‘Roofworld’ And ‘Spanky’ Are Both Back

Reading & Writing



‘The lightness of the author’s touch conceals an underlying narrative of alienation,’ fellow author Joanne Harris says about me, adding, ‘perhaps this is why, in spite of having won countless genre awards, he has never received the mainstream acclaim he so deserves. Perhaps it is the sheer scope and variety of his output that continue to defy categorisation.’

Yeah, easy for her to say. But say it she did, and very kindly in one of two new forewords to the e-book edition of ‘Roofworld’, now available on Kindle for a measly £2.99.


I wonder how they’ll read now. Are they period pieces? As your writing becomes more refined you disappoint those readers who were simply enjoying your plainly-worded genre romps. And now here you are years later with your heavy themes and big ideas and all they want is your early stuff. It’s you who changed, not them. But how wonderful to see my books back in print, all with new introductions and covers – twenty of them in all, including a new collection of stories.

I haven’t read the book in years, and frankly am nervous of doing so. One of the things I stupidly realised after writing the book is that London is on a slope, drifting down from Hampstead to the river basin. But I know there’s a lot of it I’ll still like. I had a review at the time which said;

‘It’s rich with startling imagery, a brooding and highly entertaining depiction of a seductive shadow city’ – Kirkus (US)


My Faustian thriller ‘Spanky’ has also returned to print this week as an e-book.

If it’s not one you’re familiar with, it’s about a hopelessly shy young man who meets his amoral demonic alter-ego and is taught how to have everything and everyone – but there is a terrible price to pay for his success. This is a modern-day take on the Faust legend, with a psychological twist and a rather outrageous, charismatic lead. The novel was a big success for me, partly because of its earlier raunchy cover, and was very nearly made into a movie by the charming Guillermo del Toro, who with my permission re-used his own Spanky designs for the film in ‘Blade 2’.

I almost wrote a sequel. In fact there is a short story in one of my upcoming republished collections called ‘Spanky’s Back In Town, which works as a nice postscript to the novel.

‘From the first line to the last, ‘Spanky’ is erotic, intelligent and beautiful – wins our Stiffy Of The Week Award’ – Evening Standard

‘Spanky’ is available from Amazon with new introductions and cover, priced just £2.99.

In quite a few of these new releases you can see the roots and growth (and often the actual characters) of the Peculiar Crimes Unit forming in my head. It’s as if I had a huge map unfolding bit by bit over time that would make up my version of the world.

If you never read these, you may find a different side of my writing here.


7 comments on “‘Roofworld’ And ‘Spanky’ Are Both Back”

  1. John Howard says:

    I picked up B & M as my first introduction your writing and, having enjoyed it, went all the way back and have stayed ever since. I think I am like a lot of your core readers who “read books” rather than follow the bestseller fashion or the TV book clubs that have sprung up. As has been said many times in the blog comments, more power to your elbow. ( But we are quite happy for you to enjoy Barcelona et all. )

  2. Phil Gray says:

    Very pleased to see it on my Kindle this morning 🙂 And yes, I do exactly the same as Joanne when I visit London – spend half my time checking out the skyline for the zip wires 🙂

  3. Bangbang!! says:

    “Roofworld” was the first of your books that I read back in the mid nineties and I’ve read everything ever since. I didn’t always keep them then as I moved around a lot but I’ve tried to find as many as I can since then. I still really love “Disturbia”, though I seem to remember you saying you weren’t keen on it. It was the book that first got me interested in the history of London and the unusual side of the city that has made your books so unique. So thank you for that.

    My wife just gave me her old kindle so now I can read this amazing back catalogue on the move a lot more easily.

  4. Stuart Williams says:

    It’s great news that Roofworld is available again, Chris. I remember seeing the promo film/video for the book at the cinema, but I’m sure that I’d read something about it beforehand, maybe in one of those free magazines that used to be in dispensers outside stations. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which kickstarted my interest in London arcana. I’d only been in London for about 18 months and the book changed my impression of London from a place of anxiety and mistrust to one of excitement and possibilities and I have been reading your work ever since… I even have a copy of Menz Insana in the loft!

    I’m very much looking forward to reading my way through them all again.

  5. Ford says:

    Just downloaded the first two. Have you put a “schedule of publication/issue”? Glad to see them available, as I no longer got print versions of the pre-B&M books.

  6. Jan says:

    Still my best favourite one.Don’t roll your eyes/foam at the mouth/grit your teeth Mr. F.

    I tell you what though Chris reading it now you can feel the difference in the writing between a younger, less formed, more optimistic(might be wrong about that) young man and the grumpy old bloke who is getting to be like his most famous characters!…..

  7. Davem says:

    Chris, ‘Frightened’ does not seem to be available for download.

    Did I misread the release date?

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