Joseph Knox has produced something extraordinary. True Crime Story begins with a note from his publisher stating that “they and Mr Knox have mutually agreed to conclude their business dealings and have no plans to undertake any future projects”.
This immediately throws the reader off balance, and it takes a few pages before you realise it’s all part of the plot. Knox is in fact a character in his own novel, which is told through competing and often conflicting statements by the friends and family of Zoe Nolan, a Manchester student who has vanished without trace.
This post-modern playfulness works because it is embedded in a rich and compelling plot that twists and turns until the final pages. Sometimes risk pays off.
True Crime Story by Joseph Knox is out now (Doubleday, £14.99)