How’s the book doing, Chris?

The front cover of the Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax

Sort of all right, thank you. Well, I’ll let you make your own mind up:

  • over 30,000 sales (by early 2016)
  • #1 in Political Humour (UK)
  • #2 in Humorous Fiction (UK)
    (those are its highest rankings on Amazon)
  • UK – 4.3 stars (out of 5) from 413 reviews
  • US – 4.2 stars from 160 reviews

Lately I’ve been finding it a bit more difficult to maintain my habitual pessimism (about the book, at least). Sales started to increase in late April, after I changed my description and categories on Amazon. When it started to tail off in September, I put the Kindle price right down, and that helped a lot. But the most important thing is that I’ve had some really kind Amazon reviews and  emails about it – all from generous people going out of their way to make me feel better. I’m very grateful to them.

Here are my press reviews:

Not many books make me laugh out loud, but The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax is one of them” – Stylist magazine

You can’t help being tickled” – The Guardian

Shevlin was rightly picked up by the literary agency that represents the likes of David Nicholls” – Metro magazine

What I’m getting at is that you might like it. If you’d like to buy it, click one of these links:

Kindle ebook     |     Amazon UK (£1.99)     |     Amazon US ($3.99)

Paperback     |     Amazon UK (£7.99)     |     Amazon US ($9.45)

If you’d like to review it, I’d be extremely grateful. Here are the links for that:

Amazon UK     |     Amazon US

Anyway, thanks for visiting my website. You might want to scroll down the page for my blog, or look at one of the relatively popular posts on the right. Alternatively, click ‘read the whole thing’ below to see the blurb and some more of the things people have said about the book.

The blurb

When Jonathon Fairfax accidentally helps a murderer bump off Sarah Morecambe, the secretary of a senior politician, he sets off a chain of events that astonishes him. This isn’t surprising – Jonathon is astonished by pretty much everything – but he is particularly shocked when he finds himself caught up in a plot involving a conspiracy that goes to the very heart of government.

Teaming up with a suave private investigator, a glamorous grannie and the probable love of his life, Jonathon must confront his greatest fears – including talking to girls and balaclava-clad killers – and answer some very difficult questions. Who murdered Sarah Morecambe? What is the strange secret that unites the entire British government? And what exactly does it feel like to kiss a real-life woman?

With its naïve, reluctant hero and wry look at modern life, The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax is a must-read for fans of Douglas Adams, John O’Farrell and Jonathan Coe.

Some Amazon reviews

“I rarely find the need to adore anything but I ADORE this book. I’m in imminent risk of losing my job because of my addiction to this novel, surreptitiously sneaking a page here and a chapter there. It is so refreshing to read an original, witty, non-cookie cutter book and I fervently hope Shevlin writes another soon!”

“Really funny and pacy. Some of the writing is reminiscent of P G Wodehouse. Very witty and accurate descriptions of London mixed with complete fantasy.”

“A highly amusing confection of political intrigue, private detectives and geek love. In style mixes a dash of the verbal dexterity and high-power backstabbing of the ‘Thick of It’ with the implausible coincidences and whimsical humour of Douglas Adams ‘Dirk Gently’, set in a recognisable 80s London. A very funny read.”

“The last book that made me laugh out loud was John Irving’s “The Water-Method Man.” So it has been some time since I’ve read anything this delightfully funny. I described it on Facebook as a humor so dry it makes James Bond’s martini seem like Sangria with extra fruit and an umbrella. I loved this book and am truly sorry to see it end. There are brilliantly funny but sharply observant phrases and paragraphs, and heck, whole pages. You have to read this. Trust me, you’ll love it. I look forward to the next book, and will definitely read this again. And again.”

“If you like tight writing, a great pace, smart references and laughing, this book will be on your top five list! Never stops with the layering of self deprecation and hyperbole. Like reading an Arrested Development script!”

“When Christopher Shevlin sat down to write this book, the spirit of Douglas Adams sidled up next to him and said, ‘Here, let me help you.’ This book is probably – definitely – the funniest thing I have read since The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I seriously found myself rethinking whether or not I believed in reincarnation. I don’t mean to say that Shevlin’s work isn’t original – it is. I mean this as the highest compliment I can think of. Christopher Shevlin’s work is brilliant, snort-pop-out-the-nose funny, heart-warming and sweet, and I would need a thesaurus to keep describing it.

The main character, Jonathon Fairfax, brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘reluctant hero.’ I loved him. He is the only character that I have ever read that has about as much of a low self esteem as I do. Seriously. This guy, I loved, and I want more of him in more stories. The writing was superb, even if the story might have lagged in some points.

For some of my friends who are sensitive about such things, I will warn you that he does use some vulgar language (he manages to creatively use just about every bad word at least once, but not to the point of ‘too much’ – though it comes close.) There are a few places where it is a little gross too, so just beware of that if you sensitive to such things. For instance, Shevlin gave me words to describe my next headache: one character’s head hurt so bad that it made him feel like he wanted to ‘vomit (excrement) from his eyes.’ THAT perfectly describes what I feel like when I have a migraine. :-)But, If you love British humor, mystery stories, or just excellent, clever, writing you will love this book.

I absolutely love this book, I love it with great big pink puffy hearts of love. I will be looking forward to Shevlin’s next book.”

Some tweets

“The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax by ‪@chrisshevlin. If you’re on my Xmas list you’re getting a copy. Thank me in the New Year.”

“just finished reading ‘perpetual astonishment…’ Really enjoyed it. To borrow a phrase from young people, I LOLled reading it”

“just finished The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathan Fairfax, compelling, hilarious, clever, insightful, and a bit bonkers”

“Just finished ‘Perpetual Astonishment’……really enjoyed it. Jonathan is a great character. Many thanks!!!”

“just finished TPAOJF. thank you! ritz melee had me snorting on the tube, and neighbours straining to see book’s cover!”

Some comments on the Guardian website

“The extract made me think of Steve Toltz and Jonathan Coe. Perhaps writing after they’ve been out for a pint with Carl Hiaasen. … Good to hear about an author for whom the adjective ‘self-published’ does not seem to be synonymous with ‘self-proclaimed’. And good for you, Guardian; good to see good self-published work being found and reviewed.”

Christopher Shevlin
 

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