Category Archives: recommended reads

Recommended Read: Eye For An Eye by Paul Heatley

eye for an eyeJasmine Doyle and her friends are messing about in a pub after hours when one of them throws a dart which hits Jasmine in the eye.  Her gangster dad Neil is soon out for revenge, calling in old stalwart Graeme to track down the perpetrator of the crime.

Paul Heatley’s Eye For An Eye is a brilliant and brutal novella with a fantastically drawn cast of characters.  The father-son relationship between Graeme and his reluctant sidekick Tracksuit Tony is particularly marvellous and the book is as touching as it is violent. Very highly recommended. More Please!

Recommended Read: The Lawn Job by Chuck Caruso

the lawn jobCraig Collins has a pretty cushy job mowing the lawn of local pizza magnet Gino Pasarelli but he goes and screws it up when he can’t keep his eyes off Gino’s ageing glamour-girl wife.  So, he comes up with a foolproof get-rich-quick plan as a way to take his revenge.

Chuck Caruso’s The Lawn Job is just fantastic – cruel, hilarious and painfully true. Craig  Collins is a classic noir protagonist – thinking that he’s much cleverer than he actually is, he just keeps digging himself deeper and deeper into the mire. The Lawn Job’s cast of characters is great from the ridiculous Gino to Craig’s stoner cronies to the super-cool stripper Juana.

There’s the flavour of early Elmore Leonard and the taste of James M. Cain in The Lawn Job but Caruso’s debut novel is completly NOW and is very highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Skull Meat by Tom Leins

Skull Meat - Tom Leins - jpegJoe Rey is a small town tough-guy-for-hire who digs himself deeper and deeper into the mire when he takes on a job for ageing gangster Marie Andretti.

Tom Leins‘ ‘Skull Meat’ is Brit Grit at its grittiest. Ulra-violent, foul-mouthed, atmospheric, hilarious and choc-full of great lines.  I loved it!

Recommended Read: Bad Luck City by Matt Phillips

bad luck cityJaded Las Vegas hack Sim Palmer is approached by a stranger in a bar and asked to look into the disappearance of a young girl.

Twists, turns and violence quickly ensue in a classic slice of atmospheric, brutal, fast-paced pulp fiction.

Matt Phillips’ Bad Luck City is a whip crack of a read and is highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Fatboy by Paul Heatley

Fat BoyJoey has had enough. His girlfriend has left him, taking their young son with her. He comes close to losing a bar job that he hates, and he is regularly verbally abused by one of his customers, a  local big shot.

So he hits on a plan that will sort everything out. Of course, in true noir fashion, it’s not as easy as he thinks.

Paul Heatley’s Fatboy is brilliant. A perfect example of smalltown noir worthy of Jim Thompson or Dave Zeltserman. Highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Portrait Of An Assassin by Richard Godwin

18193320_10213098319995219_4819326852453550096_oJack is a successful international hit-man who is usually  employed by the Sicilian Mafia.

When he finds himself deep in the murky waters of the British government, things spiral violently out of control.

Richard Godwin’s Portrait Of An Assasin  is full-on, hardboiled, pulp action and cracking fun it is too!

Recommended Read: Watching The Bodies by Graham Smith

watching the bodiesJake Boulder is a Scottish hardman transported to the USA who works as a bouncer and also as an assistant to his PI friend Alfonse. As they investigate the death of one of Jake’s old flames, they discover that there is a serial-killer on the loose.

Watching The Bodies  is the first in what promises to be a cracking new series from Graham Smith.

Hard-hitting, tightly paced and with lots of great twists and turns.

Recommended Read: Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan

watch her disappearDI Zigic and DS Ferreira are called to investigate the murder of a trans woman in Eva Dolan’s fourth novel set in Peterborough police’s Hate Crimes Unit.

Once again Dolan gives us an evenly paced police procudural full of  twists and turns, believeble characters  and a stong sense of place and time.

Engrossing and moving, Watch Her Disappear is another gritty gem from Eva Dolan.

Recommended Reads: April 2017

Some recent faves …

The Things I Love Will Kill Me Yet by Rob Piercethe things i love

Rob Pierce is surely the noir Raymond Carver. In this brutal and brilliant short story collection you’ll find a veritable cornucopia of tightly written and gritty tales of people living on the razor’s edge of life.

Highly recommended.

Fun City Punch by James Newman fun city punch

James Newman’s latest spin on the private eye novel is a potent piece of futuristic noir. Fun City Punch is winding and twisting tale that vividly blends Beat poetry and pulp prose to create something quite special.

A Man With One Of Those Faces by Caimh McDonnell

a man with one of those facesFast-moving and hilarious, McDonnell’s knockabout crime caper is a joy from start to finish. Great characters, fantastic dialogue and full of twists and tuns, I bloody loved it.

A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps by Nick Kolakowski a brutal bunch of heartbroken saps

Kolakowski follows up his cracking debut short story collection with a full-on slice of hard-boiled pulp fiction. Blackly comic, violent and jam-packed with richly drawn characters, A Brutal Bunch Of Heartbroken Saps  is a hell of a read.

