Does PR man Paul Carroll really believe clients are too dozy to spot genius? Book Review

North West PR man Paul Carroll has published his first novel. The Drum’s Associate Editor and Managing Director of MiNetwork, Richard Draycott, reviews A Matter of Life And Death and asks whether Paul has used fiction to state some hard facts?

Novice novel writers are often advised to ‘write what you know’ and with his first published novel – A Matter of Life And Death - PR advisor Paul Carroll has proven that not only is he adept at dishing out good advice, but he can take it as well. The plot of his debut novel is based firmly in the murky worlds of public profile making and mud raking, worlds where Carroll made his mark with his Communique PR consultancy before selling and going solo some years ago.The story focuses on high profile young entrepreneur, Farren Mortimer, the head of an innovative funeral services business, AMOLAD, which offers bereaved family a plethora of ‘creative’ ways to remember their loved ones. All obviously devised to deliver maximum wonga to said entrepreneur’s bulging bank account and add kudos to his growing public profile.Throw in an ambitious politician trapped in a deathly dull marriage, an ultra-ambitious former glamour model who seeks the public limelight and a scorned business partner who feels he is not adequately rewarded for his input into the story and you quickly realise that you are set for a heady mix of treachery, double cross and risky rendezvous in posh bars and sleazy hotel rooms.As the book’s author was previously no doubt penned thousands of press releases and news press articles in years gone by, it was always a given that Carroll’s language would flow effortlessly and he delivers in spades, but what Carroll does particularly effectively is to build the reader’s empathy towards the key characters and actually encourages the reader care about them. Not care as in Carroll makes you ‘like’ them as such, but at least care enough to want to know what happens to them next. Hence, you are pulled at break neck speed through the book’s 284 pages. Again a demonstration of his skills as a PR man in making fundamentally unlikeable people quite likeable.It’s always an odd experience reading a book written by someone who you know quite abit about. As you read, quite subconsciously, your brain leaps into action seeking to make connections. Who is that character actually based on? Is that really Nigel Hughes? Are we really talking about Co-operative Funeral Care here? Is Paul using Farren Mortimer to vent his spleen? Is Farren saying the things that Carroll desperately wants to say, but could never say for sake of offending clients and colleagues past and present? These are all questions that sprang to mind as the words shuttled past.On clients, at one point, Mortimer muses: “In his ad agency days he used to say that the best ideas didn’t make it past clients who were too dozy to spot genius.”On politicians and the public sector Mortimer suggests: “…they were, to a man and a woman vacuous, vain, self-seeking, greedy and duplicitous cretins, who wouldn’t have held down a job for five minutes in any other ‘profession’.”And on business, does Carroll give an insight into how he really felt running his own consultancy for so many years when he writes: “As Farren brushed the crumbs from his lap on to the floor, he reflected, not for the first time, that running a business was bloody harder than people reckoned. It wasn’t the work; it was the people.” In conclusion, A Matter of Life & Death is a confident debut novel and a good ride through the worlds of commerce, celebrity, politics and PR all mixed together with a hefty dose of black humour and the promise of more good things to come from the pen of Paul Carroll.

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Richard Draycott

I head up MiNetwork which is a UK-wide organisation that works closely with the owners and directors of independently owner managed marketing services agencies to ensure that they receive maximum exposure to build their personal and business profiles, have access to a broad network of like-minded marketing business owners willing to share knowledge and experience and ultimately build more transferable value in their business, through improved efficiencies and business development opportunities.

Now in its fourth year, MiNetwork supports almost 100 agency members across all marketing disciplines and a range of sizes to achieve their short, medium and long term business objectives with real, down to earth advise, support and action.

Making You Famous

The MiNetwork team has combined experience of almost 20 years in helping marketing services agencies position and promote themselves effectively through what is today the largest media and marketing website and magazine in the UK – and the fortnightly printed publication.

MiNetwork’s Managing Director Richard Draycott edited The Drum for more than a decade and has an intimate knowledge of how agencies should manage their news to guarantee maximum exposure. Richard can also offer damage limitation advice for when things don’t go quite according to plan to ensure that you remain in control of any situation.

MiNetwork’s Commercial Manager Chris Morton has worked on the commercial side of The Drum for more than six years and has during that time managed many online and offline marketing campaigns for some of the highest profile agencies in the UK. Chris can advise on where to access Carnyx Group’s many platforms to ensure that MiNetwork members get maximum value.

Through this dual approach MiNetwork can make sure your agency is positioned, profiled and promoted the way you want editorially and commercially.

Helping You Work Smarter

In these fast moving times for the marketing agency sector nobody has all the answers. A large part of MiNetwork’s value to our agency owner members comes through offering them access to a wide network of like-minded business owners, all willing to share their knowledge, experiences and insights into running a successful marketing agency business.

Through a combination of live networking events, online webinars, audio interviews and reports MiNetwork members can quickly and effectively position themselves as a respected industry leader and also benefit from learning new ways of working from other agency owners.

MiNetwork events are also open to all member agency staff, giving you the opportunity to ensure that your stars of tomorrow are also continually developing their business acumen and industry knowledge.

MiNetwork also works with members to help identify and appoint mentors and non-execs from wide portfolio of MiNetwork’s contacts to help take their businesses to the next level.

Making You Wealthier

When all is said and done, all agency owners want to build as much value in their business as possible to offer them the exit strategy that they choose and not the exit strategy that chooses them! Exiting may not be on the immediate horizon, but preparing your business for a potential merger, acquisition, sale should always be on the agenda of any ambitious business owner.

Through MiNetwork’s panel of partners and advisors members can work towards building the transferable value in their business, be that from ensuring they are extracting maximum value from their IP assets to ensuring that they run their HR efficiently. Members can also access special deals with partners such as CreditSafe to help safeguard them financially and also take advantage of deals with The Marketing Forum to assist in their new business development.

When You Join MiNetwork

When you join MiNetwork you join an exclusive club of ambitious agency owners. The MiNetwork team will always be at the end of the telephone to help and advise you on any business development issues that your business may be facing. And if MiNetwork can’t help you internally then we’ll certainly know who will be able to help you and put you together with a trusted and relevant advisor.

To talk about how MiNetwork can work with you to make your agency famous and make you wealthy give Chris Morton a call on 0141 559 6068 or email him by clicking the button below.

All by Richard