RARA-AVIS: Epics and Martyn Waites

From: T. Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@shaw.ca)
Date: 28 Sep 2004

E. Borgers wrote:

>David Peace and his Red Riding Quartet. Not only an epic, but the
work of a real top class writer. Absolute noir in West Yorkshire. Far from the ridiculous SK gothic replays of so many best-sellers. I read only 3 of the series of 4, but it's enough to make my mind: Peace belongs to the kind of authors which appears once every ten years, when we're lucky! My advice: don't read the 4 books (1974-1977-1980-1983) in a row. Wait at least two weeks between 2 of them... IMO he is closer to Derek Raymond's universe than Ellroy's, but he shares some technique and the power of his writing with the second. Do not miss this series.

Ed suggests to wait two weeks between Peace books, but two months or even a year would be better. I read 1974 and 1977 almost back-to- back while visiting in Yorkshire a couple of years ago and thought they were two of the best books I had read in awhile. Before returning to Canada I tracked down 1980 in Hay-On-Wye, the booktown in Wales, and 1983 in a bookstore on Charing Cross Road in London. I could hardly wait to read them, but every time I picked up 1980 I just didn't feel I was ready to take on Peace again. He is a "tough" read, but worth the effort. Since then I ordered his latest book, GB84, which focuses upon the miners' strike in 1984. Last night I picked up 1980 once again, but put it back on the shelf and replaced it with Blind Eye by John Morgan Wilson, another author who is not an easy read. I am looking forward to GB84 to see how it compares to Born Without Punches, another crime novel book about the strike by Martyn Waites.

Waites's series featuring Newcastle journalist Stephen Larkin is excellent although I enjoyed Candleland, which is set in London, the most. The New York Times says it better than I can. "Martyn Waites stands out in the crowded field of young British noir writers...with his bruised characters, raw-edged dialogue and extraordinary night vision."

Anyone else read Waites?

Kent Morgan

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