Category Archives: Ian Ayris

The Best Of Brit Grit 2016

marwick's reckoningWell, 10 of the best, anyway. There were a few other Brit Grit gems I also read in 2016 that I really enjoyed. If I had to pick one book to personify The Best Of Brit Grit this year, it would probably be Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark. However, in no particular order, here are 10 of the best …

Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark

Marwick is a broken man. Broken but not shattered. Marwick is a violent London gangster, an enforcer who has moved to Spain for a quieter life and who is eventually embroiled in drug smuggling, murder and more.

Published by Near To The Knuckle, Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark is fantastic. Like a Brit Grit Graham Greene it’s full of doomed romanticism, longing and shocking violence.

Beautifully, vividly  and powerfully written Marwick’s Reckoning is very highly recommended indeed.

thin iceThin Ice by Quentin Bates

A small-time criminal and his sidekick decide to rob a big-shot drug dealer. But things quickly go pear-shaped when their getaway driver doesn’t turn up. After kidnapping a mother and daughter, things spiral even further out of control.

Quentin Bates’ Thin Ice brilliantly blends a fast-moving crime caper worthy of Elmore Leonard with a perfectly paced police procedural. Great characters and tight plotting abound.

Thin Ice really is marvelous, and is very highly recommended.

after you dieAfter You Die by Eva Dolan

DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are back for a third outing in Eva Dolan‘s marvelous After You Die.

The mother of a disabled child is stabbed to death and the child is left to starve.  Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit are called in to investigate the murder and in the process DI Zigic and DS Ferreira uncover a lot of dirty secrets in a seemingly close-knit community.

Once again, Dolan paints a realistic and uncomfortable picture of the darker sides of British life but with After You Die the pacing is even tighter than in her previous books and she has produced a gripping, contemporary murder mystery that is highly recommended.

APRIL SKIES coverApril Skies by Ian Ayris

In ’90s London, John Sissons – the protagonist of Ian Ayris‘ brilliant debut Abide With Me– is out of the slammer and trying to get by, working at a market stall. When he loses his job, he gets a job at a door factory and his luck starts to change. But is it for the better?

Ian Ayris’ April Skies is marvelous. Full of realistic, well-drawn characters, great dialogue, sharp twists and turns,  and with a strong sense of place and time. Nerve-wracking and heart-breaking, tense and touching – April Skies is a Brit Grit classic.

the death of 3 coloursThe Death Of Three Colours by Jason Michel

Jonah H. Williams is cyber- crook, a wheeler and dealer on the dark web. He awakes from a typically heavy boozing session to find that his precious crucifix has been stolen by the previous night’s pick-up. And things spiral on down from then on as we encounter  Bill – a bent ex-copper, drug smugglers, AK-47s, Ukrainian bikers, suicide, paranoia, betrayal, lust, love, loyalty, friendship, romance, nihilism, more paranoia, The Second Law Of Thermodynamics, Santa Muerte – Our Lady Of Last Resorts, an owl, and a cat called Vlad The Bastard. And then there’s Milton …

Jason Michel’s The Death of Three Colours is just great. It’s a richly written, gripping, noir-tinged crime thriller that is full of lyricism, flights of dark fancy and cruel humour. His best book yet.

the shallowsThe Shallows by Nigel Bird

When naval  Lieutenant Bradley Heap goes AWOL with his wife and son, he stumbles into drug dealing, people smuggling and murder.

Nigel Bird’s The Shallows is a tightly written and well-paced crime thriller that is full of well-drawn, realistic characters.

Tense and involving, The Shallows is great stuff!

for-all-is-vanityFor All Is Vanity by Robert Cowan

Jack is a nice, normal guy with a nice, normal family who records the events of  his day to day life in a diary. Then tragedy strikes and Jack’s life spirals violently out of control.

Robert Cowan’s For All Is Vanity is a gem. Heartbreaking, funny and violent, For All Is Vanity is a gripping look at what happens when a good man who loses it all.

Highly recommended.

dark-heart-heavy-soulDark Heart, Heavy Soul by Keith Nixon

Konstantin Boryakov is back!

In Dark Heart, Heavy Soul, the former KGB anti-hero is reluctantly dragged into taking part in a heist which soon spirals out of his control.

Keith Nixon’s Dark Heart, Heavy Soul is the best Konstantin Boryakov novel yet. Nixon smoothly blends high-octane thrills with gritty crime fiction. Dark Heart, Heavy Soul is packed full of tension, action, humour, great characters, sharp dialogue and a hell of a lot of warmth too.

An absolute belter!

summoning-the-deadSummoning The Dead by Tony Black

The mummified corpse of a young child is found in barrel that had been buried in a field years before. DI Bob Valentine digs deep to unearth’ corruption, cover-ups and murder.

Tony Black’s Summoning The Dead is an atmospheric, engrossing, lyrical and  sometimes harrowing police procedural that packs a powerful emotional punch.

