Santy is fresh out of the slammer but is more than ready to wreak violent havoc, along with his drinking cronies Leo and Dean.
Delaney tells this smart tale of revenge by moving backwards and forwards in time and from different characters points of view.
More than the sum of each brilliant part,The Pact is a brutal, funny and cleverly weaved together slice of hard-boiled crime. A time bomb of tension.
In Skewered, the first story in this cracking collection, we are introduced to Charlie Bars who is fresh out of prison and unhappily working in his uncle’s kebab shop.
When Charlie is given the chance to make some fast money he jumps at it but things quickly become, well, skewered.
Charlie Bars also appears in the following story, Real Estate, which is also a belter.
Another favorite story is the marvelous supernaturally tinged Hungry Is The Dark. But everyone is a gem.
Skewered: And Other London Cruelties is tightly written with strong, realistic characters and a great sense of place.
Classic Brit Grit crime fiction.
In James A. Newman’s The White Flamingo, Detective Joe Dylan investigates the gruesome murder of one of Fun City’s many call girls and quickly realizes that there is a serial killer on the loose in Fun City.
The White Flamingo – the third ‘Joe Dylan crime noir book ‘ – is hard-boiled pulp fiction pumped up to the max. It’s a lethal cocktail of graphic violence, booze, drugs and sex. It’s bright lights and dark shadows and it’s certainly not for the fainthearted.
The Father, Tom O. Keenan‘s debut novel, is an odd hybrid of the police procedural, noir, Brit Grit, black comedy and political thriller.
Set in an almost futuristic, dystopian Glasgow, The Father‘s protagonist Sean Rooney is a messed up alcoholic shrink who is dragged into a murder investigation by his ex-wife, DCI Kaminski. Broody and contrarian, Rooney is the sort of person who would cut off his face to spite his nose and makes Tony Black‘s Gus Dury look like Dr Phil.
The twist to this particular noir tale, though, is that Rooney has a voice in his head, who acts as a sort of stroppy Greek chorus and even narrates the tale. Indeed, the running dialogues between Rooney and, well, Rooney give a lot of the humour to a twisty crime story which very quickly spirals into am high-octane and over-the-top thriller.
The mixture of introspective noir and action movie is a tricky balancing act but one that Tom O. Keenan pulls-off and makes The Father a very interesting read indeed.
Maybe it’s not the sort of book you would expect from someone best known for crime fiction but Tony Black‘s The Last Tiger is certainly just as tightly put together as his crime novels. A really lovely and rich story of childhood and being a stranger in a strange land.
Here’s the skinny:
‘Subject to a bidding war among several publishers in 2013, The Last Tiger is a remarkable book. Black has incorporated his page-turning crime style into a literary story that has much to tell us about alienation, persecution, loss, and the bonds of family. Set in the stark, sweeping landscape of Tasmania, this is a literary thriller from one of the UK’s finest authors.’
“An authentic yet unique voice, Tony Black shows why he is leading the pack…Atmospherically driven, the taut and sparse prose. Powerful.” – NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS
“A beautiful powerful tale to move the hardest heart.’ – THE SUN
Dixon Steele wanders through misty post-war Los Angeles as a serial killer stalks the city. Steele himself sees the world through a dense fog that hides dark secrets, repressed memories and more. Dorothy B. Hughes’ In A Lonely Place (1950) has atmosphere in spades and is well deserved of its classic status.
Here’s the blurb:
‘ Dix Steele is back in town, and ‘town’ is post-war LA. His best friend Brub is on the force of the LAPD, and as the two meet in country clubs and beach bars, they discuss the latest case: a strangler is preying on young women in the dark. Dix listens with interest as Brub describes their top suspect, as yet unnamed. Dix loves the dark and women in equal measure, so he knows enough to watch his step, though when he meets the luscious Laurel Gray, something begins to crack. The American Dream is showing its seamy underside.’
Michael Haskins’ ‘Nobody Wins’ is a breathless, high-octane international crime thriller with the fast-pace of an ’80s action movie.
