Category Archives: Nick Quantrill

Too Many Crooks Around The World: Nick Quantrill

Over in HULL, NICK QUANTRILL  nabs TOO MANY CROOKS

nick-quantrill-too-many-crooks

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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: The Dead Can’t Talk by Nick Quantrill

the dead can't talkPower, 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.

Crime Uncovered: Private Investigator

crime uncoveredI’m very pleased to contribute an interview with the splendid Nick Quantrill to the latest in the Crime Uncovered series.

Here the skinny:

‘The private investigator is one of the most enduring characters within crime fiction. From Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade— the hard-boiled loner trawling the mean streets—to Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings—the genteel companion in greener surrounds—the P. I. has taken on any number of guises. In Crime Uncovered: Private Investigator, editors Alistair Rolls and Rachel Franks dive deep into crime literature and culture, challenging many of the assumptions we make about the hardy P. I.

Assembling a cast of notable crime fiction experts, including Stephen Knight and Carolyn Beasley, the book covers characters from the whole world of international noir—Giorgio Scerbanenco’s Duca Lambert, Léo Malet’s Nestor Burma, and many more. Including essays on the genealogy and emergence of the protagonist in nineteenth-century fiction; interviews with crime writers Leigh Redhead, Nick Quantrill, and Fernando Lalana; and analyses of the transatlantic exchanges that helped to develop public perception of a literary icon, Crime Uncovered: Private Investigator will redefine what we think we know about the figure of the P. I.

Rolls and Franks have engaged here the tension between the popular and scholarly that is inherent in any critical examination of a literary type, along the way unraveling the mystery of the alluring, enigmatic private investigator. Crime Uncovered: Private Investigator will be a handy companion for any crime fiction fan.’

Get it HERE!

 

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!

Top Tips: Recommended Reads

the crooked beat 2Tony Black – The Lost Generation

Four sharp slices of life that underline Tony Black’s strong storytelling skills. The Lost Generation is the dreamlike tale of an ex-pat in Paris; Take It Outside is the raw story of an ex-con coping with life outside prison; First Day In The Job is an ‘angry young man’ story of kicking against the pricks and To Cool For School is a lowlife tragi-comedy. A handful of gems.

Gerard Brennan – Wee Danny

Gerard Brennan has followed up the splendid Brit grit novel Wee Rockets with a tough and tender coming-of-age novella that focuses on one of the aforementioned book’s most likeable characters. Wee Danny is a touching, very funny and realistic study of loyalty and friendship and I can’t wait for the next chapter in Danny’s life.

A D Garrett – Everyone Lies.

A.D. Garrett is the pseudonym for crime writer Margaret Murphy and forensics expert Professor David Barclay’s writing collaboration. This is their first novel and good stuff it is, too.

DCI Kate Simms and Professor Nick Fennimore have a history. They were both involved in a controversial failed investigation into the disappearance of Fennimore’s wife and daughter. Simms was subsequently pushed back down to the bottom of the career ladder and Fennimore retreated to the womb of work.

But Simms, on her way back up the ladder at last, needs Fennimore’s help with the case that involves a string everyone-lies-200pxof dead drug addicts. They are soon embroiled in gritty and hard hitting investigation of crime and corruption, vice and murder, which cuts through all strata of society.

Everyone Lies is a tense and engrossing mixture of social realism and fast-paced thriller which is sure to be the start of an interesting and very enjoyable series.

Nick Quantrill – The Crooked Beat

P I Joe Geraghty steps up to help out his brother who is in dire financial straits. However, Joe is soon under the radar of Hull’s underworld and subsequently digs up some of the city’s dark secrets. This is the third of Nick Quantrill’s Joe Geraghty novels and the best yet with perfect pacing and a great sense of place and history. Not a bum note in the whole book.

Blood Red Turns Dollar Green – Paul O’Brien.

Epic and intimate. Intense and involving. Paul O’Brien’s follow up to Blood Red Turns Dollar Green is even more streamlined and even faster moving than its cracking predecessor. Loose ends from the first book are tied up and new ones opened up. This is a major piece of crime fiction storytelling that breathlessly moves from character to character and backwards and forwards in time. It really would make a great TV series along the lines of Boardwalk Empire or The Sopranos and I can’t wait for part three.

Short, Sharp Interview: Nick Quantrill

thecrookedbeatPDB: What the hell is The Crooked Beat?

On the one hand, it’s my latest Joe Geraghty novel. Geraghty is now a former Private Investigator looking for a new purpose, but when his brother finds himself mixed up with a missing consignment of smuggled cigarettes, it’s time to get back to work. “The Crooked Beat” is also a track on The Clash’s “Sandinista!” album. It pains me to say it, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to track it down…

PDB: The Crooked Beat takes a look at Hull’s underworld history; do you have any interest in writing an ‘historical’ novel?

