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After reading a review for Murder Most Fab by Julian Clary I thought I would keep an eye out for it in my local library. In a matter of days I had managed to get myself a copy. Later that evening while Mr H bashed away at his X Box I curled up on the sofa and dived into the book. Having already read a review I was forewarned about the liberal sprinkling of Gay life style references and remembering that this is a book by Julian Clary I would have been foolish to of been surprised by them.
The book begins with a letter of apology to a man named Timothy. The letter goes onto give the reader an insight into what the book contains and captures the interest immediately.
The book follows the life of Johnny Debonair from his humble beginnings in rural Kent to his rather bizarre time living in London; he then gets discovered and starts his television career and we follow him from his humble beginnings as a Saturday morning children's programme presenter to the pinnacle of fame as a drunken Friday night show host and then right back down to the bottom again.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting; the book was like a box of chocolates even though parts of the book were cringingly bad I could not help but continue to stuff myself with the story. I was totally captivated by Johnny's story and I wanted to know every sordid little detail, some of the descriptions of his sexual exploits were more than I needed to know.
While reading the book I could not help but feel sorry for Johnny, he was such a trusting person. The people who were meant to be looking out for him only had there own interests at heart, I could see this and wanted to reach into the book and give him a good shake.
I don't want to give too much of the plot away as I think this is a book that is easier to read than review. Every page is packed with the story; there is not a quiet moment.
One of my favourite characters was Catherine; she is a larger than life nurse who works on the side as an escort. The instant Johnny set eyes on her he falls in love. Unfortunately Catherine is a very bad influence and soon drags Johnny into her way of life, which sets Johnny on to the path of his first murder. Catherine has a vision of a wonderful money fuelled life for them; before Johnny earns the cash she has already spent it. With Catherine's ability to reinvent herself she becomes Johnny's agent when he starts his television career, all the while lining her own pocket. Catherine is ruthless and nothing stands in her way of what she wants.
This book is a brilliant read; it is witty, bitchy, sarcastic, sad and totally addictive. As long as you are not easily offended by the many sexual references then I think is a fantastic way to waste an evening.
After perusing the "just returned" section in my local library, I came across I bright and vividly coloured book that got haphazardly put into my "to borrow" pile without a second glance.
Once home I was surprised to look at the book properly and realised that this is a book written by one of the campest comedians out there, Julian Clary, before reading I was prepared for a little filth in the story, but nothing prepared me for the actual reality of it!
The book I will now review is - "Murder most fab by Julian Clary".
The book starts with a letter of apology and acceptance of his situation to what appears to be Johnny Debonairs true love, Tim.
He asks that he remembers the real him, and not the ridiculous celebrity him, being the toast of Saturday night television, and only hopes that after reading all the tabloid coverage of this story, that he can truly forgive him.
The book then flips right back to Johnny's childhood an rather unusual yet lovely sounding upbringing.
Johnny is the love child born of Alice, a slightly strange and eccentric woman, who enjoys poetry, gardening and naming every creature in her garden, and remembering them all by first name!
After a rather nasty incident involving Alice, some magic mushrooms, her mental health and finally hanging naked from the village clock, Johnny is sent to stay with his well to do grandmother in London, this is where it seems Johnny comes alive, taking in all the excitement of London he relishes living there, but of course all good things must come to an end!
Once back home with his mother he decides that he should get a job, with the role of a gardening assistant becoming available with the stately home belonging to the revered Thornchurch family.
After a few weeks of hard work, an a chance meeting of the son of the family, Tim, the sudden awakening of both their sexual desires becomes apparent, becoming lovers and snatching moments of passion wherever possible,
But with all good Greek tragedies, this love was never meant to be....or was it?
This book was hysterically funny from the start, written with real wit and acerbic tones, you feel you are privy to a real life bitching contest!
The characters seem to be almost caricatures of real people rather than them feeling like people to me, though the "queens" seem to be described and act as someone who is not into that scene would act, with real comedy and referring to each other as "she"!
