Kill ’Em All by John Niven review – would-be shocker falls flat

The sequel to cult music industry satire Kill Your Friends isn’t so much a narrative as a human centipede of topical news and rape jokes

A generous reading would pitch Niven’s pulpy debut novel, 2008’s Kill Your Friends, as a satire of New Labour opportunism. Drawing on his experiences as an A&R man, it is set during the late 90s music industry boom and features the proudly offensive A&R man Steven Stelfox, who is driven to murder in order to crush the competition. It’s a poor man’s American Psycho, revelling in saying the so-called unsayable, with a particular fondness for metaphors based around anal rape.

A decade later, and 20 years on from Britpop, Stelfox returns in Kill ’Em All, now inevitably a Trump admirer and thriving in an era of chaos. Rich after developing an X Factor-style show, he’s living the high life as a ...