Recommended Read: This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan

this is how it endsWhen property developers buy a London tower block and start to force people out of their homes, Ella and Molly start a protest campaign .

But one night, Molly gets a phone call from Ella that throws both of their lives out of kilter.

Eva Dolan’s This Is How It Ends is a gripping, rich,  inventive and powerful 21st century crime thriller that will keep you on your toes.

Highly recommended.

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Recommended Read: Back To The World by James Shaffer

Back To The WorldJohnny Piper is raised and home-schooled by his strong and smart mother until his father returns home from the Korean War and things go awry.

Johnny is eventually sent off to fight in the Vietnam War leaving his boozing, gambling father to dig the family deeper into the mire.

James Shaffer’s Back To The World is his debut novella and it is as richly written as it is short and sharp, like a cross between Tobias Wolff and Jim Thompson.

Highly recommended.

Recommended Read: The Coming Thing by Anne Billson

the coming thingNancy is an unsuccessful London actress whose life goes decidedly pear-shaped when she gets pregnant – with the Antichrist.

Anne Billson’s The Coming Thing is a hell of a romp.

It’s like an inventive, witty and fast-moving cocktail of Ealing Comedy, the Final Destination films, The Plank, ’80s satire, and more.

The Coming Thing is a bundle of joy and is highly recommended.

 

Recomended Read: A Taste Of Old Revenge by B R Stateham

a taste of old revengeDetectives Hahn and Morales are called to investigate the shooting of a garage mechanic and soon uncover a can of worms that includes  the FBI, Mossad and Nazi hitmen who are in the US offing prominent members of the Jewish community.

Throw a young reporter with the hots for Hahn into the mix and you have an engrossing, well-paced whodunnit peppered with strong characters- not least of which is Turner Hahn with his Clark Gable looks, secret fortune and collection of classic cars.

A Taste Of Old Revenge  by B R Stateham is a gripping, well- plotted, crime thriller that is full of cinematic images and sharp twist and turns, and really would make a great film.

Recommended Read: Drawing Dead by JJ De Ceglie

DrawingDeadJack Andrelli is a private eye but he is far from being a knight in tarnished, let alone shining, armour.

Andrelli is a booze-sodden, big-mouthed, gambling addict with a death wish, who is haunted by the suicide of his teenage girlfriend and in hock to a gangster, whose goons would be all to happy to shut Andrelli’s smart mouth for good.

And then he meets a femme fatale who offers him a case that he thinks will solve all of his problems once and for all.

J J De Ceglie’s Drawing Dead is a whirlpool that drags you down into a delirious take on a classic private eye story, as told through the bleary eyes of a half-mad barfly.

Smart, funny and completely addictive, Drawing Dead is like staggering into a booze and piss stinking alleyway for a knee trembler and a mugging all at the same time. Yes. it’s that good!

Recommended Read: Laikonik Express by Nick Sweeney

Laikonik ExpressNolan Kennedy teaches English in Istanbul. One day, Kennedy, the son of an unsuccessful American  Beat writer, accidentally finds out that  Don Darius, his main boozing partner, has been secretly writing a novel – and a bloody good one it is, too.  But Don has already upped sticks to Poland  so Keenedy decides to track him down. Kennedy’s fool’s errand soon melts into Don Darius’ own romantic quest.

Nick Sweeney’s Laikonik Express is a marvelous novel  that is full of warmth and charm.  Although the young protagonists are a touch pretentious and overly earnest it’s still a pleasure to spend time in their company.  The real strength of Laikonik Express, however, is its rich supporting cast of people and places. Highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Southsiders -That’s All Right by Nigel Bird

southsiders 1 nigel bird.Scottish teenager Jesse Garon wakes up one day and finds a note on the fridge from his father saying that he has left home to get work in Belfast.  Later that day, Jesse gets an email from his alcoholic mother telling him that she has also left home. So Jesse is forced to fend for himself.

That’s All Right is the first of Nigel Bird’s Southsiders books. There are three novellas in all.  This is a great slice of kitchen sink drama that is full of well-drawn and sympathetic characters. That’s All Right is touching as well as gritty and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

Recommended Read: Tales From The Underbelly by Aidan Thorn

tales from the underbellyAidan Thorn’s Tales From The Underbelly is a collection of hard-hitting, interconnected crime stories, and is pure Brit Grit. The collection kicks off with a fistful of short, sharp jabs of flash fiction and ends with a couple of longer pieces which really show Thorn’s strengths.

A Sporting Chance is the story of a local football star who returns to his home town after a stint in the Premier League and has a fateful encounter with local gangster Tony Ricco. The final story, Worst Laid Plans, is a knockout punch telling the tale of a group of young lads whose lives soon spiral out of control after a night out. Worst Laid Plans is an absolute belter of a tale, full of dark humour, sharp twists and turns and great characters.

If you enjoyed Thorn’s cracking novella When the Music’s Over then you should most certainly grab a copy of Tales From The Underbelly.

Recommended Read: Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon

Dig 2 GravesDetective Sergeant Solomon Grey is a wreck of a man, battered and bruised by personal tragedy.

When he investigates the apparent suicide of a sixteen-year-old boy, he is soon embroiled in something much more sinister.

Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon is a not only a cracking whodunnit, it is also a powerful and gripping crime thriller that twists and turns as tightly as a corkscrew.

Highly recommended.

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: 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.