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Simon Mayo

Simon Mayo’s first novel, Itch was feature in The Sunday Time’s UK top 10 and was the debut children’s hardback of the year, and the third bestselling debut fiction hardback across the whole of adults’ and children’s that year, and the TV series will be coming to the BBC in the Autumn of 2020. It has been shortlisted for the National Book Awards, Northern Ireland Book Awards  and long-listed for the UKLA Book Awards and the Carnegie Award for Children’s Book of the Year. Itch is a fantastic action-packed thriller about a teenager whose obsession with rocks and science takes him to very dangerous places and is guaranteed to be devoured by fans of Anthony Horowitz and Charlie Higson aged 10 and up. He has two sequels, Itch Rocks and Itchcraft. His YA novel called Blame was long-listed for the Carnegie Kate Greenaway award. His latest book is Mad Blood Stirring, and his next book is Knife Edge, a thriller, will be published by Transworld in 2020.

Simon Mayo is one of Britain’s best-loved and well-known radio presenters. He has worked on BBC radio since 1981 and is now the presenter of Drivetime on BBC Radio 2, which features the regular ‘Book Club’ show. He is also the co-presenter of Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review on BBC Radio 5 Live. In 2008, Mayo was recognized as Radio Broadcaster of the Year at the 34th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and the Speech Broadcaster of the Year at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.

Books in order of publication:

Itch (2012)

Itch Rocks (2013)

Itchcraft (2014)

Blame (2015)

Mad Blood Stirring (2018)

Knife Edge (2020)

Praise for Blame:

‘A violent, action-packed tightly written drama’ The Sunday Times

‘Quite Brilliant’ Daily Mail

‘A great book for your teens’ Harlan Coben

‘We confidently acclaim this as a soon-to-be children’s classic’ – The Guardian 

‘A thrilling roller-coaster of a read’ Malorie Blackman

‘Such an imaginative and fully thought-out world, very ambitious, great premise…’ Anthony Horowitz

‘Terrific.. a smart, suspenseful satire on crime and punishment’ New Statesman

‘a thoughtful thriller that explores the concept of heritage crime and punishment’ The Guardian

‘Not for the faint-hearted, this tense thriller has a captivatingly tough heroine. Gripping, action-packed and at times violent’ Book Trust

‘This is a breathless, fast, furious piece of work.. It’s fiction with something to say’ Den of Geek

In praise of the Itch series:

‘This is a great debut. You’ll be itching to read more.’ – Anthony Horowitz

‘Brilliantly zany’ – The Times

‘Amid the teenage intrigue and heart-in-mouth escapades there are sequin flashes of real science…  the story moves along in a high-speed Hitchcockian manner, quite complex scientific ideas introduced and then dropped swiftly as the action starts again… Can such adventures inspire a new generation of unashamed science geeks? Why not? WE Johns’s Biggles stories and Arthur Ransome’s sailing books exposed new horizons for young urban readers. Simon Mayo has given us an amiable hero who could do the same’ – The Guardian

‘With its explosive mix of action and adventure, chemistry lessons will never be the same again.’ – Daily Express

‘Itchingham, a science-mad boy, is trying to collect examples of all the elements. He gets hold of a peculiar rock from a shadowy contact but some sinister heavies are also keen to get hold of it (and him) and he goes on the run in this gripping read.’ – FT, Books of the Year

‘Mayo delivers a fun, frightening, gutsy adventure story.. Fans of science will love its central role, and those readers who crave adrenalin will appreciate the view from the edge of their seats.’ – Kirkus 

‘Mayo balances the high-stake plot and serious reality of radiation poisoning with an underlying absurdity… It’s an action-packed adventure with chuckle-worthy moments, amiable protagonists and a premise derived from plausible scientific theory. Readers will never look at common household objects in the same way ever again’ – Publishers Weekly

‘A gripping and wholly enjoyable debut, and I’m greatly anticipating the sequel.’ – Daily Record

‘The villains are deliciously evil, and Itch is a beautifully flawed-but-attractive protagonist who must balance his scientific passion against his social ethics. This is a wonderful page-turner that promises to form the basis of a fine series of science thrillers.’ Parent’s Choice – Silver Award

‘Mayo’s story about the misadventures of a 14-year-old science nut, Itchingham Lofte, whose experiments result in exploding dustbins and “mass puking over teachers”, soon had 150 pupils erupting in spontaneous applause. By the time he wrapped things up 40 minutes later, every child wanted his autograph and the queue snaked around the hall.’ – Evening Standard

‘Well researched and full of action, Mayo brings a forgotten moment in history to life.’ The Sun



‘The plot grows from a kernel of historical truth, but his book dazzles not so much as fact than as fiction’ The New York Times

‘Mayo has created a searing portrait of humanity at its most brutal and tender’ Publishers Weekly

‘Well researched and full of action, Mayo brings a forgotten moment in history to life.’ The Sun



‘Simon Mayo is clearly a force to be reckoned … Smart and tense, and there are  some highly ingenious twists’ The Times

'Knife Edge is the best kind of thriller - step by all-too-plausible step we're sucked into frantic, breathless action... Perfect.' Lee Child

‘Another gripping read - you'll be on a knife edge’ - Daily Express

'A cracking thriller' Bella Magazine

'An edge-of-your-seat thriller' Yours Magazine

‘A cracking novel straight out of the day’s headlines, which keeps piling on the pressure before a knockout finale’ - SHOTS

'Mayo proves unfailingly good at dialogue' Readers Digest

'A brilliant thriller full of suspense' Closer 

'Tense, taut and splendidly twisty' Heat

'A gripping – and decidedly dark – debut thriller’ Daily Express



Simon Mayo Titles