There is of course a huge amount of sex in this book, with a great proportion of it being man on man, so if easily offended this book is not for you, but for me the sex was described in such a funny way it felt more "Carry on" than carried away!
There a few celebrities mention within the book, but by far my favourite is how Paul O Grady is portrayed, though many of the gay men mentioned seem to be screaming homosexuals, literally try to mount any man that is standing still for too long!
This book has it all sex, murder and at times even prostitution, mix it all up with a wonderful comedic element and this really made the book one of the better books I have read, recommended!
Price wise this is available from www.amazon.co.uk for the sum of £3.99.
Thanks for reading x
I've always liked Julian Clary as a comedian and personality, considered him catty but very clever. Television stars turned writers have mixed success. Generally the comedians fair better than the famous for being famous types. Looking at the cover of Mr. Clary's debut novel, it screamed trashy. 'Murder Most Fab' is presented in a pink and yellow cover that certainly demands attention on the bookshelf in my local library. Never judge a book by it's cover though, so I judged it on my knowledge of the author a 'fabulous' title. This was one I was intrigued to try.
'Murder Most Fab' tells the story of Johnny Debonair, a fictional TV star. Johnny tells us about his childhood, rise to fame and inevitable downfall. Aided by his best friend Catherine, Johnny rises from a nobody with a sordid past to one of the hottest names in television and shows just how ruthless you have to be to stay at the top.
The characters created by Clary are brilliant. Although Johnny is arrogant, greedy and evil at times, he is also a naïve and vunerable character at the same time and as a reader I sympathised with him and wanted him to succeed and be happy in the end. It's crucial, I feel, with any book to be with the central character every step of the way, there's just no point if you don't care. Reading 'Murder Most Fab' I found myself wanted in jump into the book and scream at him not to do things, bit like shouting at the screen when watching a good film. I know they can't hear me, but it's that engaging. Although Johnny is fictional, knowing this was written by Clary, I couldn't help seeing him as this character. He writes with the same wit and mannerisms as when he doing stand up and there's no doubting who has written this, whether intentional or not I think everyone who reads this book can't help but see a little Julian Clary in Johnny Debonair.
The other characters in this novel are equally strong, if perhaps the reader doesn't warm to them quite as much. Johnny's mother is a happy bubbly character, away with the fairies and infuriatingly unflappable, but provides some giggles and great lines. The object of Johnny's affections, toff Timothy Thornchurch is stuffy, well spoken and tied to tradition in a contrast to Johnny's outrageous London lifestyle. His best friend Catherine confused me. Harsh in her manner, playing the bitch with a heart role, I was unsure whether as a reader, I was supposed to like her or not. Johnny did, are we supposed to agree with him?.. because she was a character I hated the whole way through. I won't tell you whether I justified in my thoughts or not, but it would interesting to hear other readers feelings towards this character when reading this.
I must admit, though I wanted to read this book and enjoy it my expectations were low. I expected it to be risque (which it is), funny in places but ultimately lacking in substance. I'm not a snob when it comes to reading, but a like a great plot with a twist. I don't like a book which concentrates so much on detail and setting the scene I'm bored by the time something happens, nor do I like flowery writing, but I do like a challenge. This is an easy read in as far as the language goes which allows you to concentrate your mind on the plot, which by the end has more twists and turns than a game of snakes and ladders. For me, this book is just the right mix.
The novel is really a comment on celebrity, how a lucky break can propel someone to stardom and how their dream can eventually ruin them. It's typical star on a road to self destruction stuff, we know how is goes, it could be an autobiography of a once celebrity. The great thing about this book is though, while I'm sure there's elements of celebrities lives that may have influenced some of it, it's essentially still a fantasy which allows for some more far fetched things to happen. I do like a twist in a story and there are some along the way here, so many in fact that make this book such a scream, but utterly unbelievable.
I have to mention while I enjoyed this book immensely, and recommend it as a 'fab' read, it's not for the faint hearted. If you are easily offended I wouldn't go here. It's sex and drugs and bitching from beginning to end.
