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Kill Your Friends [Paperback]

John Niven
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

5 Jun 2014

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 cut throat business practices to murderous new levels in a desperate attempt to salvage his career.

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Kill Your Friends + The Second Coming + The Amateurs
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (5 Jun 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099592096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099592099
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Magnificently eloquent...A vicious, black-hearted howl of a book... Cripplingly funny" (The Times)

"Brilliant. It made me ill with laughter. The filthiest, blackest, most shocking, most hilarious debut novel I've read in years" (India Knight)

"Might well be the best British novel since Trainspotting" (Word Magazine)

"An all-out assault, a withering, scabrous attack on every part of the filthy machine... Stelfox is a creation of unparalleled awfulness, chronically sexist, racist and everything else-ist. He is funny, too... You laugh though you know you shouldn't" (Independent)

"Niven's insider knowledge, coupled with the kind of headlong, febrile prose that would have Hunter S. Thompson happily emptying both barrels into the sky, results in a novel that is cripplingly funny" (The Times)


"Dark, twisted... and also laugh-out-loud funny" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Oh my God, I was not ready for this. Not at all. I absolutely bloody loved it. It's utterly jaw dropping stuff. But sweet Jesus! John Niven you sick, depraved genius.
I've been in two minds telling people about this book. On the one hand it's one of the best books I've ever read. On the other it a debouched, misogynistic, horrifically violent, ugly snarling beast. It's hard to recommend a book called `Kill your Friends' to well.... your friends; what are they going to think of me? Are they going to get it? Are they going to think that I identify with the characters, that this is something I aspire to? God I hope not but like I said, I loved this book. I read disbelieving, like staring at a train wreck or a grisly internet video.
The story concerns the music industry during Brit Pop's heyday. Steven Stelfox is our Protagonist and what a creation he is. A lazier man than me would describe him as a Patrick Bateman for the Music Industry, there are definite parallels: The money, the life of privilege and excess, a predilection for prostitutes, murder and doing anything to get ahead but Steven Stelfox is not Patrick Bateman. Bateman was a Sociopath, Stelfox definitely isn't, he's an unbelievably nasty piece of work, but he is very much a complete person with the full gambit of human emotions. it's just that they're buried deep under layers of greed, ambition Rage and lust. Niven is also not Easton-Ellis, American Psycho was cold, clinical, emotionless and bloody hard going. Kill Your Friends is an absolute riot. Niven has a way with words that will make your eyes water and in Stelfox he has the chance to voice every None PC, hateful and `you know it's wrong but...' thought that has ever entered his head.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I feel broken... 10 Nov 2009
By Hardeep
I'm not sure I should be spending time actually reviewing this, as getting down on my knees and praying for the salvation of humanity might be a better use of my time. Don't get me wrong, in my opinion, it was a very good novel. However, I thought the protagonist was simply the worst humanity has to offer, the personification of Satan on earth. The depths that "Steven Stelfox" sinks to make you feel violated in a way that only a shower with brillo pads could expunge. Truly a character to sully the soul.

Paradoxically, I couldn't put the damn thing down. It is incredibly well written, as is any novel with a character that has a strong emotional effect. The author is talented, and hilarious.

Nivens depictions of Stelfox's thought process are side-splitting as well as repellent. He seems to have turned the curse ridden one-liner into an art form. Which is a relief because without the exquisite humour, the novel wouldn't work, as it would be so debauched that I would have thrown in on the fire. The humour keeps it just light enough to engage with a very real, if evil, character, the likes of which I have never seen before - and hope I never have any close dealings with.

The story covers one year in the music business, and in much the same way as "City Boy" by Geraint Anderson reveals the dark underbelly of the finance industry, this does the same for record labels. The difference being that it is hard to see any upside, or how anyone could stand up to so much alcohol and drug abuse, while still being able to utter a coherent sentence.

Murder, drugs, pornography, booze and more booze are the staple diet of Stelfox. The dark humoured look into his twisted mind lifts the lid on the ruinous side to this industry and the intoxicating lure of fame and adoration.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kill Your Friends 24 Feb 2010
By Matty
Kill Your Friends is a sharp, witty and disturbing read. The lead character Steven who works in the music industry is a quite horrible individual. He's sexist, racist, ageist, you name it, but most of the time he's only guilty of admitting openly to thoughts that a lot of people have but don't admit to. He's then even more guilty of actually acting upon those thoughts.
This is to put it politely a "re-imagining" of American Psycho, but where I found AP quite heavy going KYF is funny and it's loaded up with great pop culture references from its setting in the mid 90's.
I enjoyed the fact that the narrator was such an unpleasant individual. It makes a refreshing change to have a lead character who isn't heroic and isn't looking to become a better person.
A good read, but not for the easily offended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but shallow in subject and style 8 Nov 2010
Firstly, this book is a terrific read. Entertaining and amusing. That said, it's also pretty trashy and shallow. The themes, content and style are all lifted from 80's American 'Brat Pack' writers. Not just Bret Easton-Ellis (although the similarities to American Psycho are many and varied, right up to using a bent coat hanger in unusual ways) but also Jay McInerney, Mark Lindquist et al.

Some of the phrases such as 'pointlessly handsome', are also jarringly familiar. (A quick google search on this one suggests it might have been coined by Martin Amis).

I would recommend this book to take on holiday and read by the pool rather than as anything more nourishing. Make sure you take some more books with you though, this one will be finished by about Tuesday.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars sucking on a tramp nutsack
Every thing one needs to know about the Music Business is between these pages,priceless wisdom presented as a hilarious yet painfully honest account of swimming with sharks. Read more
Published 3 days ago by DiscoDaddy loves this
5.0 out of 5 stars Jeez what a ride!
Well I have to say, that was some fine piece of writing. Gripping stuff. Left wanting more, like the Chang !
Published 8 days ago by T-Bo
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't lend it to your daughter
My first exposure to John Niven. Disgusting, foul and obscene. But bloody funny. Think American Psycho with a sense of humour.
Published 12 days ago by D. Goldstone
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, the main character has no morals at ...
Excellent read, the main character has no morals at all & is a complete scumbag, but I found myself laughing out loud at some parts, very descriptive & witty in parts.
Published 22 days ago by Barry Simeon
3.0 out of 5 stars vile creature
you can't put it down because you want see this vile creature get his comeuppance, I must say it is concerning to read reviews saying he just says things we all think, perhaps you... Read more
Published 1 month ago by leelew
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Funny in places but overall a ghastly book.
Published 1 month ago by Jane Faires
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
good but not as good as 'The Second Coming'
Published 1 month ago by Julie Paterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Inconceivably good.
This book is sordid and vile. The good guys are bad guys and the bad guys are heroes. A journey through the gutter of the music business of the 90s through the eyes of someone that... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Chittock
5.0 out of 5 stars The most hilariously horrifying read of recent years
Utterly addictive. Competely disturbing. Absolutely hilarious. If you are easily offended, do not read this book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by James Gabb
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
Thought this book would be a true classic, you know it's about 90's, drugs, music, etc. but in fact it's a lame story line that doesn't really emerge into anything more than a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by mr commuter
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