 

 

Recommended Reads: March 2017

moorlandsMoorlands by Jason Beech

Larry is a burglar who needs to get his hands on some cash. Sharpish. When his step- father – a retired cop – asks him to track down his errant sister , he has the chance of a way out of  his financial problems but Larry soon digs himself even deeper into the mire. Moorlands is a tight, atmospheric crime thriller with a strong sense of melancholy.

The Vampire by Paul Heatley the vampire

Martin works in a dirty book store and spends his life haunting the losers and lowlifes at the nearby motel. Like Heatley’s similarly hard-hitting The Motel Whore, The Vampire gazes into the darkness with bloodshot eyes and is similarly unflinching. Gripping and certainly not for the squeamish.

The Black-Hearted Beat by Jason Michel

the black hearted beatWar correspondent Jude Mortimer lives a life on the edge in the first part of Jason Michel’s The Black-Hearted Beat, which kicks off brilliantly, like a visceral blend of Graham Greene and The Deerhunter. Teetering on the precipice of a dream, a nightmare, delirium, oblivion, The Black-Hearted Beat is as rich and red as wine and blood. Taste it.

 

Recommended Reads: February 2017

ryan-bracha-jeebiesPhoebe Jeebies and The Man Who Annoyed Everybody by Ryan Bracha

Tony is a horrible man, he really is. He’s one of ‘the enlightened’ – a group of oddballs who are paid by a nasty rich kid to annoy people. Not in any major way but just enough to entertain the kid. And he’s good at it too. And then he meets Phoebe and she’s lovely, she really is.

Phoebe Jeebies and The Man Who Annoyed Everybody is bloody marvelous and really showcases Ryan Bracha’s strengths as a storyteller. In lesser hands, Phoebe Jeebies and The Man Who Annoyed Everybody would have just been an entertaining but slight scattershot of high-brow farce, low-brow satire, 6th form japes and jibes.  Bracha, however, has crafted a book that is artful, full of heart and really quite lovely.

The Origins Of Benjamin Hackett by Gerald M O’Connor benjamin-hacket

Five days in the life of eighteen-year-old Benjamin Hackett as his world is turned upside down. The Origins of Benjamin Hackett by Gerald M  O’Connor is a raucous and riotous coming of age story that is brutal, tender and hilarious.

vicious-dogsVicious Dogs by Henry Brock

Derek Lasker is a down on his luck PI who is hired to follow a wayward son and inevitably digs himself deeper and deeper into the mire. Henry Brock’s Vicious Dogs is a brutal slice of lowlife noir that smartly blends Charles Bukowski with Eddie Bunker and breathes new life into the PI novel. I bloody loved it!

Recommended Reads: January 2017

a-funny-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-billingham-forumA Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Billingham Forum – Martin Stanley

The Stanton Brothers are back and they have a plan to rip-off a drug deal that takes place at Billingham Forum. But,as ever,  things soon spiral violently out of control. Martin Stanley’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Billingham Forum is simply fantastic. A violent and funny masterclass in Brit Grit crime fiction that is full of sharp dialogue and great characters.

The Death Of Tarpons by Les Edgeron

Cory returns to the small town he grew up in and digs through the ashes of his past. Les Edgerton’s The Death Of Tarpons is a brilliantly written, vividly evocative, and very moving coming-of- age story with a razor-sharp edge.the-death-of-tarpons

church-of-wireChurch Of Wire by Andrew Hook

Mordent is a private detective on the trail of a serial killer whose victims are the survivors of attacks from other serial killers. His investigation eventually leads him to a strange religious cult known as The Church Of Wire. Andrew Hook’s Church Of Wire is a quirky, clever and vividly cinematic twist on the PI tale that would make a great HBO television series.

Shine On, Marquee Moon – Zoe Howe shine-on-marquee-moon

Sylvie works for Concierge, former New Romantic superstars who are in the middle of a career comeback. She is also engaged to one of the band, moody Nick. However things swiftly turn pear-shaped when Sylvie starts to suspect that Nick’s mansion is haunted.  Zoe Howe’s Shine On, Marquee Moon is a freewheeling blend of romantic comedy, French farce and musical satire that is choc-full of laugh out loud moments.

Recommended Read: Summoning The Dead by Tony Black

summoning-the-deadThe 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.

Recommended Read: Burning Down The House by Evangeline Jennings

burning-down-the-houseThe United States elects a flim-flam man as President and America very quickly becomes no place like home for any of Burning Down The House‘s well-drawn cast of characters.

Evangeline Jennings‘ gripping dystopian novel takes place in a near future that seems chilling real.

Burning Down The House is part slice -of-life drama, part violent thriller, part satire.

The rich plot is full of sharp twists and turns and  the characters are all realistic and sympathetic. The many music references are smartly used and the ending is both brutal and sad. Highly recommended.