I am pleasantly surprised and happy that I found this book such a good read. Julian Clary can count himself as a talented writer as well as a top comedian. I shall look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
This book is available to buy for around £6 online and it bookshops, but much as I liked it, It's not a keeper. If you want to save the pennies see if your library has a copy.
I was browsing books on Amazon a few months ago when I came across this one. I wasn't aware that Julian Clary had written a book, and although I don't mind him as an entertainer he is not one of my favourites if I'm honest. Still, I thought the book looked interesting, and when I came across a copy of it in a charity shop in Edinburgh, I decided to buy it, and looked forward to reading something different from the chick lit I normally go for.
The prologue of the book is a letter from the fabulously named Johnny Debonair (also known as JD and Johnny D throughout different stage of his life) to Timothy. Although we don't yet know either Johnny or Timothy, the letter is written in such a way that we can gauge quite a lot from it... it is apparent that Johnny and Timothy were once lovers. It is also apparent that Johnny is currently in prison for murder. In fact one line of the letter reads 'If we were being picky we might describe me as a serial killer.' We also know that he was once famous and known as 'Mr Friday Night'. What we don't know is how he ended up in prison, and this is where the real story starts.
Johnny tells us about his life story, beginning with his simple upbringing in the countryside with his eccentric mother. We learn that she suffered mental health problems and he spent some time living in London with his grandmother whilst she recovered.
The story then moves on as Johnny takes a job working as a gardener over the summer holidays and meets Timothy Thornchurch, who lives in a grand house in the village with his parents. Johnny and Timothy embark on a romance, but Johnny is devastated when Timothy announces that he's 'not really a queer' and that being in a relationship with a man is not part of his plans for the future.
After this, Johnny starts studying performing arts at college, and moves into a small bedsit in London which is funded by his grandmother. It is here that he meets Catherine, who soon becomes his best friend - and introduces him to prostitution. So barely twenty years of age, Johnny is a rent boy, but how does this lead to him becoming a television star and then a serial killer? You'll just have to read to find out!
~What I thought~
I really didn't know what to expect from this, but I really enjoyed it and found myself getting through the entire book in two days which is fantastic for me, as I'm such a slow reader usually.
I really liked the character of Johnny, and although from the blurb on the back of the book I was expecting him to be a rather cocky, self-centred character, I actually thought he came across as being a little naïve and someone who was easily swept up in crazy ideas. I didn't even particularly dislike him when he became a killer, as bizarre as it sounds, he was still really likeable!
There are lots of other great characters here too, such as best friend Catherine who Johnny adores, but who obviously is using him to some degree. I should also give mention to Sammy and Georgie, two of Johnny's elderly clients who are really well written and very believable.
The book, as you may expect given the author, was quite funny in places, and was fast paced with lots of drama - never a dull moment here! Overall, I don't think that the story was particularly realistic, as some of it was so over the top, but it was still very entertaining throughout, and the silliness only added to that really. I liked that we found out that Johnny was a serial killer right at the beginning as it left a sense of suspense throughout, and I couldn't wait to find out how this really quite sweet young mans life had taken such a dark turn.
One thing I would say, is that it's quite sexually graphic in some places, so if that's not the sort of thing you're comfortable reading, then perhaps this is one to avoid.
So in conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book. It was quick paced, easy to read, very interesting, with twists and turns from the start. Well worth a read!
Buy from Amazon for £5.49
I first came across this book when I was searching to see if Julian Clary had a recent biography out and found that he had written this novel. I was very undecided about reading this at first as I could not have imagined his ever being able to write a novel but I finally took the plunge and I am so glad that I did.
The book is centred around Johnny Debonair who at the start of the book tells us about his life working as a rent boy in London. We learn that he lives which his close friend Catherine and it is her that got him into this life. He was struggling to make ends meet when attending college and was not enjoying his course when he found out that although Catherine was working as a nurse she also spent her evening working as a escort. She made it sound like easy money so Johnny also decided to try it.
