Re: RARA-AVIS: Brit hardboiled (was Recent reads)

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 21 May 2001

Scatalogic claimed there was little, if any, British hardboiled worth notice besides Derek Raymond.

First of all, let me agree that Derek Raymond is very worthy of all of his praise. Also, you are right to seek out Ted Lewis. And not just the Carter books, GBH is at least as good as Get Carter.

However, in my Yankee mind, they are far from the only worthwhile Brit hardboiled writers. I'm a big fan of many of the Serpent's Tail and Do Not Press, especially Fresh Blood, writers. I've noted several times before how much I think of Russell James and Ken Bruen (man, I wish Dufour would get on the ball and distribute their latest in the US, scheduled for April but not out yet). They are true hardboiled masters. Let me add a few more nominees.

Small Time by Jerry Raine is a nicely detailed book about an off-license clerk coming to terms with being mugged. Has he come out with a second book? I'd like to read it.

Maxim Jakubowski's Tenderness Junction is a disturbing trip of a PI into the world of kinky sex, with echoes of Eye of the Beholder.

John, I'll have to check out David Peace. I picked up Nineteen Seventy Four.

I recently got around to reading John Milne's Dead Birds, which has been on my shelf for over a decade. Its downcast mood kind of reminded me of Greenleaf's Tanner series. Just in mood, though, this is a very Brit novel. There is no mistaking Jimmy Jenner for a Yank PI. I've got the other two in the series.

And, of course, there's Ian Rankin if we expand Brit to include Scotland. His Rebus series always reminded me a bit of William McIlvaney's Jack Laidlaw, both solving crimes in Glasgow's fog, although Laidlaw might have been even gloomier than Rebus, believe it or not.

A bit lighter, A White Merc with Fins by James Hawes is a fine, slightly tongue in cheek caper novel. Nicholas Blincoe was written several books in that interesection between crime and rave/drug novel (I'm guessing this is who Scatalogic was complaining about, but I like him).

So I guess I'm more optimistic about Brit hardboiled than Scatalogic is.


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