Under The Radar



Today I posted a review of Worm over at Sea Minor. It’s a cracking book and deserves some attention.

It occurs to me that a number of brilliant reads from the US seem to dip under the radar here in the UK, so I thought I’d highlight some of my favourites from the past year in case I can get your juices flowing. These are mainly gritty noir and crime titles, but they’re worthy reads regardless of the genre.

Uncle Dust tells the story of a small-time bank-robber who is struggling to settle down with a lady and her son. He takes on a little job on the side as muscle for a local heavy and it’s not long before his life crumples once again.

Worm is set on an oilfield that has created a new wealth to the local town. In many ways, this reflects the lawless Wild West, but the themes seem more serious and the stakes are higher than they were back then.

Tussinland by Mike Monson is a romp through a murder investigation with a hapless ex-teacher at its core.

Factory Town is extremely dark. It takes place in a nightmare of a man who is dying. The unfolding of his world tangles reality with fantasy and is uncompromising.

Dirtbags follows a would-be serial killer as he takes his chance to fulfill the dreams of a lifetime when he is presented with a hit.

The Iron Will Of Shoeshine Cats is how The Godfather might have turned out if the said Godfather was a Jewish New Yorker.

Home Invasion by Patti Abbott is a very well crafted tale that traces the generations of a dysfunctional family as they are sucked into the shadows.

Dare Me is by Patti Abbott’s daughter, Megan. It’s a brilliantly told tale about a cheer-leading team that exposes the charades surrounding the youngsters and the coach alike. Brilliant and poetic.

Gravesend is a novel about Brooklyn. A murderer is about to be released and the brother of the victim are preparing for his return. Nothing is as is expected.

The Axeman Of Storyville is a great interpretation of true events in New Orleans. It’s by Heath Lowrance, which should be enough.

Finally, seek out Willy Vlautin’s The Free. You won’t regret it.

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