The characters are well drawn and believable, the plot is involving,  the pace is whip-crack and the result is eminently satisfying.

Fantastic stuff.

the dead can't talkThe Dead Can’t Talk by Nick Quantrill

Power, corruption and lies would be a suitable sub-heading for Nick Quantrill’s hard-hitting crime novels. In The Dead Can’t Talk, as in his cracking Joe Geraghty trilogy, Quantrill tells the story of a criminal investigation which digs below the city of Hull’s surface to reveal a dirty underbelly.

The Dead Can’t Talk introduces us to two new protagonists – cop Anna Stone and ex- soldier Luke Carver. They are brought together to look into a murder, and an apparent suicide but all is not as it seems, of course.

Quantrill again gives us a perfectly paced criminal investigation but the tension is greater and the twist and turns are tighter this time. The characters are all typically well drawn, most notably the city of Hull itself. This is a novel of deceptive breadth and scope.

The Dead Can’t Talk is the start of what is sure to be another great social-realist crime fiction series from Nick Quantrill. Highly recommended.

Have A Brit Grit Christmas!

martinaI asked a bunch of Brit Grit writers about their favourite Christmas book, film and song, and this is what they said:

Martina Cole:

Well my favourite Christmas book has to be John Updike and Edward Gorey’s ‘The Twelve Terrors of Christmas.’ Film has to be Lon Chaney as The Wolfman. I love old horrors especially at Christmas! And song has to be ‘Fairytale of New York’ as I adore The Pogues and Kirsty! (I remember when they were called Pogue Mahone! Kiss my arse in Gaelic!)

Lesley Welsh:

I’m going to be really tedious and say ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.‘ Still gets to me every time. Music-wise, Jona Lewie and ‘Stop The Cavalry’. Christmas book? That’s a difficult one, I never much liked Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ and don’t really recall others specifically about that time of year as I would probably have avoided them like the proverbial. So can I have a play instead? For which I nominate Steven Berkoff’s one-man short play ‘Harry’s Christmas‘. Devastating.

Douglas Skelton: 

The book has to ‘A Christmas Carol,’ obvious I know but it’s the only actual Christmas book I can remember reading! I know when I see other choices I’ll kick myself (so if you have any suggestions, let me know) For film I’d have to go with ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, although ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ comes a close second. And song – there are so many – but ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ has the right blend of sweetness and melancholy for me.

HIT THE NORTH! NICK QUANTRILL INTERVIEW!Nick Quantrill:

Book I can’t really look beyond Dickens with ‘A Christmas Carol’, though you can’t beat a winter’s evening in the warmth with a book from a favourite author. Film Being a cynical and hardboiled crime writer is fine for 364 days of the year, but the remaining day has to be reserved to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Song, all of Kate Rusby’s “While Mortals Sleep” is great and the use of a brass band gives it that distinctive Yorkshire feel that warms me.

Luca Veste:

Book – ‘The Grinch who Stole Christmas’ by Dr Seuss Film – ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’. Song – ‘White Wine in the Sun’ by Tim Minchin

Matt Hilton:

The Spy Who Came For Christmas” by David Morrell, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Silent Night” by Bing Crosby

Mark West:

Favourite book –‘The Mystery Of The Invisible Dog’ (it takes place between Christmas and New Year. Favourite film – either ‘Scrooged’ or ‘Die Hard’. Favourite song – ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ by Slade.

Alex Shaw:

Book: ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Film: ‘Die Hard.’ Song: ‘Feed The World.’

Sheila_Quigley-320x320Sheila Quigley:

‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’  – I can’t count how many times I’ve seen it – ‘White Christmas.’

Sarah Hilary:

‘The Long Shadow’ by Celia Fremlin. ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ (Cary Grant, David Niven).’The World of Winter’ by Bing Crosby

Ian Ayris:

Here we go: Christmas Book – ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charlie Dickens, Christmas Film – ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, Christmas Song – ‘White Christmas’ – SLF.

Richard Godwin:

Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Deep Throat’, Frank Zappa’s ‘Bobby Brown.’

Martin Stanley:

Okay, right now, off the top of my head: my favourites are Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Bad Santa’, and The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’.

jason 2016.Jason Michel

Book/ story – ‘A Christmas Carol’, Film – gotta be a Bond, not traditional, of course, but the nostalgia of a Christmas evening Bond flick, Song – I would say Slade then again, I have a tradition of listening to Frank Sinatra at Christmas.

Graham Wynd:

Um…’Little Women’, ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’, and oh, everyday a different answer so….Darlene Love, ‘Christmas Baby Please Come Home’. Best Xmas LP ‘A John Waters Xmas’.

Ryan Bracha:

‘The Little Matchgirl’ by HC Anderson for book, or ‘Mog’s Christmas’. The best and most underrated Christmas film ever is ‘Scrooged’. Song has to be ‘Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M’. Tune.

