The Work of Rod Madocks   Novelist and short story writer


"A selection of interviews and reviews" .

WriteLion 5 podcast

WriteLion 5 podcast is now live and includes interviews with Paul Reaney, Rod Maddocks and Megan Taylor.

Crime Writers Association 2009 Nomination of Rod Madocks' work for the Shortlist for the John Creasey Debut Dagger

Judges' comments: 'No Way To Say Goodbye is set in a high security mental facility for the criminally insane. Jack Keyses works there, intent on tracking down the presumed abductor and killer of his girlfriend Rachel who disappeared without trace. The grim reality of sex offenders and their obsessions and histories is authentically and chillingly exposed here. The most frightening thing about the book was the obsessions of Keyses which turn out to be not so very different from some of the patients. A sense of edgy despair pervades this very taut novel.'
LeftLion magazine
Issue 32 Dec 09
Review by James Walker.

In writing his debut novel, Rod Madocks has sacrificed a lot. Firstly, he sold his house to finance writing it and secondly, he has taken the maximum security asylum as his setting, thereby risking alienation from his former work colleagues for exposing the hidden truths of the profession he worked in for fifteen years. Thank goodness he did.

Set over three parts, the novel follows the fortunes of Jack Keyse as he comes to terms with personal loss and seeks vengeance upon the person who has taken her from him, yet this is easier said than done. Consequently Keyse develops some complex relationships with characters which a less sensitive author would simply have demonised and constructed into a simplistic binary narrative of good versus evil. You may not necessarily be able to forgive someone for what they have done but understanding why is part of the healing process. A notable moral indeed.

James Walker
My life working with Britain's most dangerous killers

Article in the Nottingham Evening Post features on ThisIsNottingham website

Rod Madocks has worked in maximum security units housing some of the country's most prolific killers. His experiences provided him with a wealth of material for a fictional account of life on the inside. LYNETTE PINCHESS reports.

Rod Madocks has come into contact with some of Britain's most disturbed and dangerous killers. Working in maximum security hospitals gave him a unique insider's view of life in units like Rampton in north Notts – and the inspiration for a novel.

Visit the website here

"Can I Play with Madness". An interview with James Walker in Leftlion Magazine Issue 53 June 2013. Dig the crazy portrait of the author trapped in a decaying asylum.


"When Art and Life Merge" . June 2013. An interesting review with me and Elaine Aldred for her literary site Strange Alliances. I am in good company as there is a lot of other good stuff on Elaine's site, including a recent interview with my fellow East Midlander - Alison Moore.  Elaine is a perceptive interviewer and fast becoming a fixture in her own right on the literary scene.
Brief reviews of Babbicam .May 2015  Longer reviews can be found on my Amazon entry.

"Babbicam is a terrific read... part fact part fiction it is the reconstruction of a murder mystery and much much more."
Peter Messent author of 'The Crime Fiction Handbook.'

"Ambitous and absorbing: this is the remarkable reconstruction of a legend"
Dave Belbin, author of the "Bone & Cane" novels.

"An unusual and fascinating book." John Martin, author of 'Crime scene: A Readers' Guide'.

The Rising Flame reviewed in London Grip Poetry 2015
"Merryn Williams applauds a new selection of poems by Sidney Keyes edited by Rod Madocks which should help restore the reputation of this nearly forgotten World War Two poet."

Americus Times Review of Babbicam by Beth Alston , September 2015

This is one of the strangest books I've ever read and one of the most irresistible. Madocks is a genius, not only in the story he relates but the way he presents this bizarre account. It's not surprising that Madocks has a history of working in maximum security psychiatric institutions. According to information on the book's back cover, the Crime Writers' Association calls Madock's fiction, "chiilling and authentic". Quite so,  Told by a young American poet, it weaves the curious and frightening tale the poet unravels after buying an obselete wire recording machine and a box of spools at some junk shop or yard sale. The poet gets the machine working again and starts listening. What he learns will haunt his days and nights forever. The recordings are of a long dead doctor speaking with one of his patients, John Henry Lee, also known as "Babbacombe Lee" named from the part of England he was from, Devonshire Beach, which the locals call Babbacombe. Madocks brings Lee to life and it is unsettling. Lee's voice, for instance. “I’d never heard anyone speak like Lee. It sure was a weird accent. Real hard to understand his creepy way of speaking. There was another voice on the recordings. A flat Midwestern voice that cut in now and then. It had a sort of indistinguishable accent, a bit like Walter Cronkite's  I guessed that voice must have been Doctor Kaiser's” Babbicam's  twisted story begins in England in 1878, and the descriptions of place will also give you chills. It's pure drear; it's  mostly poor; it's a hard life for most. The poet complements his review of the spools of recordings with a lot of Internet research and travel to England and other places,  and the story begins to consume him. But he can't stop, not until he gets to the bottom of it. It is in his quest for answers to the Babbicam conundrum that the poet learns much about himself and his own family. He begins to see parallels. I love the way Madocks has crafted this story. It is complex, multi-faceted and disturbing, and I could simply not stop reading it. The book's cover itself will stay with you for awhile after you read the last page. Those eyes, those penetrating yet empty, soul-lacking eyes. This is one of the absolute best books I've consumed this year. I highly recommend it. I plan to let it ruminate for a few months and read it again, maybe during the long, cold nights of January. I also plan to read more of Madocks, whose background is also tantalizing. He was born in Rhodesia, has lived in France and Texas, but mostly England. - 

Buy these books:

Ship of Fools book cover

No way to say goodbye book cover