Sunday, 27 February 2011


The email arrived in my inbox –



Martin Baxter

I ignored the email for a while but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to delete it. 
Every time I opened my inbox it was there, my eyes drawn to those words PLEASE! YOU HAVE TO HELP ME.

Finally, I got in touch with Martin Baxter and we agreed to meet. He sounded so desperate, so scared, I knew I had to delve deeper.

Martin gave his consent to being recorded and what follows is transcribed from our conversation. I have left nothing out. Purple italics denote my questions or comments – but Martin’s words are his alone and when I heard his story I knew I had to warn the world.


* Martin, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, so we can understand who you are and your part in this story? *

I'm not saying anything until you repeat the words "the Ismus is an evil sociopath". I've been tricked this way before.

* Err... okay "The Ismus is an evil sociopath" - is that good enough? *

That's good, yes, thats very good, that's better. Sorry but I can't be too careful. If you were under his control you wouldn't be able to say that. I needed to check.

*Who is the Ismus? *

He's the one behind it all, his real name is Austerly Fellows. I wish I'd never heard of him.
Back in the 1930s he was the most evil man in Britain and in 1936, that foul devil wrote a children's book. How sick is that? All this pain and horror comes from a kids' book... and he's still out there, right now, after all this time. I've seen him.

While trying to research Martin's remarkable story I found this portrait of Austerly fellows, dated 1932.

You said you wanted to know something about me? I'm nothing, I'm not important in this. I was just the one caught up in the middle. I'm a maths teacher. Well... I was a maths teacher - before this madness kicked off.
I don't know what I am now.
Just one desperate man trying to get people to believe in something that's unbelievable - and failing.

* Can you tell us about the incident that seemed to be the start of all this? And when you first noticed something strange was happening? *

When did it start? To me it feels like forever but... I guess it was around the time of the Felixstowe Disaster. Do you remember that?

* Yes, when all those poor kids got killed. *

Yes, that's right. It was just after. That's when I first saw the book being distributed and when the kids in my school started reading it.
That's when the trouble began. Did I say "trouble"? What a pathetic, empty word that is. It doesn't convey any of it; the terror, the betrayal, the things I've seen... oh God those impossible things.
"Nightmare"... even that doesn't come close.

* You say your partner’s son, Paul, tried to warn you but you didn’t believe him. You’re a self-professed fantasy and sci-fi geek, yet you were resistant to believing what was happening in front of your eyes. How can that be?*

Hey! You don't need to tell me that. Don't you think I know? There's not a minute in every day that goes by when I wish I'd listened.
But... things like that, like this, they just don't happen in real life. They're what's in my dvd collection, they're just special effects and fantasy - or so I thought.

* But surely you of all people would have believed Paul? It must have hurt him knowing the one person he thought he could trust to understand was the one to let him down? *

This was happening right in front of me, right there and as real as that coffee you're drinking, but I didn't see it. I wouldn't believe.
That's why it spreads. People just don't believe and then its too late.

* Why are you so nervous?  You keep studying everyone as if you don’t know who to trust? What are you looking for? *

I'm checking for playing cards. The ones who are affected, the ones the book has taken over, they wear cards pinned to their clothes. If you see anyone like that, steer clear. Don't speak to them!

* How can you believe a book can be dangerous? It’s only words on a page! *

I was that naive once. "Only words on a page". History is stuffed with wars that were fought in the name of words on a page, what else are holy books but words on pages? Don't dismiss the power of words, they've killed millions and millions through the ages and caused untold misery and suffering and persecution. Its still going on this very day. But now there's a different book, and no one will be safe from it. Not even you if you don't listen.

* It’s so hard to believe your story. I see the fear in your eyes but for those who can’t see your face. Please tell them why they should believe you, why the world must be warned about Dancing Jax? *

I've lost everything.
My entire life is gone and I'm a hunted man...
But I'm not asking for sympathy. I want you - I want everyone to try to realise, to understand what's coming.

Dancing Jax is going to spread across this country like a plague.
You can't hide from it, the words of Austerly Fellows will get you.
Unless something is done, unless we stop it. I just can't even imagine what will happen.
Beware the book, beware the Ismus, beware...

Wait...there's a guy over there staring at us...

Yes, in his top pocket... there's a card - I've got to go.

Remember what I said!



A parcel arrived today just as I published this blog post. It was wrapped in brown paper and bore only my name and no address so I can only presume it was hand-delivered.

I’ve opened it as I sit here now in front of the computer and inside I found a book.

The book! Dancing Jax.

It’s here in front of me - lying on the desk and with it was a note, written on the back of a playing card.
It says:

Part of me is intrigued but I keep picturing the fear on Martin’s face.

But it looks so innocent – it’s only a book.

I know Martin’s story. I know he’s scared. But being in the book’s presence is so enticing.

It’s hard to ignore that little voice telling me to open it up, to read the first page…

It’s no use. I can’t resist.

I have to read Dancing Jax.

I have to know if there’s any truth to Martin’s story.

I have to find out for myself.



Justine Windsor said...

Tracy, no! Don't do it!

Jackie Marchant said...

Wow - I've got to read that book!

kathryn evans said...

Genius..whenever we're told not to....

Beverley said...

Very clever. Hope nothing dreadful's happened to you ...

Savita Kalhan said...

Wow! That's brilliant! Are you tempted to start reading, Tracy...

Sam W said...

What a brilliant interview! Now I've just got to read the book!

Bryony Pearce said...

That's some very clever marketing! I must read this book. Bx

Candy Gourlay said...

Ooooh - I just bought this book for somebody purely because of the mesmerizing cover ... So ... Tracy ... are you all right? Still there? Tracy? TRACY?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular Posts

The Bookseller