Wednesday, 18 November 2009

R Is For...

It's been a long time since I've done an alphabet post, so time to pick them up again. OK, and there's one Q too...

Quintin Jardine - Jardine is the author of the Skinner series (in which there are currently 18 books with a 19th on the way) featuring Edinburgh policeman Bob Skinner, and the Blackstone series (9 books in that one) featuring movie actor/private enquiry agent Oz Blackstone. There's also a book featuring Oz' wife Primavera. "This gritty, fast-paced mystery will pin even the most squeamish reader to the page" - Publishers Weekly (about Thursday Legends).

Ray Banks - Ray Banks has been on my "wow, this writer is excellent" list since I read his first book THE BIG BLIND a few years ago. A great first novel about a man who makes some bad decisions. Following on from that he has published four books in the Manchester based Cal Innes series - each of them is better than the last. Cal is a sort of PI, a man usually in great turmoil and with many flaws, but great heart. Fierce, harsh, stylish and great wit and humour, despite the darkness. If a series could be classed as noir (which, by my definition of noir, it can't) this one would be the one. "Banks is part of the post-Rankin generation for whom hardboiled is not just a state of mind but a reality. Tough-guy colloquial prose and a pace fast enough to skin a rabbit, at the service of a tale of down-and-dirty realism: this is fiery stuff." - The Guardian.

Reg McKay - Primarily a writer of true crime (some in collaboration with various Glasgow gangsters...sorry, EX-gangsters, tales of gangland bosses, killers and...errrr...footballers, Reg McKay also wrote two novels. One of his novels, DANCING WITH DEATH, is a fictionalised account of Glasgow's most notorious serial killer, Bible John. Sadly, Reg McKay died of cancer last month."Villains is another success for this writing team and I recommend it to fellow readers who lap up these racy, psychology-free, true crime confessions." - Books From Scotland

Robert Louis Stevenson - no explanation necessary, methinks.

Ross Robertson - Ross Robertson's debut novel A YEARNING FOR JACOB'S SON is a political thriller set in Scotland and involving "high-powered leaders of industry, a Washington based private equity firm, the Security Services, the aristocracy and an ancient Masonic brotherhood." Sorry - I can't find any reviews for this one.

Russel D McLean - Dundee PI McNee features in Russel's two books - THE GOOD SON and THE LOST SISTER. The writing is atmospheric, sparse and tight, whilst losing nothing of character development or plotting. McNee is a fascinating character, and the plots are gripping, original and dark, but shot through with a mordant Scottish humour. Wonderful stuff. "THE GOOD SON is the most exciting, and gripping, Scottish crime fiction debut of recent years. Stylish and atmospheric, it marks the arrival of a exceptional talent." John Connolly


  1. Ray Banks is a beut of a writer and I reckon I'd like Russel D McLeans books too.

  2. Sigh. Another post without doggies, but never mind. I was thinking perhaps I should try Ray Banks, and now I see Paul's comment which encourages me to do that. But first, I think, Russel D. McLean -- the Dundee setting intrigues me, for a start. I do have to say, however, that, the ever-useless Publishers Weekly notwithstanding, Quentin Jardine has got to come with a public warning of some sort. I tried very hard to read two of his -- two because I am, as everyone knows, a generous and kindly soul -- and I think it was Poisoned Cherries that did me in. Appalling tosh, and I do wish all these advertising executives would get it out of their noggins that the fact that their exorbitant compensation means they can retire early does not mean they can write crime novels. Or that they can write. I blame James Patterson for this and everything else. I do believe Ian Rankin, the most affable man ever to plunge a rapier through an arras, said something hinting he might be of similar opinion where Jardine is concerned.

  3. Philip - lovely to see you on your usual excellent form :o) Definitely try Banks and McLean (who sound rather like a dodgy firm of solicitors)