Betsy Reavley:

Oh easy, Charles Dicken’s ‘Christmas Carol’, ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ – Elvis Presley and film would have to be ‘Home Alone’.

nigelbirdNigel Bird:

Run Run Rudolph’ by Chuck Berry, ‘Diner’ (Barry Levinson) and ‘The Christmas Star’ (it’s a short story, so I hope that counts) by Mina Lewiton.

Graham Smith:

Can’t think of an Xmas book but ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Fairytale of New York.’

Paul Heatley:

My favourite book is ‘Sausagey Santa’ by Carlton Mellick III, song is ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ by Slade, but film is a toss up between ‘The Santa Clause,’ ‘Elf,’ and Ron Howard’s ‘The Grinch’ – I like the garishly colourful and OTT ones!

Tess Makovesky

I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas on the planet.  I quite like some of the old traditions, but hate the modern, consumer-driven, hyped-to-hell-and-back, be-perfect-or-else-you’ve-failed version, which tends to bring me out in a severe case of Bah Humbug.  So my choices of reading, watching and listening matter over the festive period tend to reflect this.

Favourite Christmas song: there’s a special mention for Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ which brings back happy memories of school Christmas parties.  But the winner, hands down, is ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty McCall.  Any Christmas song that includes lyrics like You scumbag, you maggot, You lousy old faggot gets my vote every time, and the harmonies (even with lead singer Shane McGowan apparently on such a massive bender he could barely stand up during recording) are amazing.

Favourite Christmas movie: I can’t really handle all those mushy-gushy sanctimonious ‘isn’t family wonderful’ type movies that you’re supposed to like at Christmas.  But Home Alone won me over the first time I saw it.  It has just the right blend of mischief, quirkiness, and sheer evil joy, from parents forgetting one of their own children, to Macauley Culkin’s 8 year old dreaming up ever nastier ways to keep the burglars out of the family home.  Great fun!

Favourite Christmas book: this one really had me stumped.  I wasn’t sure if there were any specific Christmas books, and when I googled, I’d never read most of them and wasn’t keen on the rest.  However, my favourite as a kid was probably ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C S Lewis for the sheer magic and inventiveness of the story.  Although these days, I probably have more sympathy with the Wicked Witch than I ought to.  Imagine: always winter but never Christmas.  I can think of worse things…!

HAVE A BRIT GRIT CHRISTMAS!

Recommended Read: April Skies by Ian Ayris

APRIL SKIES coverIn ’90s London, John Sissons – the protagonist of Ian Ayris‘ brilliant debut Abide With Me– is out of the slammer and trying to get by, working at a market stall. When he loses his job, he gets a job at a door factory and his luck starts to change. But is it for the better?

Ian Ayris’ April Skies is marvelous. Full of realistic, well-drawn characters, great dialogue, sharp twists and turns,  and with a strong sense of place and time. Nerve-wracking and heartbreaking, tense and touching – April Skies is a Brit Grit classic.

Recommended Read: One Day In The Life Of Jason Dean by Ian Ayris

jason deanFirst published by Byker Books and now published by Near To The Knuckle, One Day In The Life Of Jason Dean is a gem.

Jason is a debt collector and gangster’s enforcer who loves Shostakovitch, poetry and his little girl. He awakes at the break of a harsh day next to a wife who hates his guts.

Ian Ayris – whose- debut novel Abide With Me was one of my favourites of 2012- follows Jason’s Sisyphean trudge through the course of that single day and gives us a powerful novella that is tense, harrowing, violent, funny and very moving.

Exceptional.

What Goes On? Ayris, Godwin

Ian Ayris

jason deanWell, the reissue of my Kindle novella – One Day in the Life of Jason Dean – has just been released by the brilliant Near to the Knuckle, and April Skies – the sequel to my debut novel – Abide With Me – is due for publication in both paperback and Kindle versions on the 7th April. It’s taken me the best part of three years to write, so it’ll be a fantastic feeling to finally have it out skating in the ether. April Skies carries on two years after the end of Abide With Me, following John as he attempts to navigate the perils of adult life. He does his best, bless him, but everyone has a history. And with a history like John’s, the past is never far behind.

Here’s a little extract:

The bloke next to me’s readin the back pages. Looks over the top and asks me if Thommo’s mental. I says he is.

‘Always been like that, has he?’ the bloke says, puttin his paper on his lap.

‘Not always,’ I says. ‘Glue. Fucked him right up.’

‘He want a sweet?’ the bloke says.

I tap Thommo on the shoulder.

‘You want a sweet, Thommo?’ I says.

APRIL SKIES coverThommo don’t even turn round.

‘He’s all right, mate,’ I says. ‘Cheers, anyway.’

The bloke opens up a pack of Refreshers, chucks half of em in his mouth in one go, picks up his paper, and carries on readin.

