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Paul Burston is the bestselling author of Shameless, Lovers and Losers and Star People, as well as editor of several short story collections and non-fiction about the UK gay scene. He was gay correspondent for Time Out for many years and is the founder and host of the Polari LGBT Literary Salon at the Southbank Centre.
Author photo © Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris
Fabulously darker than dark, this psychological thriller hurls a firecracker into online relationships and stands watching, waiting for the fallout. Author Tom is somewhat addicted to social media, when one particular follower starts harassing him, Tom calls the police, but will a restraining order magic his problems away? The first few pages sent an icy shiver of foreboding coursing through me. Travelling immediately from that knowledge, to eight months previously set certain thoughts and questions quivering. I believe that you don’t have to like a character in a novel to love them, and for me that was the case here. Paul Burston has created fascinating, flawed characters and the more I got to know them, the further I was sucked into the story. Social media, judgement, victimisation, our social and personal responsibility for each other, all gather on the page waiting your thoughts. The Closer I Get is a fiercely provocative novel, and as well as being a boldly entertaining read, it really, really made me think.
‘The Black Path’ is absorbing and clever, with several stories and strands weaving into one thrilling and dramatic tale. Helen fights a feeling of abandonment, her father Richard was murdered on the nearby Black Path when she was a child and her husband Owen is fighting for his country in Afghanistan. As contact from her husband starts to peter out, Helen finds support and understanding from a stranger. Paul Burston ensures an emotional connection to both Helen and Owen by including both their tales, describing thoughts and feelings as each fights their own internal war in countries far apart. Interspersed between the two tales are statements and newspaper articles, pushing forward new perspectives, allowing your questioning hackles to rise. More information is available to the reader, than either Helen or Owen, consequently there were times when I wanted to shake Helen, caution and forewarn her. The Black Path itself prowls in the background casting a menacing shadow as events start to spin towards their conclusion. ‘The Black Path’ is an emotional, gripping tale full of secrets waiting to be revealed, waiting for revenge. ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from Paul’s agent Sophie Hicks: 'My jaw dropped when I read Paul Burston's new novel The Black Path, which is a dark tale of love, lies and obsession and delves into the gritty secrets people keep and questions how well we really know those closest to us. It's so different from Paul's previous novels and marks an exciting change of direction for Paul Burston and I devoured it in one sitting. In The Black Path we see Paul take a massive leap both in the ambition and execution of this deliciously creepy, sinister novel. I absolutely loved this book and it will appeal to fans of domestic noir and to everyone who has ever wondered about the secrets people keep. Paul Burston is writing at the top of his game and I can't wait for him to finish his next novel.' ~ Sophie, Sophie Hicks Agency
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological, social-media thriller ... NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER LONGLISTED for the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize 'Another dark banger from the Orenda Books stable ... A brilliant, twisty cat-and-mouse book about fandom and obsession' Erin Kelly 'Brilliantly twisty. I loved it' Lisa Jewell Tom is a successful author, but he's struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won't leave him alone. Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has. When she's hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing. But things aren't really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he's letting on. A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one 'like' away... 'A gripping ride through the heartlands of need and hurt. Even at his most thrilling, Paul Burston never loses his sense of real pain and suffering' Philip Hensher 'As perfect a thriller as you'll read all year' Caz Frear 'This book will make you rethink your social media obsession. Dangerous from page one, lit by bursts of black humour, ultimately honest about the frailty of ego and the masks we all wear. Terrifically readable' Sarah Hilary 'A sucker-punch of a twist that took my breath away! Absurdly gripping, and enough to unnerve anyone who has ever spent any time online' Angela Clarke So good. Such brilliant characters. Great premise and a thrilling read' Nina Pottell, Prima 'Chillingly recognisable. A delicious tour de force' Alex Marwood 'Compelling, creepy and completely believable' Mel McGrath 'Dark, devious and with a growing sense of dread' Neil Broadfoot 'Brilliantly written, tense and compelling' Amanda Jennings 'Dark twisty fiction at its very best' SJI Holliday 'One of the best books you'll read this year' Ed James 'Effortlessly readable, intensely chilling. That ending floored me' Chris Whitaker 'Unsettling. Taut. Menacing. Burston puts the killer into killer twist' Jonathan Harvey 'Witty and insightful' Susie Boyt 'Brilliant, chilling, totally awesome writing' Miranda Dickinson 'An absolute stunner ... with a deliciously twisted ending' Lisa Hall 'The tension is almost unbearable. The twist is gut-wrenching. The book is a masterpiece in sustained suspense and smart literate contemporary horror. Bravo Mr Burston' Derek Farrell 'Very easy to read, certainly keeps you hooked in with plenty of twists. I suspect it will be a big read this summer' Fiona Sharp 'It's about a gay novelist who becomes the target of an online stalker and is dark, thought-provoking, and totally riveting. As comebacks go, it's on a par with Madonna bursting out of a giant disco ball in a pink leotard!' Matt Cain 'Gripped and Terrified by Paul Burston's new novel, bloody hell!!!' Rowan Coleman 'A fiercely provocative novel, and as well as being a boldly entertaining read, it really, really made me think' LoveReading 'A thought-provoking social-media thriller about fear, fanaticism and the psychological legacy of harassment ... The best work of fiction yet from the novelist, journalist and literary salon host' Attitude Magazine
Phil Davies should be happy. He has a flourishing bar in the heart of Soho and in six months he will be marrying Ashley, the man he adores (even if his nickname is 'The Incredible Sulk'). In short - he's living every gay man's dream. There's just one problem: Phil has been married before, seventeen years ago. To a woman. In fact, technically Phil and Hazel are still married. And what Phil doesn't know yet is that Hazel has a seventeen-year-old son. But that's all about to change . . . Brilliantly funny, heart-warming and filled with bittersweet observations, The Gay Divorcee is a hugely entertaining tale of love, marriage and the lies that happen in between.
Sex, drugs, diva tantrums: if you're on the A list, you can get away with murder ... but there's still one taboo left in Hollywood. If you're an all-action movie star hero, and you're gay, then your home is in the closet. End of discussion. Matt Walsh is at the very top of the Hollywood ladder. He easily commands $20 million per film, and every one is a box office smash. But Walsh has a secret: his lover Billy West, a rent-boy with the fragility of Monroe and the body of Brad Pitt. When British hack Simon Fowler is sent out to write a grovelling vanity piece on Walsh, he unearths the star's secret life, and a story that could destroy him. Walsh has a long way to fall, and he could take a lot of people with him. STAR PEOPLE hops over the velvet rope and points its telephoto lens at a cast of stars, hookers, paparazzi and scarier-than-hell PR bitches. The result is a smart, fast-paced and wildly entertaining novel about love, fame, jealousy . . . and murder.
Martin is kind, decent and good-looking. And look where it's got him. His boyfriend of four years has run off with a male prostitute. His friends John and Caroline are no help - John prefers infamy to sympathy and Caroline is too busy trying to work out if her wonderful, sensitive boyfriend is a closet case. And to top it all, Martin's hippie father turns up to stay, wearing his 'Proud to be an Embarrassing Parent' badge. To escape, Martin jumps head first into hedonism, throwing himself into the gay club scene, a world of drugs and muscles, hard bodies and harder music. Meanwhile Caroline is learning that being Shameless has its price, and so does she... How long can they keep up with the lifestyle? And can they find the man of their dreams when sex has become a substitute for love, and pleasure is measured in beats per minute...?