All posts by maxkinnings


advo_faceI’m very proud to announce the publication of my new novel, SACRIFICE, which is the second thriller to feature blind hostage negotiator, Ed Mallory. The book is published by Quercus Books in paperback and ebook, and the opening chapters can be viewed here (via Amazon where you can of course buy a copy!).

Initial reactions from friends and family are extremely positive which I’m pleased about but the true litmus test is out there in the badlands of the “real world”. As with BAPTISM which is now published in Germany via Goldmann/Random House and rereleased by Quercus, a high concept thriller plot rooted in contemporary concerns is combined with believable characters to create a fast-paced, thrilling ride that will appeal to a broad readership. That’s the intention anyway. I won’t be the judge of whether I’ve succeeded in that endeavour. Let’s just say that those readers who enjoyed BAPTISM shouldn’t be disappointed. I look forward to hearing readers’ reactions to the story, further details of which are below.

Disgraced hedge fund manager Graham Poynter hides shamefully in his Belgravia mansion. He lied, he cheated and he stole but the police and legal authorities are the least of his worries. Poynter and his family have come to the attention of a new style of hacktivist. The Adversary – or Advo – believes that non-violence only works up to a point and as Thomas Jefferson said, “Sometimes the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Jefferson might have added, “and bankers”…

Advo intends to make an example of Poynter as a warning to others in the banking industry who might think they can behave as he has done. The only person who stands between Poynter and his grisly destiny is blind hostage negotiator, Ed Mallory, who must negotiate with a faceless adversary who is hell-bent on exacting retribution on a minority which has gone unpunished for too long.

To read the opening to the book and buy online in paperback or ebook formats, please go to:

To read Advo’s mission statement, go to:

And follow on Twitter at: @__Advo


An Exclusive Special Offer

Baptism2In November, BAPTISM is re-released by Quercus alongside the follow-up, SACRIFICE, the second novel featuring the blind hostage negotiator, Ed Mallory. To mark this occasion, I would like to make an exclusive offer to members of my Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Linkedin networks. If you read BAPTISM and post a reader review on either Goodreads or Amazon, I will send you a personally signed copy of SACRIFICE absolutely free of charge.


All you have to do to take advantage of this offer is direct message me via any of the social networks listed above with a link to the review in question and a postal address for me to forward your free signed book. This is not an attempt to buy good publicity; you’ll get a free copy of Sacrifice regardless of the criticism contained in the review. I’m confident that both books will appeal to crime and thriller readers so please feel free to express yourself as you would writing a review of any novel. The review can be as long or as short as you like.

Please share this with friends or associates who are crime/thriller fans. As a preview of SACRIFICE, the first three chapters of the novel are now available to read here. Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Writing For New Audiences

Dig_humanities_logoOn July 9th, I hosted a workshop at the Digital Humanities @ Oxford Summer School 2013. The event’s organiser, Pip Willcox, asked me to speak about “Writing For New Audiences” and I’m extremely grateful to her for allowing me the opportunity to do so. It was an enjoyable experience to step outside my usual comfort zone of writing novels and screenplays, and teaching creative writing at Brunel University. In preparation for the workshop, I set about considering the nature of writing in the digital realm and also the audiences – the end users or consumers – for whom one writes. While the talk was aimed specifically at the audience of arts and humanities academics at the summer school, hopefully it might be of interest to others who write and present their work on the web. You can watch it here:

Guardian Masterclass in Screen Adaptation

Guardian_MasterclassOn of September 21st and 22nd I’ve been asked to host a Guardian Masterclass in screen adaptation. This comes at an interesting time for me because I’m currently working on an adaptation of my 2012 novel, Baptism, for director, Phil Hawkins. I’ve adapted all of my novels into screenplays. My first novel, Hitman, was also my first film script. I adapted it out of necessity. A producer was interested in making the film of the book and didn’t have enough initial funds to commission a screenwriter. So I thought to myself, how hard can it be? I’d already done the hard part – or so I thought. I’d written the book. There was the story between two nice glossy book covers. All I needed to do was pick and choose the best bits, lash it all together and hey presto – film adaptation. It didn’t quite turn out like that of course. The Hitman project has gone through about five different directors and about double that in terms of producers. There are three distinct versions of the script, each of these having various different drafts. There are numerous treatments and outlines and despite the book being published over thirteen years ago and there being some, only very recent, interest from a producer, the film remains unproduced. However, the experience of adapting Hitman and the next book I published, The Fixer, has provided me with my own personalised eleven year masterclass in screen adaptation and the associated independent film industry.

