So, what have I been reading of late? Well, I’ll tell you…
Wolf Tickets by Ray Banks
Things aren’t exactly tickety-boo for the aging hard man Cobb. He’s feeling his age, living in a dump of a flat, reduced to drinking gut-rot whiskey and shoplifting from charity shops.
Then he gets a phone call from an old army mate, Farrell, who has just been ripped off – money and drugs- by his girlfriend, Nora. He asks Cobb for help tracking Nora down and things soon spiral violently out of control.
Ray Bank’s gritty and funny slice of British lowlife is a smart study of the limits of friendship, full of twists and turns and brilliantly realistic and absurd dialogue.
The Gamblers by Martin Stanley
Kandisky is a loser. A deadbeat student who is addicted to porn and gambling. He also owes Priest, a gangster, a wad of money and is given a few days to get it together – or else.
Liam is a drug dealer who finds out his long-time friend Omar has been ripping him off, not realising that Omar has been working on getting an even bigger piece of Liam’s pie.
The Gamblers is a hard-core crime story, set in Bristol of all places, which captures the spirit of Ted Lewis and brings us BANG up to date with a cleverly woven, hard-hitting, multi – character story of betrayal.
A Moment Of Wrong Thinking by Lawrence Block
A sharp, short story from Lawrence Block that has Matt Scudder going to dinner and hearing about a man who has shot himself in front of his family. This causes him to reflect on a similar case from his days as a policeman. Perfectly pitched plot, dialogue and characterisation.
The Blues Detective by Andrew Peters
Otis King is a Welsh blues guitarist living in Memphis and working as a private detective. Otis regularly encounters a veritable cornucopia of colourful and lurid characters such as Louie the Falcon, Uncle Gryff, Suki Goodlay, Koko Brown, and meets gangsters, musicians, doughnut munching cops and a politician’s widow who moonlights as a topless wrestler known as The Masked Mistress. He tracks down missing husbands, missing guitars, missing harmonicas, missing cats. And more.
These Runyonesque yarns and shaggy dog stories are all cracking fun, frequently hilarious and choc-full of laugh-out-loud lines.
Rhondda Noir and Other Perversions by Gary M. Dobbs
Gary Dobbs is a bloody talented and versatile writer of westerns, horror, police procedurals and even cozies. With this hard-hitting Welsh Grit short story collection he shows how adept he is at full-on, hard-boiled crime fiction.
Rhondda Lovebite – what happens after a successful post office robbery.
Loose Ends – a man in the wrong place at the wrong time during an afternoon drinking session.
The Man With The Sun in His Eyes – a hit-man flees a murder only to be followed by a mysterious black car.
Rhondda Noir- a security van robbery goes wrong when one of the gang needs to go for a slash.
The Death Match (Dead Man 13) by Christa Faust, Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin.
The latest adventure in Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin’s exciting cliff-hanger horror /thriller serial, The Dead Man, is another beaut.
The hero of the series is Matthew Cahill, an ordinary man who was buried alive after an avalanche and is miraculously brought back to life with a terrifying supernatural gift. He travels across America trying to find an answer to his miraculous rebirth and confronting the evil created by the mysterious Mr Dark.
As well as the creators, The Dead Man series has had some great stories from the likes of Harry Shannon and James Reasoner.
The inimitable Christa Faust takes the reins with The Death Match, as Cahill investigates the strange death of a dock worker and ends up involved in the murky world of underground female cage fighting.
Smashing two-fisted, hard-hitting, pulp action.
Cracking stuff !!! Get stuck in there!