I’m watchin Thommo lookin out the window, the fields goin by like they was movin faster than the train. And I’m wonderin if Thommo knows this time tomorrow he’ll be back in the nuthouse with the screamin and the bangin and the walls, and that the fields he’s lookin at now won’t even know he was ever here.

It’s still an hour before kick-off.  We’re up at the Holte End, me and Thommo, this massive fuck off terrace behind the goal. There’s Hammers comin in all the time, fillin it right up.

Thommo’s lookin at me with this stupid grin on his face. It’s the same grin he had as a kid, but it don’t mean nothing no more. It’s just his mouth doin a shape.

Apart from the writing, I’m also teaching novel writing for a second year on an Arts Council funded project for Barking and Dagenham Council, entitled Pen to Print. The idea is to take adults through the process of writing a novel.

It’s brilliant fun, and unbelievably rewarding.

So, that’s me 🙂

Bio: As well as being the author of One Day in the Life of Jason Dean, Ian has forty short stories published online and in print. His debut novel – Abide With Me – was published in 2012 by Caffeine Nights Publishing, and its sequel – April Skies – is to be published in April 2016.

Ian is a qualified counsellor, a creative writing tutor and runs his own editing business.

At weekends he works in a care home for adults with learning difficulties and mental health issues, whilst also indulging in his lifelong passion for the Mighty Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club.

Ian lives in Harold Hill, Essex, with his girlfriend, Karen, his three children, Mollie, Charlie, and Summer, and two guinea pigs by the name of Sanchez and Bob.

Richard Godwin

savage highwayMy novel Savage Highway was published this January. It is about abductions in Arizona, lawlessness, the criminal mind and revenge. Here is some Blurb.

Women are disappearing on the highway, a drifter hunts the men who raped her, and a journalist discovers law has broken down in the area.

On a remote highway in Arizona women are disappearing at truck stops. Journalist Johnny Sullivan travels to the area to investigate. He encounters hitchhiker Patty, who is being hunted by violent trucker Red. Patty tells Johnny of the local myth of the maniac trucker. Johnny also meets Valentino de La Cruz, a mysterious Mexican who is looking for his missing sister.

Valentino is having an affair with Natasha, the wife of recently murdered businessman, Theodore Mills, whose wealth funds the corrupt police force in the area. The local Highway Patrol is run by sexually sadistic Sam Roche and Franklin Norman and they want to put an end to Johnny’s snooping. Marshall Simmons knows a lot about the goings on in the area, and has a young woman captive in a house. He is reprogramming her identity. Meanwhile Johnny discovers that years previously serial killer Donald Lake disappeared in the area while in transit between prisons. And it seems he had police help. But what is being done to the women? And who is running the criminal organisation that controls the area? Savage Highways is about lawlessness and the hunt for justice in a no man’s land. Pedal to the floor all the way, the narrative speeds towards its stunning and unforeseeable conclusion.

If you are interested you can buy it here in the US

http://www.amazon.com/Savage-Highway-Richard-Godwin-ebook/product-reviews/B01AL7AC0O/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=recent#R2FXA2C1ZUNEOI

And here in the UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Savage-Highway-Richard-Godwin-ebook/dp/B01AL7AC0O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453201099&sr=8-1&keywords=Savage+Highway+by+richard+godwin

And you can listen to me talk about it on You Tube here

Richard Godwin Discusses His New Novel SAVAGE HIGHWAY

The year has really started with a bang and looks to continue that way, with the publication of my tenth novel, Ersatz World this month. It is about the age of surveillance and the rise of the digital revolution and how that may be eroding identity and be part of  a wider and more sinister social engineering programme with the ultimate goal of cloning humanity. Here is some Blurb.

Samuel Verso is an ordinary, old-fashioned publisher trying to resist the lure of e-books. As his wife fills the hallway with prosthetic limbs and his business partner is replaced with an exact replica he realises that his problems run deeper than books on a computer screen. But it is only when he is serially abducted, beaten and accused of terrorism that he understands it isn’t that he’s paranoid – it’s that he isn’t paranoid enough.

You can read more about it here

Guest blog: ERSATZ WORLD by Richard Godwin.

If you are interested you can buy it here in the US

http://www.amazon.com/Ersatz-World-Richard-Godwin/dp/1530025826/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1455956822&sr=8-2&keywords=Ersatz+World+by+richard+godwin

And here in the UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ersatz-World-Richard-Godwin/dp/1530025826/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455957051&sr=8-1&keywords=ersatz+world+by+richard+godwin

ersatz worldNext month my novel, The Pure And The Hated is published. It is a Vermont based novel, a state I know well, and is about the nature of forgiveness in a corrupt world, redemption, the extent to which we can know anyone, even in a family structure, and moral compromise, something I think is definitively Noir and two words I think about a lot when writing Noir.

In June my novel Disembodied is published. It is narrated in four different genres and is about surveillance and espionage.

