Crime Writers Association 2009 Nomination of No Way To Say Goodbye 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 Keyse 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 Keyse which turn out to be not so very different from some of the patients. A sense of edgy despair pervades this very tense novel.
The Rising Flame reviewed in ‘London Grip Poetry Magazine Issue 6 2015
“This book …should help restore the reputation of this nearly forgotten World War Two poet”
A review by Merryn Williams of The Rising Flame can be found in ‘War Poetry Review 2017-2018
A wonderful review of Babbicam by editor Beth Alston in the Georgia, USA newspaper: ‘Americus Times-Recorder: 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 and has lived in France, Texas and England.
A very perceptive review of The Rising Flame by the poet Owen Lowery in Stand Magazine 215, 15 (3) October-November 2017
“Refreshingly authentic…fascinating and intimate.”