Nominated: Debut Novel & Last Laugh Awards at CrimeFest 2022

Shaking Hands With The Devil


What happens when a serial killer and a hapless detective start to get on each other’s nerves? (ALSO AVAILABLE ON AUDIBLE SEPTEMBER 23)

30 years since the first draft, this hilarious black comedy can at last be read.

Clifton Gentle is an apparently ordinary man without very much to distinguish him. Not much, that is, apart from being a serial killer leaving bits of young men scattered over North London. 

Dave Hicks is the flawed detective determined to catch him, but his attempts to capture the man he calls ‘the nutter’ through a combination of hunches, sheer optimism and personal abuse do not go well. All that turns up are yet more body parts. 

In a London dogged by growing sleaze and an IRA bombing campaign, the gruesome murders spur a crazily over-the-top media and merchandising frenzy. 

An increasingly personal feud ends up in a race against time as murderer, detective, a would-be victim, and a deranged copycat killer each try to find out what – or who – they blame for their predicament. 

But what do readers say? 

Reviews for Shaking hands with the devil: 

‘The author expertly combines comedy with tiptoeing into the sinister underbelly of society…a great read- M Wiltshre, Amazon

‘A wonderful romp’ – A Ursell, Amazon

‘Full of black humour…pacy and well written with marvellous wit’ – Deb’s Book Reviews

‘Ooh, I liked this. Unusual, for all the right reasons…some truly laugh out loud moments’ – Bobs and Books

‘A satirical tale from a master wit at his quirky, provocative best’ – Crime Fiction Critic

‘If you love crime with a funny, albeit dark, side, give this book a go’ – Beyond the Books

‘I read some odd books at times, and this is right up there…a really cracking read’ – Donna Morfett

‘Had me sniggering a lot and laughing out loud’ – Lynda Checkley

‘Raskalnikov meets Ignatius J Reilly’ – Skybatwig, Amazon

‘High drama with great characterization and wonderful language. I couldn’t put this book down’ – Carolyn, Amazon

‘A ton of wit and intriguing writing that really kept me engaged’ – Jessica Belmont, Goodreads

‘Mason is definitely an author to appreciate…he gives a lot of respect to his craft’ – Natalie ‘Curling up with a coffee and a Kindle’

‘A must for those who like their satire as black as night’ – David Prestidge, Goodreads

‘I was so taken aback at how this author created something soe immenselyy disturing that was also completely comical’ – Nicola Hancock, Amazon

‘What a fun read…right up my street’ – Deb’s reviews. 

"A twisted and twisting tale…Few authors can pull off darkly comic detective fiction like Carl Hiaasen, But Bryan J Mason is one…A great read"
Mike Bullen
Writer and Creator of Cold Feet

Once thought ahead of its time, the moment has finally arrived for this outrageous black comedy crime noir novel


bryan j mason

Bryan J Mason has been on a long journey.

He wrote this novel in London in the late 1980s, but reluctantly concluded that he was a failed author after it was rejected by publishers at the time, so thought that he ought to go on and be a failure at something else. Which largely he has.  Determined to finally get it read, he redrafted it and…here it is.

In the intervening years he has worked as a brush salesman and rent collector, made sound effects for BBC Radio and been a tax inspector and occasional actor. He writes regular theatre reviews for StageTalk Magazine and Bristol 24/7.  Theatre reviews are available here:

Shaking Hands with the Devil is Bryan’s first novel.

His second black comedy novel awaiting publication, An Old Tin Can, features a Jewish detective in Belfast who discovers that there is a serial killer at large during the turbulence of identity politics present in the Troubles.
He lives in Bristol with his wife and has two children in their twenties.

Bryan J Mason is proud to be a member of the Crime Writers Association. 

Launch and Media updates

Thanks to everyone who contributed to my Book Tour in March 2022 hosted by the wonderful Zooloos Book Tours: For wrap up See here 

Q&A with Bantam Book Worm

 Review and Q&A with Els Ebaert – B for Book Review

Launch events took place in BookHaus, Bristol and the Clifton Village branch of Waterstones in Nov 21

BookHaus launch reading:Book Haus Launch read

Waterstones launch intro

BookHaus Launch reading: Dave Hicks

BookHaus reading number 2

Thanks also to Donna Morfett for a fab chat with Little Miss Morfett available on Audible and BBC Radio Bristol’s Steve Yabsley for two great interviews including a catch up on 4 March 2023.

Audible Little Miss Morfett 

Staff recommendation in my local Waterstones!

please feel free to contact bryan. he writes about nasty stuff, but is nice really.
find him on social media.
New novel: An old tin can - waiting for a publisher to bite.