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DMU writer explores seedy life of millionaire footballer in new novel


The excesses of a millionaire footballer in a celebrity-obsessed world come under the spotlight in a new novel penned by a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) academic.

Professor Jason Lee's new book Spit Roast tells the story of John Tao, an internationally famous sports star who earns £500,000 a week.

Set in the near future, where the Chinese economy has grown to dominate the globe, Tao is exposed by the press in a sleazy affair.

Hunted by paparazzi in a world where mass online media has led to a total loss of privacy, Tao is drawn into a murky underworld, meeting a cast of characters whose intentions he can no longer trust.

Professor Lee, who is the Head of Leicester Media School, said he wanted to look at celebrity culture and media attention in his new book.

Spit Roast

He said: "I set it in the near future so we would have a world we recognised but which was pushed just a little further in the direction things seem to be going.

"In my book, John Tao is a successful footballer on a lot of money in the eye of relentless media attention. It is an examination of what this can do to a life and how actually, despite the freedom you might think he has with that kind of life, how much of a slave he is to the system in which he exists.

"This is a literary novel for people who might not normally read about footballers but I think that by looking at this more obscene or extreme ends of our society we can really look at who we are as people."


Spit Roast follows Professor Lee's last book, Unholy Days, which was set in Tenerife and inspired by the controversial circumstances surrounding the death of media mogul Robert Maxwell in 1991.

Professor Lee said: "I am interested, broadly, in transgression, in the way people create boundaries and then cross them and these themes have connected a lot of my work."

Spit Roast is published by Roman Books, priced at £8.99. It is available at

Posted on Friday 11th September 2015

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