A powerful Noir short story collection edited by the Bukowski of Noir, Paul D. Brazill. Exiles features 26 outsiders-themed stories by some of the greatest crime and noir writers, K. A. Laity, Chris Rhatigan, Steven Porter, Patti Abbott, Ryan Sayles, Gareth Spark, Pamila Payne, Paul D. Brazill, Jason Michel, Carrie Clevenger, David Malcolm, Nick Sweeney, Sonia Kilvington, Rob Brunet, James A. Newman, Tess Makovesky, Chris Leek, McDroll, Renato Bratkovič, Walter Conley, Marietta Miles, Aidan Thorn, Benjamin Sobieck, Graham Wynd, Richard Godwin, Colin Graham, and an introduction by Heath Lowrance.
Over at McVoices – the Scottish writing website –Fiona Johnson says:
‘Who would you nominate for the ‘Alternative’ Crime book of the year – somebody not yet well known, needn’t be Scottish.
I’ll start the ball rolling with Paul D. Brazill and his Luke Case series, RED ESPERANTO, DEATH ON A HOT AFTERNOON and THE KELLY AFFAIR.‘
Which is very nice indeed!
America may well be the official home of pulp and noir but the United Kingdom, long perceived as the land of tame 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, Jack Strange, Paul Heatley, Mrtina Cole, 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)
PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication/ project in 25 words or less?
In THE WRONG DELIVERY everything goes up in flames and down to the depths for Morna and Gordon in more than one sense.
PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?
Book – got to be The Unburied Dead from the delicious Douglas Lindsay.
Comic crime and delicious noirness at its best in his new detective
Film – Ginger Snaps – from back in 2000 but I hadn’t seen it
before, teenage werewolf movie with the most dysfunctional teenagers
you’ve ever met.
TV – Empire with that lovely Jeremy Paxman. Worth
watching just to see his astonishment when an Egyptian gentleman was
adamant that there was nothing good to be said about the English.
PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?
You can’t write without reading, it’s vital. Everybody can learn no matter
whether you are an experienced writer or just starting out. There is
never anything better than getting totally lost in a good book and if
the writing is any good then it is impossible to not get drawn in by
the plot and characters.
PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?
I’d love to write a comedy crime/noir sitcom set in Largs, Ayrshire. a dead body found behind the ice cream counter in Nardinis….
PDB: How much research goes into each book?
I write what I know and what I don’t know, I make up….
isn’t that what a writer is supposed to do?
PDB: How useful or important are social mediafor you as a writer?
Without social media I’d be sitting here in Argyll talking to the sheep. They are not goodlisteners and not terribly keen on crime writing, they prefer romances.
PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?
Throughout 2012 I’ll be serializing THE WRONG DELIVERY, my crime/ humour / noir book as well as keeping my review blog going and writing some new short stories. The novel is planned out so I might even start chapter 2. Who knows?
The agonising wait from Beautiful, Naked and Dead wasn’t too long…… I suppose, and there was the short story in between that filled in a little of Moses’, the protagonist in both books, back story, but actually to be handed such a volatile second novel where one wrong move will lead this ticking time-bomb to explode into a million razor sharp shards of violent energy in your hands, is more than I could ever have hoped for from the brilliant Josh Stallings.
The second book is always tricky, especially after Moses McGuire, the red haired Viking loved by women and feared by men, strode onto the downtown stripper scene of L.A with such force in Beautiful, Naked and Dead.; a bouncer with a heart big enough to take away the pain of those lost women; those strong women who die a little more each day just to survive into the next but who has no care for his own life, believing that redemption is impossible.
Forget that then. Out There Bad goes way beyond anything that Stallings has written before. Let’s talk violence if that’s what you’re after. You’ll love the slasher assassin; moving in the shadows, tossing tarot cards on the bodies of victims, untouchable and invisible. Blood runs freely across many a page in spurts, rivulets and spray and you’d better watch out as you read or you might just get splattered as you stand there on the sidelines watching with gruesome awe the skilled knife work and deadly accuracy of the kill.
Then there are the guns. Moses loves his guns. I’m no expert but I think that you’d find it pretty difficult to name a gun that Moses doesn’t use somewhere in this tale of retribution, mercy and love and it’s just as well that Moses seems to be well stocked with firearms because this time he seems to be taking on the whole of Armenia with a few Mossad agents thrown in for good measure.
Moses, our hero, falls in love with Anya, a Russian stripper. She is the perfect woman that he has always dreamt of, the one he sees himself strolling off into the sunset with whilst throwing sticks into the surf for his beloved dog, Angel; his life as an avenging spirit finally over.
Well, like that’s going to happen! Moses, deep under her spell, promises to find her younger sister who has been lured to the Land of Dreams from her village in Russia with the hope of swimming pools and beautiful clothes. Instead, Nika finds herself trapped as a sex slave at the age of thirteen.
Most of the action takes place in Mexico where corruption at all levels is rife, allowing Moses to rampage as only he can, taking many blows and surviving degradation along the way.
This is not a tale for the feint-hearted. There are some scenes of the most heartbreaking depravity as Stallings describes the life that the young girls in captivity are made to endure and he doesn’t hold back as Moses is forced to face an evil that he will never recover from in his life; that will be there everyday as he looks into the mirror and sees his soul.
You will not be able to put Out There Bad down from the moment you pick it up and when you are finished you will start at the beginning again. Now I need to go away and put together the soundtrack to this book; it’s Clash time…crank up the guitars. Ahhhhhhhhh!
Fiona Johnson’s smashing blog is I Meant To Read That