As it happens, I do. My long-term writing ambition is to produce a Hull-style, Brit Grit multi-generational saga covering the last century. Think “Downton Abbey” with violence and fish. One day…

PDB: The Joe Geraghty novels have a great sense of place. Will you be setting any novels outside Hull?

I’m pondering something for the novel after the one I’m currently working on. I like the idea of a slightly different challenge, but Hull is the city I know best. I think there’s a middle-ground to be found, so I may well have a dabble…

PDB: What unpublished novels are tucked away in the attic? And will you be revisiting them?

I have a police procedural novel tucked away which will never be published. It’s awful, awful stuff. I may well recycle the basic plot idea, but as it stands, I’d rather pretend it never existed.

PDB: Music features in a lot of your writing, are you of a musical bent, as it were?

I wish. I have friends who are, but my skills don’t extend beyond carrying stuff and selling merchandise. Having friends in bands who released their own records and just generally got on with stuff has always been a major influence on me, though.

PDB: What’s on the cards writing wise and non-writing wise?

Writing wise, I’m hard at work on the next novel. It’s a crime novel set in Hull, but this one doesn’t feature Joe Geraghty. We’ll see how it goes. Non-writing wise, probably changing more of my daughter’s nappies…

PDB: Where can people find out more about your writing?

I have a new website. Everything is on there.

 NQ

Recommended Reads. June 2013

1 lost summerRichard Godwin – One Lost Summer

Richard Godwin’s masterful One Lost Summer is a sweltering, intense noir set amongst London’s rich and powerful.  A claustrophobic, psychological study of obsession and loss, voyeurism and sex, with echoes of Simenon, Highsmith and Hitchcock.

Col Bury – The Cops Of Manchester

Another hard-hitting and realistic collection of flash fiction and short, sharp stories from Col Bury. The standouts are the grittiest – ‘A Public Service’ and the fantastic vigilante tale ‘Mopping Up.’ More from The Hoodie Hunter please?

Noir Nation: International Journal Of Crime Fiction 2

I was lucky to have a story – Who killed Skippy? – in the first issue of Eddie Vega’s Noir Nation. The second issue is another classy mix of great visuals, non-fiction and short stories. Cort McMeel‘s interview with Madison Smart Bell is fascinating and the short stories from Ray Banks, Court Merrigan and Andrew Nette are particularly splendid. All in all, a gem of a magazine.

Tony Black – Killing Time In Vegas

Tony Black’s Killing Time In Vegas is a typically tightly-written, hard-hitting, short story collection which sees the master of Tartan Noir turn a bleary eye on America’s underbelly. Every story is a great example of hardboiled crime fiction, though the title story was my favourite.

Darren Sant – The Bank Manager & The Bum

Darren Sant is best known for his fantastic and gritty Tales From The Longcroft books. But there was always a big heart inside all that grit and with The Bank Manager & The Bum he has given us a heart-warming slice of hard hitting urban fantasy. Great stuff it is, too. His best yet.

Edward A. Grainger – The Adventures Of Cash Laramie & Gideon Miles Volumes 1 & 2.

If you like westerns, you’ll love The Adventures Of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. If you like crime fiction, you’ll also be well served. And if you like both genres, then these are the books for you.  The stories in these collections are perfectly formed tales of the old west with a more modern slant. Cash and Gideon are Marshals, one white, one black. Men of honor dealing with the problems of violent and dangerous times. Every story is a gem but favourites are the hard-boiled noir of ‘The Outlaw Marshall’ and the intense tale of child abuse, ‘Melanie.’  In volume 2, Edward A. Grainger gives us another great collection of stories about good men in tough times. The first story – written with Chuck Tyrell – is probably the best of the bunch as it gives us Cash’s back story, telling us about how he was raised by Native Americans. The final story is a shot of the dark stuff.  Reflections In A Glass Of Maryland Rye, is pure western noir showing Cash Laramie’s darker side. The stories in between are gems also. Highly recommended.

laidlawTimothy Hallinan – Crashed.

Timothy Hallinan’s splendid Crashed introduces us to Junior Bender, a well-read burglar who is hired to steal a Paul Klee painting and ends up caught in a game of double-cross, triple- cross and more. Crashed is a very well written and immensely enjoyable crime caper full of rounded, realistic and interesting characters and peppered with sharp satirical swipes. A corker, for sure.

