I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for; Shaking Hands With The Devil by Bryan J Mason. I really like the sound of this book and the cover is very striking, I can’t wait to share it with you all, plus I have an exclusive book excerpt to tempt you with.

About the Book

Shaking Hands With The Devil by Bryan J Mason.



In this darkly comic novel, Clifton Gentle is an ordinary man without much to distinguish him. Not much, that is, apart from being a serial killer who is leaving bits of his young male victims scattered around North London.

DCI Dave Hicks is the larger than life policeman determined to catch him. His attempts to find ‘the nutter’ through a combination of spoonerisms, personal abuse and a belief that something will turn up don’t go well. All that turns up are yet more body parts.

In a sleazy London dogged by growing squalor and an IRA bombing campaign in the last days of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership, the gruesome murders spur an over-the-top media and merchandising frenzy.

The hunt becomes an increasingly personal one and a race against the clock as Clifton, Dave Hicks, a would-be victim, and a copycat killer each try to uncover what – or who – they hold responsible for their own problems.

Buy Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shaking-Hands-Devil-Bryan-Mason-ebook/dp/B09GKQF66Z

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Shaking-Hands-Devil-Bryan-Mason-ebook/dp/B09GKQF66Z

Book Excerpt

Arriving at Mitre Street, Dave noticed a small crowd outside the fried chicken takeaway, apparently waiting for a bus. Getting closer he saw that, without exception, they were avoiding the shelter and were instead pressing themselves against the wall, peering up into the air. A patrol car was already on hand, parked in front of a double decker bus.

‘Detective Chief Inspector!’ one of the patrolmen saluted Dave. ‘One of the passengers over there reported seeing something suspicious on top of the shelter.’

‘Show me the passenger. I want to ask a few questions first.’

A WPC led a white-haired old lady over and introduced her as a Mrs Christie.

‘Good afternoon, Mrs Crippen, and may I first of all thank you for reporting this so promptly.’ A little courtesy never goes amiss, he thought, and Dave usually laid it on with a heavy lead trowel. ‘If only every member of the public were so watchful, we wouldn’t have any crimes in the first place.’

‘I never bloody did it, you great fool,’ she said indignantly. No wonder people didn’t like the police these days, accusing the first person that came along.

‘All I did was look out of the bleeding bus window, minding me own bloody business, when I sees it on the top of this here shelter.’

Dave, unabashed, continued to smile serenely.

‘And what exactly did you see? What did it look like to you?’

Mrs Christie became even crosser.

‘Same as it bloody well looks like to anyone with a pair of eyes and some brains in their head,’ she said, jabbing her finger in his face. ‘Why don’t you bloody well go and have a look for yourself instead of asking me the same old questions this silly girl has already?’ With a jerk of her head, she indicated the young WPC smirking beside her. ‘It’s a bloody arm, all horrible and bloody.’ Her voice was loud enough for the small crowd to hear, and they pressed excitedly forward. Dave turned to the WPC.

‘Why didn’t you say that you’d already questioned this lady?’ The WPC started to answer but was cut short. ‘Now do something useful. Get this crowd back and have a ladder brought along. I want to take a butcher’s myself.’

A squeal of tyres announced the arrival of another patrol car and Dave organised the operation in a loud voice designed to specifically impress bystanders. In time a ladder was clumsily edged out of the door of the fried chicken shop, cracking a pane of glass, and Dave shakily began to climb up the rungs.

The crowd were buzzing with anticipation.

‘It’s probably some dog that wouldn’t go into the fryer all in one go,’ someone said. The manager, already upset at the damage done to the shop window, took exception and hit him. A scuffle broke out and bodies knocked against the ladder, jarring the bulky figure of Hicks halfway up.

‘Shut up, the lot of you! If I fall off this ladder, you’re all under arrest,’ he bellowed.

‘On what charge?’ asked a man.

‘Causing a fray,’ said Dave, He had never quite understood what a ‘fray’ was, although he had charged people for it on enough occasions. ‘Now, stand back while I get onto this roof.’

On top of the rickety corrugated metal shelter there were so many objects that he at first thought it was a false alarm and that there was no arm at all. (He could put that in his report later on; ‘false alarm; no arm’). Several empty beer cans, one soiled training shoe, a ubiquitous traffic cone and several greasy orange cardboard cartons from the takeaway chicken place lay strewn all over the place, virtually covering every spare inch. Teetering precariously on the very edge of the roof, Dave began to work his way over nervously and very slowly to the middle; it began to buckle ominously, straining under the beleaguered man’s great weight. At first he couldn’t see anything of interest as cans and debris seemed to impede his every step. He kicked a few cartons out of his path, forming a delightful trompe l’oeil of late 1980s life. And then there it was.

Sticking out of a black plastic sack a hand and length of arm up to the forearm stretched out as though greedily reaching for a discarded chicken bone. It appeared to have been thrown onto the roof and broken free of the bag on impact. Dave wobbled and looked back at the police officers on the ground.

‘There’s an arm up here. Give me a hand.’

‘Why, are you collecting the set?’ shouted the man who had made the remark about the dog.

‘Arrest that man,’ barked Dave.

‘On what charge?’ asked the PC, squinting.

‘Taking the piss,’ he replied, climbing gingerly down the ladder. He was really beginning to dislike the nutter.

About the Author

Bryan J Mason wrote his black comedy about a serial killer in the late 1980s, but reluctantly put it away in a drawer after his agent narrowly failed to get it published. He concluded that he was a failed author, so might as well be a failure at something else instead. However, every ten years or so he dug it out and read it and each time he did was surprised to find that he still found it funny. He has now managed to get it published after making some changes, including firmly placing the action in the late ʼ80s and early ʼ90s for today’s reader.

He has worked as a brush salesman and rent collector, made sound effects for BBC Radio and been a tax inspector and occasional actor. He writes regular theatre reviews for StageTalk Magazine and Bristol 24/7.

He is a member of the Crime Writers Association and currently working on a new novel featuring a Jewish detective investigating a series of serial killings in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, called An old Tin Can.

Bryan lives in Bristol with his wife and has two children in their twenties.

Social Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bryanjmason89/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bryanjmason/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BryanJMason

Website: www.bryanjmason.com

Follow the Tour

A big thank you to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for the invite to this tour, do check out the other amazing stops on the tour.


2 thoughts on “Shaking Hands With The Devil by Bryan J Mason ~ Book Excerpt.

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