Darkness Across the Channel …

One of the distinct and, thankfully, long-lasting pleasures, not to say sources of pride, in my writing life has been being published in France by François Guérif in Rivages/Noir, the collection that he founded and continues to direct for Éditions Payot & Rivages, and which includes such writers as James Lee Burke, Robin Cook, James Elroy, David Goodis, George V. Higgins, Tony Hillerman, Bill James, Elmore Leonard, William McIlvanney, Ross Thomas, Jim Thompson, Donald Westlake and Daniel Woodrell. Who would not be proud to be a part of such a list?

Beginning with Lonely Hearts [Coeurs Solitaires] in 1993, François has accorded me the honour of publishing all of my crime fiction written since that time in the Rivages/Noir series – looking at my shelves, some 22 books in all – in addition to the short story, Billie’s Blues, which was published as a slim volume in 2002.

Written expressly for François and Rivages/Noir, and published originally in a French translation by Jean-Paul Gratias, Billie’s Blues is a Resnick story which opens with the discovery of a body on the Forest, the broad area of inner city parkland which hosts the annual Goose Fair. This is how it begins …

Angels, that was what he thought. The way she lay on her back, arms spread wide, as if making angels in the snow. The front of her coat tugged aside, feet bare, the centre of her dress stained dark, fingers curled.  A few listless flakes settled momentarily on her face and hair. Porcelain skin. In those temperatures she could have been dead for hours or days. The pathologist would know.

Straightening, Resnick glanced at his watch. Three forty-five. Little over half an hour since the call had come through. Soon there would be arc lights, a generator, yellow tape, officers in coveralls searching the ground on hands and knees. As Anil Khan, crouching, shot off the first of many Polaroids, Resnick stepped aside. The broad expanse of the Forest rose behind them, broken by a ragged line of trees. The city’s orange glow.

Billie’s Blues can be found in two Arrow paperbacks, Now’s The Time and A Darker Shade of Blue, as well as, if you’re fortunate to find a copy, Minor Key, a limited edition hardback from Nottingham’s Five Leaves Publications.

B Blues

The twelfth and final Resnick novel, Darkness, Darkness, partly set during the Miners’ Strike of 1984/5, was first published in France as Ténèbres, Ténèbres in a large format paperback in the Rivage/Thriller series in 2015, and is now being republished in the smaller Rivages/Noir format.

“Ténèbres, Ténèbres est de bout en bout passionnant, émouvant et réaliste.”
Bernard Poirette, RTL

Tenebres

 

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Going Down Slow …

A while ago, 2009 to be precise, Nottingham-based small press publisher, Five Leaves, brought out a snazzy-looking hardback collection of my stories and poems in a limited edition. Minor Key, by name. The good news is they are going to follow it up, this November, with a similarly sized book, also a limited edition, bringing together seven stories which have not previously appeared together in any collection.

key

Going Down Slow & Other Stories will include two Charlie Resnick stories, three featuring my North London-based private detective, Jack Kiley, and two others.

Of the Resnicks, “Going Down Slow” was first published as an ebook by Random House in 2014, and then reprinted in the same year in a special Arrow paperback edition of Darkness, Darkness for exclusive sale at Sainsbury’s.“Not Tommy Johnson”was first published in OxCrimes, edited by Mark Ellingham & Peter Florence for Profile Books, also in 2014.

The first of the Jack Kileys, “Fedora” was first published in 2013 in Deadly Pleasures, edited by Martin Edwards for Severn House and was the winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2014. “Second Chance” was first published in 2014 in Guilty Parties, again edited by Martin Edwards for Severn House.The most recent of the three, “Dead Dames Don’t Sing”- more a novella, I like to think, than a short story – was first published as No.32 in the Bibliomystery Series, edited by Otto Penzler for the Mysterious Bookshop in New York in 2016.

Which leaves two strays: “Handy Man”, which was published in Ambit magazine, No 204, in the Spring of 2011, and “Ask Me Now” , which was published in 2015 in These Seven, edited by Ross Bradshaw for Notingham’s Five Leaves Bookshop, in association with Bromley House Library and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

Take all this as an early warning; there will be more details, including how and where to order copies, at a later date.

