London Noir

Maxim Jakubowski, Editor
Maxim Jakubowski, Editor Serpent's Tail $11.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-85242-308-7
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Show other formats
FORMATS
Only a collection of British noir fiction would give us a PI who offers his clients tea or an enforcer who, when his tibia is crunched, ``dropped to one knee like a suitor in a Jacobean play.'' Still, the London of these 15 effective, workmanlike stories is sleazy and brutal, not cozy or literary. Several ``serial authors'' are represented, such as Mark Timlin in a flat, cliched PI story, ``Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)''--his Nick Sharman does better in the novels. John Harvey's ``Now's the Time'' seems only a slice of the life of his police procedurals' protagonist, Charlie Resnick. Also fragmentary is Derek Raymond's ``Brand New Dead,'' laden with atrocious violence and the loopy metaphors of his ``Factory'' novels but without their lyricism or social criticism. A tense read is Chaz Brenchley's ``Scouting for Boys,'' a nasty tale that keeps one guessing as to whether the heartless narrator is killing off ``rent boys.'' Most of the stories, such as Molly Brown's ``Angel's Day,'' in which the last bit of humanity is wrung from an addicted hooker, are unrepentantly bleak and can become wearying; to avoid overload, the stories are best read a few at a time. But most are grimly entertaining, and together they make up a good sampler of current British crime writing. Readers attracted to the dark side of life may find it just their cup of tea. (Apr.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X