia, which is posted on a site Ted has dedicated exclusively to the phenomenon of Postmodern Mystery, also dissecting works by Borges, Nabakov, Flann O’Brien, Paul Auster and other writers familiar to me – I had never heard of Cameron McCabe. Further trawling revealed that at least three of my writer friends – Nicholas Royle, Andrew Hook and Christopher Fowler – had written about this mysterious man and his novel, so he was not perhaps as arcane as I’d thought, and I needed to discover more.

I expected to have to make do with a dog-eared and dubiously stained version of the tome, disingenuously described by the seller as in ‘very good condition’; but no, a new version has fairly recently been published by Picador Classics, coming with an introduction from Jonathan Coe and so many bits of front and back matter that it’s hard to know where Cameron McCabe’s own input ends and that of others begins – which is precisely what the novel is all about.

Coe’s introduction sets out the parameters and of course the name ‘Cameron McCabe’ is just a device – both a nom de plume and the protagonist/extremely unreliable narrator of the tale. Keeping the synopsis side of things simple, the plot involves the ‘murder’ of actress Estella Lamare, to which several characters confess, but which later, by means of hidden camera footage, is shown to be a suicide…maybe. But soon another ‘real’ murder takes place, and things resolve into a Crime and Punishment-like duel between McCabe, as witness and later suspect, and Inspector Smith, the sleuth on the case. Presently another important character, A. B. C. Müller, enters the stage, and everything is set for the most meta of meta-mysteries you could ever hope to find. Read more…


#Review Literary Stalker by Roger Keen @The_Mad_Artist @DV_Publishing

December 17, 2017 Leave a comment

New review of Literary Stalker from top fiction blogger Lorna ‘LJ’ Cassidy of On The Shelf Reviews.

On The Shelf Reviews

Title: Literary Stalker by Roger Keen.

Publisher: Darkness Visible.

Genres: Horror, Mystery/Thriller, Psychological, LBGTQ

Published: 17th September 2017


If you value your life, don’t dare to suggest to Nick Chatterton that he’s not a good writer!

Nick is embarking on his latest crime/horror novel – a pastiche of the Vincent Price movie Theatre of Bloodwhere Nick draws up a hit list of his enemies within the writing world and gets his narrator to dispatch them according to the plots of classic crime and horror movies, such as Reservoir Dogs.

Top of the list is a writer who is both a superstar of the horror genre and who in Nick’s reckoning has wronged him the most. Nick first met Hugh Canford-Eversleigh at a reading more than a decade ago and fell madly in love with him, interpreting their encounter as the start of a magnificent affair…

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Roger Keen on Metacrime and Metahorror

November 13, 2017 Leave a comment

My colleagues at Darkness Visible have conducted this with interview with me, concentrating on the metafictional aspects of Literary Stalker and also touching on the broader aspects of ‘self-knowing’ fictionality in film and literature, citing some of my favourite examples:


Roger’s new novel Literary Stalker is a psychological crime thriller with horror overtones, but it’s also metafictional – that is, it has self-awareness about its fictionality – and Roger has used the terms ‘metacrime’ and ‘metahorror’ to describe this tendency within the genres the novel occupies. So, we thought we’d ask him explain a little bit more deeply about what he means, and give us some other examples.

Darkness Visible: Literary Stalker involves Nick, a writer who is composing a novel about revenge murders. Is it this layering of novels-within-novels that gives rise to the meta dimension you talk about? And how is this different from a novel taking place in the real world, as oppose to a fantasy, for example?

Roger: Yes, the layering is part of it, certainly, but only one aspect. And Nick indeed does inhabit the ‘real world’, but that ‘reality’ is constantly being called into question by what he does and thinks. As an ‘unreliable narrator’ Nick is in a league of his own! He’s writing his novel – The Facebook Murders – where the characters are effectively his real enemies (he even keeps the same names for the purposes of a first draft), and he gets his alter ego narrator, Jago, to murder them in stylised ways, as in the movie Theatre of Blood.

So his novel is a projection of his wishes, a realisation of the revenge he desires in real life. And as the story progresses, the lines blur, fiction and reality interchange, as Nick is progressively ‘taken over’ by his novel. Which is a very ‘horror’ idea, but because it’s ‘psychological’ rather than ‘supernatural’, it still retains ‘real world’ integrity – at least for most of the time. But throughout there are these ‘nudge-wink’ moments, and towards the end the metafictional undermining and rug-pulling gets stronger, till the twists at the climax which leave you wondering what exactly is ‘real’ and what isn’t.

Read more on Medium.

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