 

“Ask Me Now” At Last, At Last …

TheseSeven-eflyer

After much preamble, the “These Seven” booklet of Nottingham writing, detailed above, which includes a brand new story of mine, entitled Ask Me Now, is generally available …

Here’s a flavour of the story, how it begins  …

Tom Whitemore’s father left him a set of golf clubs he had yet to use, a collection of the maritime novels of Patrick O’Brian, and an abiding love of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington …

In contrast, all Whitemore’s wife had left him, the day she drove off to her parents in Chapel St. Leonard’s, taking the twins, was a note propped against the burned-out toaster in the kitchen.

“I’m sorry, Tom, I can’t take it any more. I just can’t …”

That had been six years ago. His father had been dead for ten. Whitemore was still in the same house, a lodger upstairs in the twins’ room Monday to Friday, and he was still doing the same job – the one his wife had hated – detective sergeant in the Public Protection Team: domestic violence, hate crime, serious sexual abuse, assault.

“Scum, Tom, that’s what they are. Who you spend your days and nights with. Scum of the           earth and then you bring them home to us.”

She turned aside from his face, flinched at his touch. Flinched when he held one or other of the twins in his arms, helped them to undress, softly kissed the tops of their heads, ran the flannel across them in the bath.

“I’m sorry, Tom …”

 

Details of how to get hold of a copy are listed above. All the contributions are well worth reading – the Alan Sillitoe is a beaut – and it’s worth making the effort. And it is only three quid!!!

 

 

Grace Notes

Daughter’s in Nottingham today with one of her pals, looking  round the University ahead of deciding where to apply come autumn, and I shall be up there tomorrow, spending the afternoon at the esteemed Lowdham Book Festival, helping to launch These Seven, the new collection of short stories from Five Leaves which is a key part of the Nottingham Big City Read and a small part of the city’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature.

As part of that bid, the Notts City of Literature web site is featuring a Poem a Day (well, most days) with Nottingham connections.

Mine – a ‘version’ of the poem “Grace Notes”, recalling listening to jazz in a venue long gone – can be found here. If you’ve a few minutes, please give it a try.

These Seven …

IMG_0028This coming Saturday, June 27th, sees the public launch of the above collection, published by Five Leaves as the centrepiece of Nottingham’s Big City Read and Write project and featuring the work of seven writers – well, one is actually a cartoonist – with strong Nottingham connections. Alan Sillitoe’s contribution aside, all of the pieces featured are new and published here for the first time, the whole shebang yours at the almost giveaway price of £3.00. Incredible!

Here’s the blurb …

These Seven Nottingham writers cover a lot of ground.
John Harvey visits his traditional world of crime with a story more domestic than usual, Megan Taylor spends time in Old Market Square waiting for someone whose arrival might change her life, graphic novelist Brick imagines a Nottingham version of Simeon the Stylite living at the top of the Aspire sculpture, Paula Rawsthorne finds that being a child of a refugee brings its own problems, and Alison Moore realises that a weekend away is not always idyllic. Meantime Shreya Sen Handley’s Indian family discovers something going on at the bottom of their garden, and Alan Sillitoe is back on the streets of Nottingham, where this all began.

Saturday’s event is being held between 2.00 – 3.00pm in the Methodist Chapel, Main Street, Lowdham, as part of this year’s Lowdham Book Festival, and six of the authors will be present, with a mystery guest presenting Alan Sillitoe’s contribution. If you’re anywhere in the Nottingham area, come along and sample the fun. Details: http://www.lowdhambookfestival.co.uk

More – probably – about my own story later, but for now suffice to say that it’s called “Ask Me Now”, is set in the city of Nottingham, and features Tom Whitemore, a detective sergeant attached to the Public Protection Team, whose previous appearance was in “Sack O’ Woe”,  one of a collection of short stories about the police edited by Michael Connelly under the title The Blue Religion.

 

New French Book Look!

Even though they are not due for publication until the autumn, these new jacket designs from the French publisher Syros are so striking I had to give them an airing. [Okay, viewing?] I think they’re just great!

maq01_BlueWatch

Part of their Rat Noir series, primarily aimed at Young Adult readers, Blue Watch, is set in WW2, during the London Blitz, while Nick’s Blues, is a reissue of a contemporary teenage story, first published in France to considerable success in 2005.

maq01_visu_NICK_BLUES

Just to be clear, despite the English titles, both of these books are being published in France in translation. As yet, there is no published English language version of Blue Watch, though Nick’s Blues is available from Five Leaves publications as a paperback or an ebook.

2_2_d5ce3446-528b-47d2-a5ab-aca2b16b90cehttp://www.fiveleaves.co.uk/young.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nicks-Blues-John-Harvey/dp/1905512465