Johnny now takes us back to reveal the truth about his childhood and how he had a crazy mother who never really seemed to be living in the real world and how a summer fling with a Timothy Thornchurch had broken his heart and finally made him realise that he was indeed gay. Then we move back to the present time.
Johnny ended his college course and Catherine got sacked from her job so they both went full time on the game. Johnny was now to be known as JD. He managed to secure several regular clients and was making lots of good money which me and Catherine enjoyed spending on drink and drugs. Things took a turn for the worst when one of JD's regular client, an old man called Georgie told him that he was dying from cancer and that he wanted to live out his wildest fantasy before he died of this disease. This fantasy involved JD strangling him whilst they were having sex and therefore murdering Georgie. JD finally got persuaded by Catherine to do this for Georgie as he was offering £20,000. JD was shocked at how he got away with it.
JD's life soon takes another turn when another of his regular clients, Bernard finally fulfils his promise and gets him a job in television which sees him fronting a new children's show. From this JD becomes extremely famous and rich. He and Catherine end up moving to a lovely new apartment and start to live the life of luxury but would his murdering past come back to haunt him and would JD have to dispose of any more people to remain at the top of this fame?
From start to finish I was hooked on this book. For the last week I have missed out on so much sleep as I have been unable to put the book down. I did find that I was forever waiting for him to commit his murder as it seemed to take forever to happen but apart from that the book is wonderful and full of gripping reading and never really seemed to drag or get dull.
There is a lot of graphic detail in the book about Johnny sexual encounters with his client which some may find off putting from the story but at times I did find some of them extremely funny with the descriptions he would give and how his customers would react to them. The story did also highlight to me the fact of how easy it is to let yourself be lead into the world of prostitution, even if it is a high paying profession and Johnny talks about how he would only use rich and safe clients. To me is seems to easy to find yourself addicted to the money and lifestyle.
I found there was plenty of humour in the way that Julian Clary had written the book and at times I was laughing out loud but again at times I was finding what I was reading very sad. He was able to make me feel so many different emotions which I always like when reading a book.
The book has been separated into 4 parts which I personally find pointless as they are no different to what has been going on in the previous parts and the story has not moved to a different time or different character so I find this pointless. There are a total of 35 chapters in the book which are all only short and I was able to easily read 4 or five of them each night in bed.
The book was published by Random House and I managed to pick up my new hardback edition from EBay for just £2.50. I do recommend this book to all people who enjoy a gripping and funny read but can stand the graphic sex talk which appears in some of the chapters.
An excellent Novel by the funny man Julian Clary.
I was intrigued when I discovered that Julian Clary had written a novel as he is one of my favourite entertainers. I put it on my Amazon wishlist and luckily for me it turned up in my Christmas stocking! I was not disappointed at all because, like its author, this book is entertaining, outrageous and a lot of fun.
Murder Most Fab tells the story of Johnny D. He was a boy with a slightly unusual childhood who ultimately became a highly paid and successful entertainer, skipping over a few intervening years as a much sought after rent boy! Johnny's life has always been somewhat alternative and complicated particularly when he is egged on to try out new experiences by his best friend Catherine. (She is a hooker who becomes his manager) As you can imagine, a complex lifestyle (sex, drugs and too much money) lead to complications and there are certain people who are likely to cause Johnny problems. Suddenly murder is on the cards, and it's amazing how one murder leads to another! This book shows that as rapidly as you may rise, you could just as easily fall!
I won't say too much more about the story so as not to spoil the plot but it is a very good read with quite a few twists. The story is told by Johnny and is written in the first person. He comes across as a bit of a hapless victim and seems particularly manipulated by his 'friend' Catherine! I liked his character and it was fascinating to see how one thing leads to another throughout the story. Most of the other characters are intersting and varied although they are probably mostly quite shallow - such are the people who surround Johnny!