I will have up to eight novels released this year. In October

Buffalo And Sour Mash is published. It is about a man called Murphy Stubbs, who wants to bring the Wild West to Surrey. He organises an all-female rodeo show as part of his own dark and Southern psychosis. Coming all the way from Oklahoma, he brings with him a level of anarchy that rips through the tidy lives of the locals. Then there is Rhonda, his rodeo star and the woman who shakes it up. High drama in Surrey as it is transformed into a Southern state by a lunatic. It is a novel full of hustlers and low lifes. I am currently writing a sequel to both Wrong Crowd and it, involving the central characters of each novel.

My first novel Apostle Rising, is being translated into Slovenian and will be published in Slovenian in August or September.

I will also have a literary novel called The Artist published at some point.

Bio: Richard Godwin is the critically acclaimed author of Apostle Rising, Mr. Glamour, One Lost Summer, Noir City, Meaningful Conversations, Confessions Of A Hit Man, Paranoia And The Destiny Programme, Wrong Crowd, Savage Highway, Ersatz World, The Pure And The Hated, Disembodied, Buffalo And Sour Mash and Locked In Cages. His stories have been published in numerous paying magazines and over 34 anthologies, among them an anthology of his stories, Piquant: Tales Of The Mustard Man, and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Mystery, alongside Lee Child. He was born in London and lectured in English and American literature at the University of London. You can find out more about him at his website www.richardgodwin.net , where you can read a full list of his works, and where you can also read his Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, his highly popular and unusual interviews with other authors.

 

Guns Of Brixton: Update

CN logo

As you may well  know, last year my comic crime novella GUNS OF BRIXTON was published as an eBook by the great BYKER BOOKS – as part of their Best Of British series- and did pretty well, in the UK at least.

And I am more than somewhat chuffed to announce that I have recently signed a contract with the also great CAFFEINE NIGHTS PUBLISHING who will be re-publishing a slightly longer version of  GUNS OF BRIXTON as a paperback and eBook, and possibly audio-book.

CAFFEINE NIGHTS  were recently shortlisted in the BOOKSELLER INDUSTRY AWARDS and publish some of the best of Brit Grit, including mates such as NICK QUANTRILL, IAN AYRIS, KEITH NIXON, RUTH JACOBS & CHARLIE WADE, as well as best sellers such as GARRY BUSHELL and SHAUN HUTSON.  So, I feel like I fit well in there.

Check out their books here.

The all new, rebooted GUNS OF BRIXTON will be available online and at the classier, cooler bookshops round about November/ December time.

So you know what to buy for Xmas prezzies!

What The Hell Is Brit Grit ?

 

America may well be the  official home of pulp and noir but the United Kingdom, long  perceived as the land of True Brit Grit Guest Blog: It’s a Case of Having Good Genes! By Graham Smithtame Dame Agatha style cozies and stuck-up, Latin quoting police detectives, also has a grubby underbelly which has produced plenty of gritty crime writing. And there is a new wave of Brit Grit writers leaving their bloodstained footprints across this septic isle, too.
The godfathers of the new  Brit Grit could well be Ted Lewis, Derek Raymond and Mark Timlin with Jake Arnott, J J Connolly, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid as part of the next wave.
But in the last few years, more and more BRIT GRIT writers have been creeping out of the woodwork, through the cracks in the pavement, out of the dark and dingy alleyways.
Scottish crime writer Tony Black, for example, is the author of four novels featuring punch drunk, booze addled  Gus Dury, an ex  journalist turned reluctant Private Investigator whose shoulder has more chips than Harry Ramsden. The books  see Gus sniff around the back streets of Edinburgh and follow the rancid trail of crime and corruption right to to the top. They’re gruelling, intense and exciting journeys – not without moments of humour and tenderness. You may feel as if you’d like to give Gus a smack every few pages but the pit bull proves himself again and again.

Gus Dury may be in the gutter but he’s still looking at the stars, albeit through the bottom of a bottle of whisky. And it’s down to Black’s great writing that when you you finish one of his novels you feel battered and bruised  but can’t wait for the next round.

Pulp mastermind Otto Penzler  famously said that noir is about losers and not private investigators. Mr Penzler has probably never read any Tony Black – or fellow Scot Ray Banks, then. Banks’ Cal Inness quartet is the real deal. Inness is true loser. He’s a screw up. A lush. A mess. A man so far in denial he’s in the Suez. In each  brilliant tale he bangs his head against as many brick walls as he can. And he feels the pain. And so do we. The quartet is as bitter and dark as an Irish coffee and leads to a shocking yet inevitable conclusion.

And there’s more: There’s Alan Guthrie who gave us the best novel of 2009 with SLAMMER; Nick Quantrill ‘Broken Dreams’ which looks at a Northern English town that has had it’s fair shair of kickings but still isn’t out for the count; Bad Penny Blues is Cathi Unsworth’s  ambitious look at  the many facets of London in the late fifties and early sixies; Comic genius Charlie William’s and his nightclub bouncer hero Royston Blake help you see life in a way that Paulo Coelho never will!
There are BRIT GRIT publishers too:  Newcastle’s Byker Books publish Industrial Strength Fiction such as the Radgepacket – Tales from the Inner Cities anthologies; Brighton based Pulp Press publish short, punchy novellas with the slogan ‘Turn Off Your T.V. and discover fiction like it used to be.’

