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Meticulously researched, hugely ambitious and superbly crafted, The Tribute – published today – heralds John Byron as a fresh new force in Australian crime writing.

Shortlisted for the prestigious VPLA Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2019 (when it was then called ‘Wedding Cake Island’), The Tribute is a dark and compelling crime narrative that revolves around a serial killer stalking contemporary Sydney. But in keeping with the book’s unpredictable artistry is the gradual, electrifying sense that the ‘bad guy’ may not even be the darkest player in the story.

John Byron deftly skewers the thriller genre to craft a unique and unforgettable take on modern masculinity and misogyny that will challenge the way you think about everyone you meet.


Click the below image to watch the book trailer


Marketing and publicity

With a book (and cover art) this good, it would be criminal to not give it all we’ve got. Melbourne and Brisbane book-buyers will be targeted with eye-catching rock poster campaigns throughout July, while Sydneysiders can glimpse The Tribute on buses around town (when leaving the house for one of four reasons – stay safe out there!).

Nationally, expect major publicity including ABC Radio National and reviews in The Australian and the Age/Sydney Morning Herald, plus wide-reaching promotions through Better Reading, Good Reading and premium digital advertising.


What they’re saying

‘One of the best debuts I’ve read – inventive, layered and brilliantly written. The Tribute is a class act.’
David Whish-Wilson, author of True West

‘Begins as a compelling crime novel, then shifts into something even more shocking and wonderful.’
Christian White, author of The Nowhere Child

‘A suspenseful and unnerving dissection of masculinity.’
Natasha Stott Despoja, author of On Violence

‘This is no ordinary crime book – and these are no ordinary people – in this extraordinary read.’
Fiona Hardy, Readings

‘Let’s hope you have the movie rights as well. Good mix of horror (not gratuitous) and thriller; great characters. While I thought it predictable at the outset, I was wrong as it led me off course and kept me hooked in.’
Clifford Posner, The Grumpy Swimmer

‘A murderous psychopath merrily dissecting his way through some of Sydney’s (frankly) more deserving citizens is one thing … but it may be that the person at home with you is truly the more frightening. Horribly topical.’
Cat Schulz, Fuller’s Bookshop


The story

A serial killer is stalking through Sydney, hell-bent on recreating scenes from the Fabrica, the 16th-century foundation text of modern anatomy. The spate of cold, methodical attacks has the city on edge, but the serial killer may not even be the darkest player in this story.

Desperate for a breakthrough, decorated homicide detective David Murphy draws into the case his art historian sister, Joanna, and Sylvia, his wife. Unravelling the mystery of who is behind the killings pushes each beyond the limits of what they thought possible.


About the author

John Byron grew up in Sydney where he went to medical school for a time before leaving in the interest of the public safety. He has worked as a barman, a factory hand, a help desk operator and a federal political adviser.

He now lives in Melbourne and works in the university sector. His writing has appeared in the Australian, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, The ConversationTime Out and Rip It Up.



Email Affirm Press for your chance to win one of 15 copies of The Tribute, out now.




Contact us


Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

Editorial assistant
Anthea Yang

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