It is rather a far fetched tale but nevertheless quite enjoyable. It's a very easy read and with just over 300 pages I read it in just few days. It wasn't quite unputdownable but I did find myself becoming more and more engrossed towards the end.
You have to be quite broadminded to read this book though as there are many quiet graphic descriptions of sexual acts between Johnny and some of his boyfriends. For this reason, this is not a book I would ever consider lending to my mum to read as I think she may be quite shocked. Julian Clary does not leave too much to the imagination! It was interesting to read in the aknowledgements his thanks to his editor Kirsty Fowkes, who he states encouraged and restrained him with great skill and diplomacy! It makes you wonder, if he had not been 'restrained', what he would have come out with! Having said that though, I never expected anything by Julian Clary to be a tame read, and I would not have chosen this book if that was what I was looking for!
A quote on the back cover of the book says that 'Murder Most Fab' is both filthy and very funny. It is fun but you have been warned!
There are a few bonus pages which include an interesting interview with Julian Clary. There are a few questions bout thebook but most questions are just of a general nature.
This book is published by Ebury Press and is available on Amazon for £4.99.
This is Julian Clarys debut novel and a fairly good read it is.
Johnny Debonair (aka JD, aka Johnny D!) grows up with his slightly odd mother and no father in Kent before being taken to stay at his Grandmothers in London when his mother gets a little too 'odd'.
It's here that Johnny begins to get a sense of himself through his Grandmothers more focused attention. Johnny moves back home and embarks on a relationship with the local high society boy before heading to Drama School. This quickly takes a peculiar turn when his new flat mate Catherine, introduces him to a dark and seedy new profession.
As Johnny's life begins to get more and more macabre he is suddenly given an opportunity to start on TV and he quickly becomes the best thing to hit the screen. But a dark past never stays hidden for long and Johnny becomes embroiled in ever more drastic ways of keeping the past a secret.
Clary creates an interesting character in Johnny but - with an air of flamboyance, a penchant for sex and drugs and role as a TV personality - it's not very hard to see where inspiration comes from! Johnny was a likeable character although, whilst it was easy to see how the obvious decline into sex and drugs happened, it all felt a little contrived; did nobody else question what was happening in his life; did he have no conscious to speak of himself?
Catherine could have been a very interesting character, more so that Johnny, but we never really got to know her. She was cold and calculated but no explanation was given to why this was and Johnny, her best friend, never explored this with her.
Another character not really given enough attention was Johnny's Grandmother. Here was the only strong influence in Johnny's life but it lasted for a fleeting moment. I find it hard to believe she would have ended her interest in Johnny the moment he went back to live with his Mother.
Having said all this, the book is enjoyable and raised a good few smiles throughout. It wasn't quite as funny as I would have expected given this is a novel from Julian Clary and the promising premise.
Published by Ebury Press in 2008
Pages: 345 of the actual story, 4 for the interview and 9 for the extracts from Julian Clarys autobiography; A Young Man's Passage
Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm
Cost: RRP is £6.99 although can be found on amazon for around £5.50
© of funkimunki - also posted on ciao
Very very very very funny! I didn't know what to expect when I bought this book and I certainly didn't get what I thought. However it had to be the funniest book I've read for a while. If this is going to be the standard Julian Clary sets then this is a very talented writer. From the very first sentence you have an idea this is going to be an unusual book!
I genuinely didn't want to put it down. I had to read it over 3 nights and wanted to have read it in one go, it was that enjoyable. The character of Johnny Debonair is fabulous, the problem was though, was that I kept picturing Julian Clary himself. Maybe this wasn't a bad thing as he seemed to describe the character very much like himself.
A laugh a minute but with a sad tale underlying about loneliness and how we exclude ourselves from those around us because we chase what we think are our dreams. Fabulous narrative with well formed characters. You really will be able to visualise all of the characters, even the ones you might not like.
Without any experience of a world like this I just let myself settle in the for the ride. Do the same and you shouldn't be disappointed. I look forward to more fiction from Julian Clary.