And there’s even more …
There’s Howard Linskey, Martin Stanley, Ben Cheetham, Christopher Black, Martyn Waites,Allen Miles, Danny Hogan, Chris Leek, Gary Dobbs,  Gareth Spark, Sheila Quigley, Ian Ayris, UV Ray, Danny King,  Col Bury, Mark Billingham,  Andrew Bell, Alan Griffiths (whose blog is aptly called BRIT GRIT), Julie Lewthwaite, Steve Mosby, Darren Sant, McDroll, Richard Godwin, Colin Graham, Neil White, Andy Rivers . . . and more! There’s even comic BRIT GRIT from Donna Moore and Christopher Brookmyre, BRIT GRIT thrillers from Matt Hilton and surrealist BRIT GRIT from Jason Michel!

And now, of course, we have True Brit Grit- A Charity Anthology edited by Luca Veste and me, with an introduction from Brit Grit mastermind Maxim Jakubowski. True Brit Grit is a hard-hitting, gritty, crime anthology  from 45 British writers. All coming together to produce an anthology, benefiting two charities.

Oh, and I even have a weekly column- Brit Grit Alley over at Out Of The Gutter Online!

“The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots.
Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp,
blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel
and comedy that’s as black as it’s bitter–this is BRIT GRIT!”

(This is adapted from a piece that first appeared in the program for the 2010 Noircon and was later republished at Pulp Metal Magazine)

 

OUT NOW – PROTECTORS : STORIES TO BENEFIT PROTECT

’41 stories. One cause: PROTECT 100% of proceeds go to PROTECT and the National Association to Protect Children – the army fighting what Andrew Vachss calls “the only holy war worthy of the name,” the protection of children.

We’ve rallied a platoon of crime, western, thriller, fantasy, noir, horror and transgressive authors to support PROTECT’s important work: lobbying for legislation that protects children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Powerful stories from George Pelecanos, Andrew Vachss, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Ken Bruen, Chet Williamson, James Reasoner, Charlie Stella, Michael A. Black, Wayne Dundee, Roxane Gay, Ray Banks, Tony Black, Les Edgerton and 16 more, with 100% of proceeds going to PROTECT.

PROTECTORS includes a foreword by rock critic Dave Marsh, and fiction by Patti Abbott, Ian Ayris, Ray Banks, Nigel Bird, Michael A. Black, Tony Black, R. Thomas Brown, Ken Bruen, Bill Cameron, Jen Conley, Charles de Lint, Wayne D. Dundee, Chad Eagleton, Les Edgerton, Andrew Fader, Matthew C. Funk, Roxane Gay, Edward A. Grainger, Glenn G. Gray, Jane Hammons, Amber Keller, Joe R. Lansdale, Frank Larnerd, Gary Lovisi, Mike Miner, Zak Mucha, Dan O’Shea, George Pelecanos, Thomas Pluck, Richard Prosch, Keith Rawson, James Reasoner, Todd Robinson, Johnny Shaw, Gerald So, Josh Stallings, Charlie Stella, Andrew Vachss, Steve Weddle, Dave White, and Chet Williamson.

Among PROTECT’s victories are the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, which mandated that the Justice Department change course and design a new national nerve center for law enforcement to wage a war on child exploitation, the Hero to Hero program, which employs disabled veterans in the battle against child abuse, and Alicia’s Law.

Join the fight, with 41 stories by top writers. Be a Protector!

41 stories. One cause: PROTECT

Trade Paperback: Createspace. Soon from online retailers and bookstores.

E-Book: Amazon Kindle Amazon Kindle UK Smashwords Barnes & Noble Kobo Bookstore Smashwords (all formats, and read the book in your web browser) Apple iPad (coming soon). Direct Purchase.’

More information HERE !

OFF THE RECORD 2 – AT THE MOVIES : COMING SOON!

Looking tasty, eh? Great cover by Steven Miscandlon. More info and cast list at Luca Veste’s Guilty Conscience.

True Brit Grit

True Brit Grit is out now!

“The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots. Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp, blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel and comedy that’s as black as it’s bitter—this is BRIT GRIT!”