I have written and co-written quite a few original screenplays. A couple of them have even been produced. I’ve been commissioned by various film, television and digital games companies to develop scripts but, for me, and I think for any writer of fiction who also has aspirations as a screenwriter, there’s something about the adapted screenplay that remains uniquely special.

Most of my years as a screenwriter have coincided with my time lecturing on the Creative Writing programme at Brunel University. I have lectured and tutored undergraduate, postgraduate and research students in all forms of screenwriting and script development. This has made me read many books about screenwriting and think long and hard about screen narratives. All of this has, hopefully, made me improve as a screenwriter and a screenwriting theorist and practitioner.

What I hope to do in this Masterclass is impart everything that I’ve learned over my eleven year screenwriting odyssey and hopefully help students develop their own screen adaptations as well as answer questions – as best I can – regarding the theory and practice of screen adaptation and screenwriting generally. I can also reflect on the problems, pitfalls, disasters and funny moments that have accompanied my own  experiences. I will also be joined by award-winning director/producer, Phil Hawkins, who has his own unique insight and experience of adapting novels for the screen.

For further details of the Masterclass and to book on-line, please go to:

Hitman Rides Again

Click on the image to read the first chapter and buy on-line at

“A non-stop sprint to the end… a highly accomplished, confident first novel.” The Times

“The entertainment factor is high in this piece of pure pulp fiction…” The Guardian

“A black comic homage to William S Burroughs.” The Daily Telegraph

“Bonkers as you like and more fun than chasing the dragon with the Happy Mondays.” The List

“Imagine Carl Hiaasen meets Hunter S Thompson – but funnier and with more drugs. Superb.” Front Magazine.

Hitman was published by Hodder & Stoughton (Flame) in January 2000. Almost exactly ten years before, I had started my career in the advertising industry and give or take a couple of extended absences, firstly to travel around India, Thailand and Nepal for six months and secondly to relocate to Capetown for a year with my soon-to-be-wife, I had spent the intervening years planning and buying media on behalf of concert promoters, comedy and theatre producers, record companies and other assorted entertainment industry types. It had been fun but I knew that it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I wanted to write.

I had written a couple of manuscripts in the first half of the decade. The first was on off-beat rights-of-passage novel set in Ladbroke Grove and the second was a travelogue of my time in Asia but I hadn’t “found my voice” as I was often told one had to do. I read a lot of books in the nineties; many of them were American and written by the “Beats”. I was particularly drawn to the work of William Burroughs. Not only did his writing fascinate me but his life represented the perfect embodiment of the “outlaw writer”. His philosophy on life seemed to be, on the one hand, grotesque and deranged, and on the other, down-to-earth, level-headed and pragmatic. And his thorough rejection of the straight life – in all things – was appealing to a young man who had experienced, as he had, a secure – very straight – middle-class childhood.

J.G. Ballard – another literary hero – described Burroughs as “Hitman for the apocalypse” and there was something about the expression that resonated with me. I had the title of my novel before I even had the story. In May 1995, I sat down at my usual writing table in Capetown Central Library and with no clue as to how the story might progress, I wrote: “I’m doing sixty down Highgate Hill and the Laughy Woman is doing my head in.” I wanted to create a story that sounded like it was being spoken to a close friend about something strange, surreal, slightly Burroughsian. And as with Burroughs’s best writing, I also wanted it to be funny and satirical, in a dark off-kilter sort of way. I’ll let others be the judge of whether I succeeded in any of this.

The book received some strong reviews and one in The Daily Telegraph, that nailed my initial intention. I’m excited that Hitman is going to live again as an e-book (complete with new cover design) and I’ll be interested to hear what people think of it this time around. I might even give it a read myself.