Brit Grit Alley features news and updates on what's happening down British crime fiction's booze and blood soaked alleyways.
Oi! Well, it's coming up to that time of the year when people start wishing each other a Merry X- Men and Happy New Beer, or something or other. In Britain, at least, a time of binge drinking, domestic violence, increased heart disease, suicide, crap songs and crap telly. And, of course, lots of you will be wanting to part with your hard-earned dosh, and plunge deeper into debt, in some spurious and unappreciated gesture of affection, I'm sure.
So, in for a penny, in for a pound, why not make it a Brit Grit Christmas?
Here are some Brit Grit Top Tips: Recommended Reads to take the load off your wallet.
One Day In The Life Of Jason Dean by Ian Ayris
Jason Dean is a debt collector and gangster’s enforcer who loves Shostakovich, poetry and his little girl. He awakes at the break of a harsh day next to a wife who hates his guts. Ian Ayris - whose- debut novel Abide With Me was one of my favourites of 2012- follows Jason’s Sisyphean trudge through the course of that single day and gives us a powerful novella that is tense, harrowing, violent, funny and very moving. Exceptional!
Liza is a gangster’s wife who is getting tired of taking care of her husband Archie, who has been suffering from Locked-In- Syndrome since a kidnapping went tits up. So, she contacts his partner Mr Suit and asks him to kill Archie. But things soon spiral out of Liza’s control in Nigel Bird’s brilliantly funny and violent crime novella. Cracking!
Pearce- the tough guy who featured in Guthrie’s fantastic Two- Way Split- just wants a quiet life since the death of his mother and sister. Walking his dog Hilda along the sea front is as much excitement as he craves, these days. But then the Baxter family contact him and ask him to act as bodyguard to 16 year old May Baxter. And then things really turn pear shaped. Harboiled, funny, delirious, twisted and verging on the surreal, Allan Guthrie’s Bad Men is a Brit Grit master class. Beaut!
It all starts in a pub. Jed is fresh out of the slammer and telling his cronies a yarn about a violent encounter with a fat Jambo in the local newsagents. Earwigging this particular conversation is Gail Silva - a gangster’s daughter and full-on wild child. And Jed is swiftly and sharply dragged toward bloody mayhem like dirty dishwater down a plughole. Tony Black smacks you in the teeth with brutal prose and vicious pacing ,and once again comes up with the Brit Grit goods in this short, sharp novella. Knockout!
And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a guilt induced charity purchase, so I have to mention that all of the above writers - and many more - also have stories in True Brit Grit: A Charity Anthology, edited by me and Luca Veste.
Altogether now : 'Last Christmas/ I Gave You My Arse ...'
See you soon, same Brit Grit Time, same Brit Grit Channel.