45 British writers, 45 short stories. All coming together to produce an anthology, benefiting two charities…

Children 1st – http://www.children1st.org.uk/

and

Francesca Bimpson Foundation – http://www.francescabimpsonfoundation.org

The line up…

Introduction by Maxim Jakubowski

1. Two Fingers of Noir by Alan Griffiths 2. Eat Shit by Tony Black 3. Baby Face And Irn Bru by Allan Guthrie 4. Pretty Hot T’Ing by Adrian Magson 5. Black Betty by Sheila Quigley 6. Payback: With Interest by Matt Hilton 7. Looking for Jamie by Iain Rowan 8. Stones in Me Pocket by Nigel Bird 9. The Catch and The Fall by Luke Block 10. A Long Time Coming by Paul Grzegorzek 11. Loose Ends by Gary Dobbs 12. Graduation Day by Malcolm Holt 13. Cry Baby by Victoria Watson 14. The Savage World of Men by Richard Godwin 15. Hard Boiled Poem (a mystery) by Alan Savage 16. A Dirty Job by Sue Harding 17. Stay Free by Nick Quantrill 18. The Best Days of My Life by Steven Porter 19. Hanging Stanley by Jason Michel 20. The Wrong Place to Die by Nick Triplow 21. Coffin Boy by Nick Mott 22. Meat Is Murder by Colin Graham 23. Adult Education by Graham Smith 24. A Public Service by Col Bury 25. Hero by Pete Sortwell 26. Snapshots by Paul D Brazill 27. Smoked by Luca Veste 28. Geraldine by Andy Rivers 29. A Minimum of Reason by Nick Boldock 30. Dope on a Rope by Darren Sant 31. A Speck of Dust by David Barber 32. Hard Times by Ian Ayris 33. Never Ending by McDroll 34. Imagining by Ben Cheetham 35. Escalator by Jim Hilton 36. Faces by Frank Duffy 37. A Day In The Death Of Stafford Plank by Stuart Ayris 38. The Plebitarian by Danny Hogan 39. King Edward by Gerard Brennan 40. This Is Glasgow by Steven Miscandlon 41. Brit Grit by Charlie Wade 42. Five Bags Of Billy by Charlie Williams 43. It Could Be You by Julie Morrigan 44. No Shortcuts by Howard Linskey 45. The Great Pretender by Ray Banks

You can get it as an ebook from Amazon.

Or  a paperback  from Lulu.

ABIDE WITH ME BY IAN AYRIS

In American fiction, the lines of genre are regularly blurred so that characters in the writings of ‘dirty realists’ like Nelson Algren, Harry Crews, John Fante and Charles Bukowski can comfortably inhabit the same world as those of crime fiction writers such as James M Cain, Elmore Leonard and Charles Wilford. 


This, of course, is a very good thing.


With British fiction, perhaps because of the yoke of the class system, that doesn’t happened so much. But with the new sub genre of Brit Grit, things are changing. A lot of these new hard-hitting writers have as much in common with Irvine Welsh and Allan Sillitoe as they do with Ted Lewis.


This, of course, is a very good thing.


Which brings me to  Ian Ayris’ brilliant debut Abide With Me.


Abide With Me is a remarkable novel. A novel with balls and brains and heart.


Johnny Sissons is a young boy from the East End of London. 


Johnny’s family are normal,very likeable and very close. And they are getting by as best they can in sometimes difficult times. 


Johnny, like his father, also has an exhilarating love of West Ham football club, a passion that runs through the novel like a heartbeat.


Johnny’s neighbour ,Kenny, however, doesn’t have such luck – his home-life his heartbreaking grim.


Abide With Me is about their friendship. About loyalty, family, poverty.


It’s about doing the right thing. 


And about making mistakes and facing up to them.


Abide With Me  is an incredibly involving book.As we watch Johnny and Kenny grow up and head toward a life of crime, like dishwater down a plughole, we are with them all the way. 


Ayris’ gripping, gritty, beautiful novel is full of warmth, wit, excitement, comedy and tragedy. An uncompromised chunk of social realism that is bound to be in lots of people’s ‘top tens’ at the end of the year.


And, Abide With Me is available from Amazon and Amazon UK and various other classy joints.


So, what are you waiting for?

Laughing At The Death Grin! Out Now FROM Pulp Metal Fiction

 

Laughing At The Death Grin!

A short fiction anthology from PULP METAL MAGAZINE.

Edited by JASON MICHEL with stories from

 
U V RAY,

RICHARD GODWIN

 
B R STATEHAM
 
HEATH LOWRENCE 

 
IAN AYRIS,
 
CHRIS RHATIGAN
 
FRANK DUFFY
JODI MCARTHUR
 
& MORE including ME!
 
 
 
 

Guest Blogger: Ian Ayris – If Shakespeare Worked at Tesco . . .

