“There’s real humour running through the book and it’s fascinatingly off-the-wall…the beauty of it is that [Kinnings] has managed to write a novel on the subject of fame that’s just as frivolous and addictive as the reality TV it trashes.” Mirror
“A disturbingly topical satire on celebrity culture.” Heat
“A twisted gasp-a-minute page turner for our times.” Hello
“Trashy, insightful and frustratingly addictive.” Jockey Slut
If Hitman was an off-beat comedy thriller influenced by Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs and Hunter S Thompson, The Fixer, while written in a similar style, drew its inspiration from writers such as Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis. I had spent the previous three years or so working at an advertising and marketing agency in Soho whose clients were theatre and comedy producers. Two comedy producers that I had worked for, in various capacities, were self-styled “bad boys” who painted themselves as hard-nosed deal makers who would stop at nothing to drive a hard bargain on behalf of their comedy clients. In truth, it was all a front – as is so much of the bluster in the world of show business – but I decided that I wanted to create a character in whom I could amplify their worst characteristics for comic and satirical effect.
When I first started to write The Fixer in 1999, it was the first season of Channel 4’s Big Brother and the concept of taking unlikely people and elevating them to the status of celebrities for the enjoyment of the braying public was something still new and exciting. The premise that I created for The Fixer was that of a show business agent who, for his own twisted amusement, chooses to manage a notorious murderer in order to elevate him to the status of a serial killing celebrity.
With Hitman I had had no deadlines to work to, spending nearly three years writing the book. The Fixer, on the other hand, was the second book of a two book contract and I had just over a year to write it in order to meet the publishing deadline. Working full-time as I was, it meant that the book was written during evenings, early mornings, and much of it commuting to and from Soho from south London on the Tube, a stretch of Tube line that would take centre stage in Baptism some years later.
The anti-hero of The Fixer is Tobe Darling, a character I particularly enjoyed creating. Tobe is morally repellent and yet, I wanted him to be someone who would be redeemed in the eyes of the reader because he is funny, often because what he says contains fundamental truths about the entertainment industry and society’s fixation with celebrity. Tobe’s misanthropy is something that I can feel in myself and writing an entire novel in his voice, was maybe something of an exorcism. I’ve often thought I might write something else as him.
Now released as an e-book in July 2013, I hope that Tobe Darling’s caustic observations on the nature of the show business dream are as relevant as ever. I suspect they are.