Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tony Black

By Jay Stringer

Both Russel and I have mentioned Tony Black before. We've had a few near misses with Tony here at DSD, our schedules have never quite worked out but you'll see more of him on here at some point, I'm sure.

"I'd been rolling about on a corpse. I had the blood of a dead man all over my hands."

He's one of the strongest voices in the UK crime scene at the moment, and it's a voice that gets clearer and more precise with each book. Tony writes with blunt force, creating dark and brutal stories that still manage to crack a gallous smile.

He's come to my attention for his Gus Dury series, four books set in the darker side of Edinburgh. Gus is something of a newspaper hack and, in Black's words, "a reluctant PI and enthusiastic alcoholic." Gus has many problems on the page, his job, his love, his drink, but he has one main problem; Tony Black. Tony doesn't half love putting the guy through the grinder, and it makes for good reading.

The first book was PAYING FOR IT. A story of murder, prostitution and gangsters. The second book (GUTTED) was where I jumped on, and it grabs you straight away with it's eviscerated corpses, dog fights and police cover-ups. LOSS is the fourth book in the series, and was released in paperback earlier this month. It reminds us of one of the oldest truths in crime fiction; there's nowt can fuck you up like family.Gus seems to have sorted himself out, like a battered old dog that has found a new home. But if it all seems to good to be true, that's because he was merely experiencing the eye of the storm, and things get rocky again when his brother turns up dead.

After all that, does Gus get a break? Well, you'll have to read the new book to find out. LONG TIME DEAD was released this month. But why don't I shut up and let Tony tell you about it, eh?

Next up for Tony is a standalone police procedural called TRUTH LIES BLEEDING. And if the fact that Gus is absent from the next book doesn't make you want to know what happens in LONG TIME DEAD, well, you need your head looking.

What's next for me? I'm off again for two weeks to wander the earth like Cain. Cleaning up after me here at DSD will be one of my favourite British writers. Some say he is also Britain's most feared cage fighter. Some say he taught Evil Knievel how to turn left at a red light and taught Ric Flair how to go coast to coast. Some also say he has the entirety of SHOEDOG scratched into his back in Indian ink. Who is he? Wait and see.

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