If Shakespeare Worked at Tesco . . . by Ian Ayris.
I have spent the whole of my working life in low paid manual work, ranging from delivering washing machines to working in a record shop, a door factory, a gin factory, and currently spend every weekend cleaning toilets and bathing grown men for a living. 
Now, when I decided to try my hand at writing, I can’t say these employment choices didn’t provide me with a wealth of material, because they did.  In abundance.  The characters, the scrapes, the scams, even the despair and the drudgery.  All of it, ripe for the picking.  
But by the time I decided I wanted to write, I also had three young children.  And I had become a house-husband.  My life had become one of school runs and nappies.  Time ceased to exist in any meaningful form, serving merely as a constant reminder to how far behind it I was. 
In preparation for my career as an aspiring writer, between cooking dinners and sorting the kids out for school and picking them up and listening in stereo as they berated me for forgetting their lunch boxes or their trip money or signing their absence note,  I read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’.  Four hours reading and four hours writing, that’s what our Stephen recommends.  Every day.  Without fail.
Every day, I thought.  Blimey.
I started off well.  Staying up late into the night, getting up at silly o’ clock in the morning.  Consuming gallons of coffee just to keep the creative juices flowing and my brain from shutting down.  I’d sometimes get a couple of hours in.  I was doing all right.
But as time went by, and my inadequacies as a house-husband began to reveal themselves in all their shimmering glory, something had to go.  My four hour goal had been reduced to twenty minutes in the morning whilst Peppa Pig looked after the little’un.  Twenty minutes.  Twenty minutes?  How was my writing career ever going to take off in twenty bloody minutes?  I managed to knock out a few short stories, but no more.  And I began to think ‘How does anyone write anything given this sort of life?’ 
[Scene: Tesco.  Frozen Foods]
Enter Williams Shakespeare pushing a cage of fish fingers and Assorted Mixed Veg.]
Shakespeare   : There is a tide in the affairs of men.
                        Which, taken at the flood, leads on to  –
Old Granny     : Excuse me, sonny, can you tell me where the Fig Rolls are?
Shakespeare   : Aisle twenty-four, next to the Bourbons. 
Old Granny shuffles off to be replaced by Mr Section Manager.
Shakespeare   : Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted –
Mr S.M.           : William, the fish fingers. You’re mixing them up with the frozen cod.              Just keep an eye on what you’re doing, son, eh?  It’s not hard.
Shakespeare  : Yes, sir.  Sorry, sir.
Mr Section Manager strides off, indignant, shaking his head.  And young William is left to sort out his frozen fish based error.
So I’m down to twenty minutes Peppa Pig time a day, and I’ve got this idea for a book.  Three years later, and it’s done.  Pretty much.  I ended up writing most of it in my head, then using my Pepper Pig time to hammer them quick as I could onto the computer keyboard, lest they disappear into nothingness.  I’d work out whole sections of dialogue by speaking it aloud pushing the trolley round the supermarket or taking the little’un round the park.  I’m not saying this modus operandi wotsit thing didn’t get me plenty of stares and funny looks, because it did.  But by then, I didn’t care.  All I cared about was getting this book done, and if that meant garnering a certain ‘reputation’ amongst the locals, so be it. 
Over time, I had four short stories published.  In proper books and everything.  But I was floundering in that mid-book swamp that claims so many.  My twenty minutes of Peppa Pig was now spent, more often than not, laying on the settee with the little’un, eyes half closed, exhausted. 
Fear of failure?  Fear of success?  Not enough coffee?  Who can tell.  Who cares.  Bottom line, the book had come to a standstill. 
Then, one day I bumped into a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in ages.  She asked me how I was, what I was doing with myself nowadays.  I told her I’d had a few short stories published and was working on a book.  She asked what it was about.  I had a few loose pages of the manuscript in my bag, and showed them to her.  I watched her eyes as she read, watched the colour come to her cheeks and drain out again.  I knew what I had written was doing something to her.  That’s when I knew I had to finish the book, regardless of the unconscious fears I held or the programming schedule on Nickelodeon. 
[Scene: Tesco.  Frozen Foods]
Enter William Shakespeare, emptying the last of the Assorted Mixed Veg. into the freezer.
Shakespeare :  Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we –
Floor Manager, on loud speaker :  Mr Shakespeare.  Spillage in Aisle Twenty-One.                        Tomato sauce and mayonnaise.  Thank you.
Shakespeare, quietly, to himself, wandering over to the aforementioned aisle :                            On such a full sea are we now afloat,
                        And we must take the current when it serves,
                        Or lose our ventures.
See, if William Shakespeare had worked at Tesco, he would still have written all those amazing plays, all those beautiful sonnets.  Because when the fire burns that bright, when it burns so much it hurts, you just do it.  No excuses, no whining, no nothing.  You find a way, you use up every spare second, and you just bloody do it.  Because you know deep down, right deep down, getting it out, all these stories, all these voices, all these words, is the only chance you’ve got to make sense of yourself.
 
BIO: Ian Ayris has had several short stories published, all of which can be found in the various ‘Radgepackets‘ published by Byker Books. He is a devoted husband, father, and support of the Mighty Dagenham & Redbridge, although his wife might dispute the first, and possibly the second.

Links
http://www.bykerbooks.co.uk/
http://bykerbooks.co.uk/ourbooks.aspx
http://bykerbooks.co.uk/radge4sales.aspxLittle Otis