All posts by maxkinnings

Tribute to Rik

Mr_RichardAt some point in the future – and I can’t be sure when exactly as the emotions are still raw – I intend to write about my ten year friendship with Rik. Whether it will be a memoir of some sort or something more personal based on the stories and scripts we wrote together, I have no idea. But in the meantime, here’s a short tribute that I was asked to write for Express Magazine at Brunel University where I’ve been involved in the establishment of the Rik Mayall Comedy Genius Award that will be given – occasionally and only when truly deserved – to a student that displays comedy genius in the spirit of the great man himself.

Reviews for the US Publication of Baptism

baptism_USBaptism has received an excellent reception in the US following its publication there in February. Here are some links to trade and blog reviews. Please click on the titles to link to the full reviews. To read David Marshall’s interview with me about the writing of both Baptism and Sacrifice, please see the “Thinking About Books” review below.

Publishers Weekly *Starred Review* 

“Kinnings (The Fixer) offers keen insights into the psychological ramifications of desperate hostage situations as he ratchets up the tension to near-unbearable levels.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A greased-lightning thriller that will doubtless make a perfect summer movie—preferably one to sit through on the hottest day of the year.”

San Francisco Book Review

Baptism by Max Kinnings is a top class thriller…The author triumphantly carries all before him.”

Thinking About Books

Baptism proves to be excellent entertainment and well worth reading.”

Here is an interview with yours truly by David Marshall of Thinking About Books.

Book Geek

“The whole book is a great spin on terrorism and the ‘conventional’ perceptions of perpetrators. A real page turner of a book. Action and emotion and adrenaline packed.”

Read Me Deadly

“Kinnings draws compelling psychological portraits of his characters…Riveting; the hours will fly by.”

Please also check out the growing number of four and five star reviews of Baptism on (along with a couple of dodgy ones too!).

Sacrifice Reviews

sacrificeHere is a round-up of recent crime/thriller blog reviews for SACRIFICE. Please click on the blog title to link to the full review. If you are a crime/thriller reviewer and would like a review copy of the novel, please email me via the ‘contacts’ page.

Crime Thriller Girl

“The tension starts high and doesn’t wane as the story unfolds…A non-stop rollercoaster ride from start to finish. Highly recommended.” *February 2014 Thriller of the Month*

“Another deftly crafted, page-turning thriller…from an author who knows what he’s doing.”

This review is also available on reviewer Sophie Scott’s Literary Consort blog here:


“A few pages in and guess what? Turns out I bloody love hostage stories. Who knew, eh?”

Thinking About Books

“I find Sacrifice more compelling because it takes its time to capture and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of all involved…The result is highly readable and strongly recommended.”

Here is an interview with yours truly by David Marshall of Thinking About Books.

SHOTS: Crime & Thriller Ezine

“The intricacies of hostage negotiation are well explored and gripping to read…the plot drives forward relentlessly to produce a page-turner that rarely takes its foot off the gas.”

The Book Geek

“Another excellent, gripping story with a gorgeous main character.” 

An American Baptism

baptism_USJohn Godey’s The Taking of Pelham 123 was an influence on Baptism only in as much as I knew that if I was going to create a story about a hijack on the London Underground, there were going to be comparisons. But I also knew that the similarities would be superficial because – while I had always loved the 1974 film adaptation starring Walter Matthau – the story that I wanted to create was very different from the story of a gang of criminals who wanted to hold New York City to ransom to the tune of “one million dollars”.

Baptism is very much a London story and one that is decidedly post 9/11 – and post 7/7 for that matter too. It was inspired in part by my experience of being trapped on the Tube train behind the one in which Jean Charles de Menezes was mistaken for a terrorist and shot by armed police officers in 2005, a couple of weeks after the 7/7 bombings, and the day after another four bombers had failed to detonate their explosives on Tube trains. Sitting there in a crowded Tube carriage for nearly an hour as the driver of the train tried to keep the passengers calm, while clearly nervous himself at what might be taking place further up the tunnel, was something that I knew I would want to write about at some stage. Perhaps subconsciously influenced by watching The Taking of Pelham 123 as a child, I had always thought how easy it would be to hijack a London Tube train. But why would anyone want to? The rail network beneath London is housed in some of the deepest narrowest railway tunnels in the world. Escape would be impossible. Wouldn’t it?

At the time that I ended up trapped on that Tube train in 2005, I was already writing a story featuring hostage negotiator, Ed Mallory. It wasn’t a bad story but I knew that a hostage crisis on the London Underground was going to be an altogether more scary proposition, playing on people’s primal fears and claustrophobia. So I set about writing Baptism. It took a while. The characters and plot changed quite a few times before the final draft was complete. And now I’m pleased to see the book published in the US and hope that American readers will enjoy a story that takes them to a dark nerve-jangling place deep beneath the streets of London and keeps them guessing right up until the final page.

Baptism is published in hardback by Quercus USA.

Sacrifice Audio Book and Reviews


Sacrifice is released this month as a 9 x CD box set or audio download by Clipper/WF Howes. The story is read by actor and voice artist David Bauckham and is available to buy here.

You wait for a Sacrifice review and then two come along at the same time. So I thought I’d share them with you. The first is by The Book Geek:

The second is by Sophie Scott on her Literary Consort blog:

And they both like it! The comment that I have heard most from those who have read Sacrifice so far is that they prefer it to Baptism. If Sacrifice is a better read then maybe it’s something to do with me getting better at writing this style of novel. Baptism took five years – off and on – while Sacrifice was written in a sustained burst of activity over about nine months. Maybe this challenges the wisdom that spending a long time on a book will make it better. I’ve always written my best work – or best in my opinion – while facing a fast-approaching deadline. Then again, not everyone feels a compulsion to work harder when faced with a deadline; Douglas Adams said of his love of deadlines: “I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

Baptism US receives a starred review in Publishers Weekly

The US version of Baptism which is released on February 4th has received a prestigious “starred review” in the US book selling bible, Publishers Weekly. A single red star is awarded to “books of exceptional merit”. This bodes very well for the forthcoming US publication.

Below is a screenshot of the review. To read on the PW website, please go here: