of You Can Jump
“This collection is clear confirmation that Mat Coward is one of the quiet glories of British crime fiction […] seize on this priceless book.”
- Bob Cornwell, Crime Time http://www.crimetime.co.uk/mag/index.php/showarticle/2788
“Mat Coward has always been a good writer but not until I started reading these stories did I realize that he is a truly great writer […] The best of these stories are serio-comic pieces of real latitude and depth […] for reasons of simple stunning plots "Nice People" is one of the most amusing crime stories I've ever read. It would have been Hitchcock's crowning achievement on his old half hour TV show. It's impossible to overpraise this collection. Buy it now.” – Ed Gorman, http://newimprovedgorman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/new-books-you-can-jump-by-mat-coward.html
“Mat Coward is a comic genius of the written word.” - http://quavid.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/mat-coward
“Original and witty, a real master of the form.” – Martin Edwards, http://www.doyouwriteunderyourownname.blogspot.com/
“YOU CAN JUMP is full of witty, intelligent and knowing stories, freshly and professionally written. The collection bounces entertainingly from one wall of the genre to another, all with quality and talent.”
- Michael Z Lewin
“The title story is the gem of the collection - a calm, serene, moving and reflective piece of fiction.” - John Baker, http://johnbakersblog.co.uk/you-can-jump-by-mat-coward-a-review/
"No contemporary crime writer is funnier or more serious" - Jon L. Breen, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
of Acts of Destruction
“The novel is both dead serious and hilariously funny ... One of the most original and gifted writers in contemporary crime fiction.” - Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
“This screamingly funny book is not only a whopper of a sci-fi/mystery, but also a rousing, snickering social statement.” - Mystery Scene.
“Thought-provoking, entertaining and stimulating ... hugely readable and enjoyable.” - Interzone.
“funny, dark and charming” - Morning Star.
“splendid ... a fine story ...should be on everyone's summer reading list. Wicked sense of humour and tale that barrels along. We thoroughly enjoyed it.” - Eco-Logic Books
"Nothing I’ve read in ages has made me think more than Mat Coward’s ‘Acts of destruction.’ I seem to have forgotten that it is possible to think there can be alternatives to the ways societies and economies function. There really hasn’t been much thought given in the arts to what might be possible to routinely survive without cataclysm if a drastic shift of priorities – fuel, food, weather – forces change upon us. ‘Acts of destruction’ is a humorous crime novel ... There is invention, wit and wisdom aplenty."
- Dave Quayle, Lillabullero.
“I read very few crime novels these days, but I was in no way disappointed with this one ... it is a book which should spark discussion and bring some renewed hope ... I know of no other contemporary writer of fiction who is grappling with these urgent questions, and it was gratifying to find ideas of such import and imagination ... This is one to read and think about.”
- John Baker, author of ‘Death Minus Zero.’
“I would recommend Mat Coward’s book both as an intriguing murder mystery and also as a thought-provoking blueprint for a possible future for Britain.” - The Forest & Wye Clarion.
“A thought provoking book which works on multiple levels, both as entertainment and commentary, Acts of Destruction is an undeniably British but very accessible novel that demonstrates Coward’s imaginative verve and breezy, extremely readable style.” - Crime Scene Scotland.
“I genuinely enjoyed the book. Like in all the best crime novels, we start with the discovery of a body, go on to apparently unrelated matters - stolen tomatoes, a missing child, some problem about bees - and find they're all tied together by the end. Along the way we've had our viewpoint characters' relationships get interestingly more complicated. I hope Mat is working on a sequel, because I'd like to meet them again.” - Ken MacLeod, author of ‘The Execution Channel.’
“As well as providing the requisite gripping yarn, Acts of Destruction is both witty and wide-ranging in its incidental detail.” - Red Pepper
“I bought this on the recommendation of Ken MacLeod, and wasn't disappointed ... I loved this book, and I'm sure you will too.” - Dave’s Free Press
“No matter how bad things may be, it seems easier to imagine them getting worse rather than better, which means that Acts of Destruction, set in the near future, is a very rare work.”
"stimulating ideas, good modular plotting, and trademark humor" - Crime & Mystery Stories of the Year 2010.
of Open and Closed (in hardback)
“Will please devotees of this too-little-known series ... Some of the banter between the two leads will remind some readers of the wordplay in a Donald E. Westlake novel, and that’s just fine. Readers who have not yet sampled this quirky and entertaining series should be vehemently encouraged to do so, with all haste.” - Booklist.
“The charm of his writing wins the reader over” - Shots.
“Mat Coward makes the prosaic exotic. The detail of our everyday lives comes alive in his hands.” - Morning Star.
“For me the victim and his family ring particularly true. Definitely worth getting your library to order (or even buy it yourself too.)” - The Library Campaigner.
“Watching the pair methodically interview and re-interview all of those who are potential killers is great fun, and the depictions of the diversity of ages, personalities and social strata of all who are involved are skillfully portrayed. The plot moves along briskly with a good deal of humor. The political irrationality of the threatened closure of the library is delightfully balanced by Packham’s iconoclasm, and his acumen and wit make him a detective whose adventures are definitely worth following. RECOMMENDED.” - www.iloveamysterynewsletter.com .
“Don Packham and Frank Mitchell make a humorous pair ... the characters come alive ... I highly enjoyed this novel, and the previous stories about the two British detectives.” - LoveRomances.com.
“The plot clips along” - Mystery Scene.
“Amusing, witty mystery ... Coward knows how to write endearingly likeable characters. The surrounding and incidental characters feel textured and real, and this is one of Coward's great skills; he knows how to write people ... They're quintessentially British whodunnits written with style and aplomb. They're not dark, they're rarely explicitly violent and they're often very, very funny ... Coward's infectious sense of fun and his clear, flowing prose make this a fun, divertingly entertaining and pleasant read.” - Crime Scene Scotland.
“What marks this book, and indeed Coward’s other Don and Frank mysteries, out from the rest of the genteel English copper pack is Coward’s excellent sense of humour and his endearingly sympathetic characters who often surprise us by breaking free from what appears to be obvious stereotype. Open and Closed is an entertaining, light and very funny take on the traditional English mystery. Coward’s breezy style guides the reader willingly through the twists and turns of this clever, witty novel.” - Jacqueline Rice, Crimespree Magazine.
“Enter hard-bitten cynic DI Don Packham and not-so-innocent DC Frank Mitchell. Their relationship is a comic masterpiece, especially in dealings with the eccentric characters who populate this book. One incident with a mobile phone will make you laugh out loud.” - Warwickshire County Library Service, staff recommendations website.
of So Far, So Near
“A fabulous collection.” - SF Crowsnest.com.
“Each of the seventeen stories is told with wit and insight, full of idiosyncratic humour. One of the really nice things about the book is that at the end of every story Coward has written a little piece, often about his own perspective on the story, an interesting insight into the writer’s mind ... 10/10.” - www.sci-fi-online.
“layered and witty ... cohesive and direct ... an essential humanity ... warmly wonderful ... the hit-rate is high.” - Interzone.
“A delightful collection ... ‘The Second Question’ is a classic time travel story.” - The Harrow.
“Cannot recommend it too highly ... I love his voice ... He is subtle, angry, passionate, insightful and very, very funny in a way that comes up and clips your ear some time after you read the story.” - http://martyn44.livejournal.com/47007.html
“the most typical Mat Coward stories are those where he takes a simple idea, something that would never strike most of us as anything out of the ordinary, and then, like a jazz musician playing riffs on a theme or an artist with an eye for the surreal, transforms it into something unique and wonderful.” - Whisper of Wickedness, at www.ookami.co.uk.
“excellent collection of stories. Funny, touching, intelligent and challenging ... refreshingly cosmopolitan and surprisingly accessible even for people who are not familiar with the SF canon.” - Strange Horizons.
“nothing short of remarkable.” - Future Fire.
“Mat Coward creates exceedingly good aliens.” - Vector (the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association).
“All of these stories are excellent.” - Prism, the Newsletter of the British Fantasy Society.
"Five stars: Brilliant!
I'd never heard of this writer before... I did a bit of research but didn't find very much, and so I took a chance, and WOW AM I GLAD I DID!!! I cannot say enough good things about this collection of short stories... They are strange, unusual, weird, understandable, mysterious, enigmatic, unique, and utterly enjoyable ... It is so funny, fun, fascinating, and clever... These are truly fun and thoughtful and unique tales, with brilliant character development, very thoughtful, carefully examined ideas and themes... and the plots are brilliantly paced, and never a cookie cutter ending... VERY WELL DONE."
- from a customer’s review at www.audible.com
of Soother’s Boy
“haunting and disturbing teen novel ... The rich characterisation and depth of background in this story could easily have sustained a novel at least twice as long.” - Fortean Times.
“Rill is an engaging character, and there’s lots of interest in the way he reacts to the rigid society and rules of the city. Young readers will find it easy to relate to him and to his friend Challi. There are also truly awful characters that readers can love to hate, and enjoy it when they get their comeuppance. There are also some nail-biting sequences as Rill discovers the truth about the production of magic.” - Vector, critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association.
of Success ... and how to avoid it
"If bursting into fits of convulsive laughter is liable to embarrass you, do not read this book in public." - Tim Lebbon.
"one of the funniest and most honest titles to be published this year." - Independent on Sunday.
"the only honest guide to being a freelance writer ever written ... the stuff they don't normally tell you." - Nine To Five & Midweek.
“It is written with anger, realism and is very funny ... If you want a live example of what the much-cliched ‘anarchic humour’ really is, then this is the place to look ... Here he writes with the fury born of direct experience. You can imagine his eyes swivelling as he writes ...The main reason to read this book has to be for its entertainment value. There are numerous paragraphs that will make anyone with half a sense of humour laugh out loud ... Yet there is also much useful information ... there is hard-won knowledge here. It’s given with a finely-tuned sense of the ridiculous and above all with honesty. ... and remember that the advice in this book is given by someone who makes his living from writing.” - Stride Magazine.
"An often hysterically funny book about actually being a freelance writer ... should you actually sit down and read this book, any part of this book, you'll find something that will make you laugh." - The Agony Column.
"If you're interested in being a writer ... do yourself a favor and buy this book ... the best guide to being a writer I've ever read." - Nick Mamatas' Journal.
"should be required reading for creative writing classes and for aspiring writers everywhere. ... this part-memoir part-rant captures perfectly what it means to actually be a freelance writer. ... It can be read in one sitting, but the joy of the book is in the dipping: opening the book at random to come across Coward’s clear, passionate voice as he demolishes the myths surrounding writing as a job ... the single best book on the reality of writing for a living published in a long time. Buy it, read it, then read it again. ... Highly recommended, Mat Coward’s Success... And How To Avoid It is a cold reality check and a welcome, refreshing change ... It is irreplaceable." - Whispers of Wickedness.
“I got a copy of Success and How to Avoid it by Mat Coward, and it's the funniest, most accurate look at freelance writing I've ever seen. Seriously, it's a must-read if you're even remotely contemplating the ludicrous path of misery and heartbreak that is life as a freelance writer.” - Tropism, Tim Pratt's Journal
"An invaluable guide for all kinds of writers ... Coward takes off the rose-tinted glasses, throws them on the floor, and jumps up and down on them." - The Alien Online.
"a funny guide to avoid the pain of writing ... Read, take action, be happy." - SFcrowsnest.com
"Very, very, very, very funny ... the book should work for any sentient being with a sense of humour. ... I guarantee that within 20 seconds of your opening the book at any page and reading a few lines at random, a smile would begin to creep over your face. ... Take my word for it: you should not live a day longer without this book." - Time Out.
“the ideal antidote to all those ‘how to’ manuals ... Coward tells it with a blackly comedic style that is a delight to read, his acerbic wit akin to that of a doctor who makes you chuckle even as he delivers a fatal prognosis. You simply can’t help laughing, both at Coward’s honesty and the pratfalls of the writing life that he tells with such apparent glee ... It is even, all disclaimers to the contrary, an eminently practical book. There is, in among all the ‘negativity’ and clouds of mock despair, a fund of information that’s probably going to be of use to the freelance hopeful ... The writer is the eternal optimist, forever travelling in hope to an unknown destination, and ‘Success’ is the ideal Baedeker for such a journey. ... it will make you laugh, I guarantee it, and sometimes laughter is just the thing that’s needed. - Peter Tennant, www.laurahird.com
“Coward nails each and every possible situation to the wall with brutal (and very British) honesty ... SUCCESS could have been a quick read if it hadn't been so blatantly truthful that it made this freelance writer stop and take to heart (and head) what he said. .. you will not have anything close to the common sense that Mat Coward pokes at you in his own unique way.” - Hellnotes.
“If you're really determined to beggar yourself and risk your house, your family and your sanity on what has to be one of the most precarious careers ever devised in the pits of hell, then this is the book to read first. Don't just read it. Sleep with it under your pillow. ... Success is an engaging, entertaining, and sometimes snortingly funny tour of everything that can go wrong for a writer, and Coward is a genial if bitingly sarcastic guide. Everything he says rings with the clear chime of truth ... Mat Coward is both funny and wise. Listen to him.” - Vector.
”If you want to wind down the year with a light-hearted recommendation, then here is ours: Success And How to Avoid It. Written by a full-time freelance writer about the business of being a writer, it is absolutely hilarious.” - Plain Words Training Bulletin.