Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lets Talk About Brits, Baby

For some reason, I've been noticing how many British, Scots and Irish authors are on my radar. Both up and comers and established writers alike. And I know they may not like being lumped together in a big British Isles shepherds pie like that, but deal with it. I'm sure they would all see my writing on the same geographical plane as a writer from Florida or something. Equally far apart.

There's no real point to this other than to highlight some writers I find really quite good and who are putting out some remarkable books these days. Take Paul Brazill. He writes like mad, pushing a ton of material, most of it short to very short. He is wildly inventive and dark as night. He latest, Guns Of Brixton is from the great Byker Books series 'Best of British'.  Also check out Gumshoe, the Drunk on the Moon series, the countless anthologies. (Name checking both the Clash and Tom Waits in book titles is seriously badass too)

I've praised Ian Ayris' Abide With Me before. His latest, One Day In The Life Of Jason Dean is another in the Byker Books 'Best of British' series. Ian's writing is great if you want to feel totally steeped in Brit speak. You know the way a lot of singers sound American when they sing, but then some sneak through like Billy Bragg who are undeniably from the UK? that's Ian's writing.

Nigel Bird is someone who seems poised for something big. His novel In Loco Parentis and the novellas Smoke and Mr. Suit are great noir visions told with a strong voice.  Another prolific short story writer, his work is everywhere.

Nick Quantrill writes about his hometown of Hull with the kind of sharp,  acerbic eye that classic detective and PI fiction has been written about L.A. and New York. His Hull is a character as much as his protagonist Joe Geraghty. A series as vibrant as it is dark and shadowy.

I can't go without mentioning my favorite Scottish crime writer, Allan Guthrie.  Now a strong champion of ebooks as well as being an agent and publisher with Blasted Heath, Guthrie writes some of the darkest, morbidly funny and gripping novels in crime fiction. With all those other hats on, his output has slowed down, but his novels Savage Night, Hard Man, Two Way Split, Kiss Her Goodbye remain favorites. If anyone is reading closely, I'm sure I've ripped him off several times without knowing it.  They're just my kind of books.

There's Gerard Brennan who you shouldn't miss. Wee Rockets and his FightCard MMA book are good places to start, but he's also got a ton of short stuff out there.

See? So many from across the Atlantic. Tony Black, Ray Banks, Matt Hilton, Ken Bruen. These more established guys continue to bring the heat.

I'm realizing now I have very few female Brits to offer. Someone give me some names. But go check out these blokes first.


Nigel Bird said...

Well, Eric, this all has to be taken with great pride as there's little better than being praised by a wonderful writer (I've just read Bouquet and the review's due soon - suffice to say, another brilliant work). I'm with you on all the folk mentioned and think that anyone picking up a book by any of these guys is in for a real treat. And those established guys? You betcha.
You ask for some female Brits. Newblood comes in the form of McDroll who writes some compelling stuff in short and longer form. I'll also throw in Julie Morrigan. For more established, Zoe Sharp and Liza Cody. And then Kate Horsley (she was in Pulp Ink and Best Of British Crime more than once and she'd better be popping up soon with her novel!).
Thanks again.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Thanks very much for including me with that classy bunch Eric.

As for female Brit Gritters you could do worse than checking out Julie Morrigan's Cutter's Deal.

Brian Lindenmuth said...

Bloody Women by Helen Fitzgerald

The Devil's Staircase by Helen Fitzgerald

The Singer by Cathi Unsworth

Bad Penny Blues by Cathi Unsworth

The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid (or the TV series of the same name)

Dana King said...

I find myself in a similar situation, reading more writers from the British Isles all the time, and not sure what to call them as a group. "Excellent" comes to mind, but that's not very geographically precise.

Try Zoe Sharp. She writes thrillers about a female personal protection agent named Charlie Fox. Not normally my cup of tea, but she avoids the conventions that tend to make modern thrillers over the top while still keeping up the pace and credibility. Definitely worth a read.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Thanks very much for the mention in the fine group,Eric.

David Cranmer said...

I've had the honor (or honour) of publishing several of these giants and writing a short story with Brazill, baby. An unbeatable bunch.