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Michael Ardenne is a desperate man. A former Booker Prize-winner, he took

the literary world by storm with his debut novel Ephesus, which in his words

was ‘a deeply moving meditation on the power of love, the fragility of the

soul and the nature of fate’. But for the past 14 years he hasn’t written a thing

worth publishing. His life is a series of unfinished projects, he is in terrible

debt, he drinks too much and has developed a Lolita-like obsession with his

neighbour’s teenage daughter. Michael is being supported by his wife Tanya,

who is threatening to divorce him unless he gets a job and starts behaving ‘like

a normal person’. ‘I am not a normal person. I’m a writer,’ he responds. Paid to

read through his publisher’s slush pile, Michael discovers a brilliant thriller—

a fictionalised diary of a serial killer—which he decides to plagiarise. Blood

Moon becomes a bestseller and that’s when things really start to unravel. I

loved this hilarious take on the publishing industry, the dilemmas of the writer’s

life, and the little digs at everything from the perils and distractions of the

internet; writers’ festivals; PR and advertising; and the genre versus literary

fiction debate. This is the first novel from writer, musician and painter Ian

Shadwell. It will appeal to writers, aspiring writers, publishing insiders and

readers who enjoy satire.

Paula Grunseit

Bookseller and publisher magazine

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