 John Llewellyn Probert – The Nine Deaths Of Dr Valentine

A serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. But not just any serial killer. No, this one is clearly obsessed with the films of the late great Vincent Price and is putting his obsession to good use by murdering doctors in various ingenious ways. The Nine Deaths Of Dr Valentine is smoothly written and  bloody marvellous fun, capturing the spirit of Dr Phibes and then giving it an extra twist. Highly recommended.

Nick Quantrill – I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

P I Joe Geraghty is hired to solve a disputed murder case in this short and sharp slice of crime fiction from Nick Quantrill which is a great introduction to his writing and his immensely likable PI.

William McIlvanney – Laidlaw.

A young girl’s body is found in a Glasgow park on a bright sunny day. The killer hides out in a derelict house; the only person that he can trust is Harry Rayburn, a former lover. Rayburn is a nightclub owner and low level criminal. Bud Lawson, the victim’s father, is full of violent rage and out for revenge, no matter the consequences. John Rhodes, Glasgow’s biggest gangster, has been asked to help him. D C Harkness is assigned to the case alongside Jack Laidlaw, a brooding hard-bitten cop with the soul of a poet.

Laidlaw is an artful, gritty, social-realist novel that was written in the mid `70s and has only recently been republished. It is a hard-hitting, multi-POV collection of rich character studies, the most potent character being the city of Glasgow, as conflicted and conflicting as Detective Laidlaw himself.

Laidlaw is the impressive start to a short series of novels featuring Detective Laidlaw, a series that I look forward to following. Marvelous stuff.

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)

 

Off The Record 2- At The Movies is Out Now !!!

Off The Record 2- At The Movies is an anthology of 47 short stories, based on film titles, from some of the  best and most bad-bum writers around.

And all proceeds go to charity.

Find out more in my latest Brit Grit Alley column which is, as usual, over at Out Of The Gutter Online.

SHORT, SHARP INTERVIEW: NICK QUANTRILL

PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication, “Bang Bang You’re Dead”, in 25 words or less?

NQ: It’s about the decisions a young man makes when he’s released from prison. Some are easier made when you have a gun in your pocket…

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

NQ: I’m not a big TV watcher and never have been. That said, I’ve enjoyed Jimmy McGovern’s “The Accused” and I’m hoping the new series of “The Thick Of It” will be brilliant.

In respect of film, I went to the cinema for the first time in ages to see the new Batman film. It was ok – the plot and characterisation wasn’t all it could have been, but it looked fantastic on the big screen.

The last great book I read was “Weirdo” by Cathi Unsworth. It had the lot for me – plot, character, pace, grit – just brilliant. I’m currently reading “A Dark Place To Die” by Ed Chatterton, a fine slice of Brit Grit split between Liverpool and Australia.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

NQ: For me it is. I still get a lot of pleasure from the act of reading. As a writer, I don’t think you ever switch off completely when you’re reading – I’m always looking to work out what the writer has done that’s so appealing (or not), but sometimes I read something so good it completely takes me outside of myself and leaves me wondering how I’ll ever measure up. But that’s the challenge, surely?

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

NQ: I’ve had a little dabble with writing for the screen and it was enjoyable, even if I was very much the bumbling fool. I don’t think it’s something I would actively seek to do at the moment, but if an opportunity presented itself, I’d look at it seriously. I see myself as a novelist, and that’s the focus.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

NQ: Hopefully, just as much as it needs. With “Bang Bang You’re Dead I didn’t really need to do any. It’s set in the part of Hull where I grew up, so it was well framed in my mind. I don’t think I did much more than have a slow drive around the area, just to make sure I remembered certain things as clearly as I thought I did. I had to take some liberties with the geography to make the story work as I wanted, but it was definitely the easiest thing I’ve written in terms of research.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

NQ: I genuinely don’t know. It’s great to be in touch with other writers for networking and keeping up to date with news. It’s also great to be able let people know what you’re doing, but I certainly don’t want to annoy. I’d be mortified if it was said I was doing too much on the self-promotion front. It’s difficult to make an impact, but it’s very easy to get it wrong.

PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?

 NQ: It’s really just about finishing up the third Joe Geraghty novel, “The Crooked Beat”. After that, I’m not so sure. It’ll be on with a novel, and I’m pretty sure what it’s going to be and I have the synopsis partly nailed down, but it’s nice to feel there’s nothing definite at this moment in time. I could write another novella, I could change my mind on the next novel…we’ll see…

www.hullcrimefiction.co.uk

“Bang Bang You’re Dead” is available 17th September as part of Byker Books’ Kindle-exclusive novella series, “Best of British”.

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.