The blurb: A simple request of Mick Murphy to find his cousin Cecil Fahey turns into a struggle of avoiding irate SAS soldiers determined to kill Cecil for his IRA activities in the ’80s. Murphy’s quest takes him into the shadowy world of the IRA in Los Angeles, New Jersey and eventually Dublin, Ireland, all the while avoiding efforts to kidnap him and trying to survive attempts on his life. In his quest to locate Cecil and find out who and why someone wants him dead, family and friends lie to Murphy. With a new identity provided by the IRA, Murphy can’t escape his long-time black bag friend Norm’s scrutiny or the MI6 agents following him, while being used to set up an ambush of SAS soldiers. When truths are lies and lies are necessary, Mick Murphy realizes nobody wins.
Meaningful Conversations by Richard Godwin : Dark, rich language that paints a deliciously delirious Ballardian Giallo.
Here’s the blurb:
Meaningful Conversations is a hybrid Noir novel that tackles the modern world and its most tabooed addictions and mythologies. Its protagonist, cellist Bertrand Mavers, is the best adjusted serial killer you will ever meet. His therapist, Otto Wall, calls him the sanest man he knows. What he actually is will surprise and astonish you.
PRAISE FOR MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS
The narrator of Meaningful Conversations is a brilliant mix of Artaud, de Sade, and the narrators of Ellis’ American Psycho and Kosinski’s Steps. He’s in analysis, but he has taken his own temperature. He may be febrile, but he’s a scream. Richard Godwin continues to mix contemporary genres with elegance and power. —Professor Jay Gertzman.
Dark, rich language that paints a deliciously delirious Ballardian Giallo.—Paul D. Brazill author of A Case of Noir and Guns of Brixton.
If JG Ballard and Angela Carter played a game of Chinese Whispers with Anaïs Nin and William Burroughs, it might end up something like Godwin’s latest—a wild and surreal ride that veers from cold horror to steamy kink and offers a unique satire of modern life in bizarre form. Whatever you want to call it, you won’t put it down until you finish it. K. A. Laity, author of White Rabbit and the Chastity Flame series.
No one since H.P Lovecraft explored the depths of human darkness more earnestly than Richard Godwin. Meaningful Conversations is a work of righteous anger and burning honesty that’s supercharged with Jodorowskian eroticism. Godwin marches to the sound of his own drum, but he can do no wrong.—Benoît Lelièvre, Dead End Follies
‘I have no friends, I only have accomplices now. On the other hand, my accomplices are more numerous than my friends: they are the human race.’
Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a former big shot Parisian lawyer, and self-proclaimed ‘judge-penitent’, sits in Mexico City, a smoky, pokey bar in the murky depths of Amsterdam’s red-light district. And he tells a fellow Frenchman about the time when, given the chance to save a young woman’s life, he did nothing. And his subsequent fall from grace.
Camus’ The Fall is a stylishly written series of monologues about the desensitising nature of modern life, guilt, ‘the fundamental duplicity of the human being’, responsibility and more. And it’s a right riveting read, it really is. The intimacy of Clamence’s barfly confession drags you along as we hear how, like a true noir protagonist, his life spirals further down from Parisian high life to Amsterdam’s fog and neon soaked underbelly.
The Fall was Camus last work of fiction, published in 1956, four years before he died. At 146 pages is a short, bitter and hard-hitting espresso that will give more than a few jolts during a sleepless night.
Bang, fucking bang The mighty Fall!
(This post first appeared at Loitering With Intent as part of the Criminal Classics season)
Paul is a troublemaker. A rough and ready kind of guy, he loses his job in a Mississippi plastics factory after getting into a fight with the Foreman.
So, he hits the road and ends up in Texaco. Running low on cash, he decides to rob a fat man and steal his car. But things don’t go to plan.
The fat man introduces himself as Geoffrey Webb and he tells the harrowing story of his time as a youth minister at a small Baptist church in Arkansas and his seemingly inevitable descent into something painfully close to a literal hell as his life spirals out of control and ever downward.
Hell On Church Stree
t is Jake Hinkson’
s impressively confident debut novel and it is simply magnificent.
An incredibly dark but richly hued blend of Jim Thompson
‘s brand of noir and Camus’ The Fall
, Hell On Church Street
is both gripping and chilling. Beautifully written, perfectly paced and full of harsh insights into the innate duplicity (and self-duplicity) of human beings. Absolutely brilliant.