A selection from Amazon, Goodreads, FaceBook, Twitter etc. With thanks to everyone who took the time to give feedback.
Comedic and menacing – Mwiltshire
I finished this book late last night (four sessions of reading into the early hours suggest I didn’t want to put it down) – I enjoyed the wit and the wordplay, the richness of language and denouement. As a reader I was taken to places I didn’t expect and to an ending I’d not anticipated. The author expertly combines comedy with tiptoeing into the sinister underbelly of society, scratch the veneer etc. A great read.
Complete Page Turner – A Ettridge
Brilliant offering by this first time author, had me hooked from page 1! Looking forward to reading more.
Outrageous Comic Detective Tale – ShakingHands
Outrageously funny with crackling wit on nearly every page. I didn’t think a novel about a serial killer could make me laugh, but this hits the spot. Can’t wait to share it and look out for the next one by this author
A wonderful Romp – A Ursell
A wonderful romp and a great page turner as Clifton and DCI Dave Hicks chase each other through sleazy 1980’s London. Amusing and intriguing to the end.
Well written and highly cinematic – could visualise Clifton and Hicks, their haunts, habits and antics all too clearly! Great twisted end.
Horribly Hysterical – Kindle Customer Paula
Two men, almost the antithesis of each other, both a bit of a joke to those with whom they interact. There’s Clifton Gentle, slender, solitary, abstemious, colourless in appearance and Dave Hicks, obese, indulgent, colourful in appearance and language. The main factor which divides them, though, is that Clifton is a serial killer and Dave the detective tasked with finding him and putting a stop to his activities.
We know whodunnit, the big question here is whether or not ham-fisted Hicks can actually live up to the extravagant claims he’s made to the Force and the Media and find Gentle before any more body parts are liberally strewn around North London. There’s a darkly-comic tone to the tale as Gentle, who works in Human Resources by day and seeks human resources for his own ends by night, becomes dissatisfied with the efforts of the dozy detective to find him and decides to take matters into his own hands; not to mention the small matters of a copycat killer and an almost-victim with their own agendas to pursue.
Author Bryan J Mason constructs the narrative with a tight control, bringing the various characters right where he wants them and not before he wants them there. The evocation of London at the end of the 1980s struck exactly the right note with me, a North Londoner who hasn’t lived there for many years, while the mentions of the politicians, the IRA bombing campaign, Desert Orchid and the Cheltenham Gold Cup brought back vividly the feel of the times. This is not my usual kind of read, but I’m so glad that I saw it, liked the look and read it. Follow up my leads, as Hicks would say, and read it too.
Full of black humour – Deb’s book reviews
I was offered the opportunity to read this book some time ago & what a fun read it was! Full of black humour, so right up my street.
Clifton Gentle is a grey, nondescript man, who happens to be a serial killer. DCI Dave Hicks is on the case, unfortunately he believes his own publicity & has certainly been promoted beyond his capabilities. His whole team, including senior officers, see him as a buffoon but somehow he gets the job done. Luck is on his side & as for his misappropriation of words, it’s hilarious; think Del Boy from Only Fools & Horses.
A great read; pacy & written with marvellous wit despite the subject matter. There are some gory descriptions but, to be honest, they are written in such a way that you have a wry smile & imagine the scenes & sound effects!
First I’ve read by this author & I can’t wait for the next. Recommended.
A thriller with a great twist – Kirasmam
I loved the premise of this book, the ordinary nondescript man who just happens to be a serial killer and his nemesis, the buffoonish DCI Dave Hicks who is determined to catch his man. The descriptions of both men are so realistic I could easily picture them in my head, especially Hicks with his manners, annoying habits and the way he irritates his colleagues.
While this story begins as a simple case of cope versus killer, this soon becomes more than that with the introduction of a couple of other characters. The wit of this writer is visible on every page, so combined with the grisly murders, the drama of will Clifton Gentle evade capture and the build up of action makes this book a great read. This is the first I’ve read by Bryan J Mason but I know it certainly won’t be the last.
Unusual for all the right reasons – Bobs and Books reviews
Ooh I liked this. Unusual for all the right reasons. No spoilers necessary here as we know very early on that our killer is Clifton Gentle. I think this is quite possibly THE best serial killer name I’ve ever heard.
Some truly brilliant laugh out loud moments in this and its incredibly quick witted and humorous. None of this detracts from the plotline of Hicks trying to solve the crime.
High in drama, and liked the 80s time period.
One that’ll keep you on your toes until the final line.
Nostalgic and very humorous – Howard Embery Tregolls Lodge BookClub
Why this excellent debut book was put aside for so many years !!
The cop Hicks and his dietary needs should have given him a coronary in the early stages!
The character Gentle more than goes head to head with Hicks
The wit is excellent the settings equal as good
Let’s hope more books will be written by Bryan as a club we will get.
A satirical tale from a master wit at his quirky, provocative best – Crime Fiction Critic
I’ve been remiss in not posting this review of Shaking Hands with the Devil by Bryan J. Mason sooner. It certainly offers something quite new as far as serial killer novels go. As soon as I started reading, I fell in love with the way Mason wrote this book—from the point-of-views of Clifton Gentle, the serial killer—who’s resplendent with quirks and a smidge of mad, and the annoyingly arrogant but inept DCI Dave Hicks.
If you enjoy your serial killer novels with a healthy dose of dark comedy, Shaking Hands with the Devil by Bryan J. Mason is the book for you. I very much enjoyed this book. There’s a definite sense of wit and lightness in it, but it reminds us that our impressions of people may not always be correct, that people’s personalities come in various shades of grey and can often surprise us. This isn’t a whodunit, as we meet villain, Clifton Gentle, our serial killer, on the opening pages. The plot centers on whether the largely inept, and arrogantly and pompously boastful Detective Chief Inspector Dave Hicks, can identify and arrest the suspect, leaving body parts strewn willy-nilly around his patch in London.
What I liked most about Shaking Hands with the Devil was the same thing I like about the movie Dumb and Dumber. While I rarely like slapstick comedy, in the film, the two imbecilic best friends in the film are so relentlessly stupid that it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious. In this novel, instead of two imbecilic best friends, we have Clifton Gentle and Dave Hicks, two quirky men who in their own rights are so relentlessly half-witted that it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious. The deeper into the book we go, the more absurdly cerebrally challenged they reveal themselves to be.
There’s a sense of predictability here and I think readers will clearly see where this book’s going, but Mason also throws in some surprises. I felt the plot probably wasn’t as robust as I typically like, but whatever its flaws, the book gives you no chance to get bored. The characters are uniformly interesting and Mason does a fine job with offering the reader some great background texture and layers of complexity. That helps us understand why the main characters are who they are and behave as they do.
Shaking Hands with the Devil, while a work of fiction, is a bit of a study in culture and society. Bryan J. Mason wrote this novel in the late 1980s, “but reluctantly put it away in a drawer after his agent narrowly failed to get it published.” As you read the book, you notice immediately the story is set at a time before the stifling contemporary onset of political correctness that demands we all conform to accepted language and practices that don’t risk offending the political sensibilities of the overly sensitive.
A strange mixture of noir and slapstick – Fullybooked2017.c0m