Reviews

Sheep

‘The best debut novel I have read since The Wasp Factory. Wonderful original writing glittering with savage imagery, the pages breathe the tough, dark texture of a real world, of real inescapable fears, blurring the boundaries between nightmare and reality…’ Peter James

‘Maginn sifts the novel’s truth from its mystery like an expert archeologist, meticulously exposing deeper and darker strata that underlie even the most innocent events. Oscillating between the bleak thoughts of his emotionally tortured characters and the stark, moody Welsh landscape, he creates a thick atmosphere of dread that forces the weight of the past inexorably down on the present, yet never impedes the brisk momentum of the tale. This is the rare example of a novel of subtle horror that should appeal to lovers of the fast-paced modern horror thriller.’ Publishers Weekly

‘Sheep is a novel that conveys a real sense of dread. At times I was afraid to read on.’ Ramsey Campbell

‘What a fierce, dark, energetic imagination Simon Maginn has. The book has everything for the aficionado – terror, suspense, madness – but it also has style and vigour.’ Campbell Armstrong

‘Yet another undeservedly obscure classic! This novel, the first by a noted English writer, is widely considered (by the five or so people who’ve read it) one of the finest genre debuts of the nineties. I can understand the adulation, as it’s a stunningly written and imagined account of supernatural horror and all-too-natural anxiety. Simon Maginn has fallen silent in recent years (following VIRGINS AND MARTYS, A SICKNESS OF THE SOUL and METHODS OF CONFINEMENT), but SHEEP remains a stand-out entry in the horror field, and is well worth tracking down.

‘A simple plot description cannot convey the eccentricity, descriptive brilliance and horrific menace this novel exudes…

‘At its heart, however, SHEEP is genuinely dark and unnerving. Maginn has a gift for true-to-life description, lending the proceedings a powerful air of authenticity that makes the later passages, particularly those detailing Adele’s insanity, all the more upsetting. Maginn’s descriptive power also lifts the final pages into an altogether unique realm of poetic sadness and nail-biting terror.’ Fright.com

‘The novel might be the only thing I’ve ever read that actually scared me…’ Simon Strantzas

As Good as it Gets

‘This is the funniest book I’ve read for aeons. The plot is simple and something many of us fantasize about: s stranger dumps 5kg of cocaine in your flat before conveniently dying. The premise is enough to generate a narrative roller coaster which soars and loops before the inevitable comedown. What sets Simon Nolan’s novel apart is the acuteness of his comic observation. The Brighton flat is occupied by student drop-outs and Nolan is brilliant on the stolid apathy of these ne’er do wells thinking of resuming their degrees next year – or maybe the year after that.

‘There are four main protagonists. But the star of course is Charlie. From the moment this dazzling superstar romps in, clad only in his trademark plastic bags, the foursome are dragged into twenty-four-hour-long parties, rounds of compulsive and repetitive sex, and endless discourse with armies of new acquaintances who never seem to become friends… This summer’s cult reading.’ Time Out

‘An exceptionally funny and realistic comic novel, which is beautifully observed with the kind of dry intelligence that makes you glad someone is out there keeping tabs on the world. Nolan’s eye is perfect for observation comedy – ably jaundiced and disaffected without being embittered and misanthropic…’ The Sunday Times

‘Nolan’s sharp, satirical gaze makes this a confident and genuinely comic contribution to the Brit Lit druggie genre…’ Christina Patterson, The Observer

‘[Brighton] is just the place for this story, with its strange mixture of innocence and sleaze, its Playtown atmosphere, which he evokes perfectly… The writing really does lift off… What he does is describe exactly what would happen if these four idlers really did get their hands on all that nose candy…less blokey than Charles Higson, less histrionic than James Hawes and, deep down, wiser than either. ‘ Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian (Book of the Week)

‘Nolan writes with an unpretentious, been-there-done-that eye for the details of amateur debauchery and motley student life – the late night allure of strip-lit 7-Elevens; the hastily assembled facade of decent living when parents come to visit; half-baked ambition to get past page eight of The Satanic Verses… warmly funny and immensely readable.’ The Times

‘Hilarious.’ Daily Mirror

‘A quietly clever insight into temptation… Nolan plays with the inevitable psychological effects of the drug… the stages of their addiction are gently and comically rendered.’ Independent on Sunday

‘Brilliant novel about friendship, theft and cocaine… This may be the funniest book ever written about the pleasures and pitfalls of drug-taking.’ Julie Burchill

‘…a style and energy all its own… week long parties, wild and torrid sex. the best drugs money can buy… but no one can have this much fun without something bad happening, can they?’ Maxim

‘Kept me up all night laughing… full of witty dialogue and bizarre incidents that will ring bells with anyone who has ever lived in a shared flat… the book of the summer.’  The Brighton Reporter

‘A hilarious, high-speed first novel.’ Scene


The Vending Machine of Justice

‘A savage take on truth and justice with a genuine satirical bite that hasn’t leaped out of the pages since Evelyn Waugh.’   

The Independent

 

‘It is a journey of a novel, full of well-observed comedy, and has a climax which is most surprising.’  

Brighton Evening Argus

 

‘Nolan has retained the striking eye for comic detail he employed in his tremendous first novel, As Good as it Gets… Imagine Twelve Angry Men as a comedy set by the seaside and you’ll have a good conception of where Nolan’s coming from… Fantastic!’  

Time Out

 

‘Books this funny are a gift to miseries like myself, offering joyous departure from the dreary reality of life… Nolan’s skill for witty dialogue, large characterisation and a fair dose of modern-day farce is very cheering and well worth a spin if you’re not smiling as much as you deserve to.’  

QX International

 


 

Whitehawk



‘Hilarious… an outrageous narrative twist that defies all rational explanation…’ Brighton Magazine


 

‘Despite the ostensibly dark subject matter – pagan rituals, incest and paedophilia – Whitehawk is a light, pacy read satirising a faceless, target-driven government, and the incredible capacity of humans for irrationality. The action follows Mel Banff, a social worker hired by the government’s new Rationality Unit – an all too realistic government initiative to cut costs by boosting people’s capacity for rational thought. Mel is tasked with spending three months with a family of miscreants on Whitehawk – Brighton’s nastiest estate – in order to convert them into valuable members of society. But the presence of an agoraphobic mother, a child bride-to-be and a ghost dog make Mel’s job just that little bit trickier.

‘Nolan’s dialogue is sharp and witty throughout, with plenty of amusing passages whenever Mel tries to extract any semblance of rational thought from her unco-operative charges… A well-observed satire.’ Time Out


‘bizarre… hugely entertaining…What is so enjoyable about this comic satire is that Nolan… has practised restraint when it comes to characterising the dysfunctional family, with telling details lifting them above mere stereotype… Well crafted dialogue adds authenticity to every encounter and humour abounds on several levels… If you fancy adding a bit of craziness to your life, this book is a good place to start.’ Brighton Evening Argus



 


 


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