Monday, November 24, 2014

Three recommended 2014 re-issues

Over at Spinetingler we'll be doing our annual Best of the Year post (we usually post closer to the end of the calender year). In the lead up to that post I'll be using my time here at Do Some Damage to pull together some recommended reading lists for short story collections and anthologies, non-fiction books, comics, re-issues, and straight up crime fiction.

With waves of new releases continuously crashing over a reader's head the re-issue of a classic can get lost. Here are three that are worth the crime fiction readers attention.  

The Mad and the Bad by Jean-Patrick Manchette

Michel Hartog, a sometime architect, is a powerful businessman and famous philanthropist whose immense  fortune has just grown that much greater following the death of his brother in an accident. Peter is his orphaned nephew—a spoiled brat. Julie is in an insane asylum. Thompson is a hired gunman with a serious ulcer. Michel hires Julie to look after Peter. And he hires Thompson to kill them. Julie and Peter escape. Thompson pursues. Bullets fly. Bodies accumulate.

The craziness is just getting started.
Manchette is an acclaimed and influential French crime novelist. Only four of his novels have been translated into English so far. Some great American crime fiction writers are fans: James Sallis (intro to The Mad and the Bad); Duane Swierczynski (“Dear God: Please have someone translate more Jean-Patrick Manchette novels.”); James Ellroy ("Man-oh-man Manchette was a decades-long hurricane through the Parisian cultural scene. We must revere him now and rediscover him this very instant."). Manchette's English releases are scattered so take the moment to acquaint yourself with his work.

Get Carter by Ted Lewis

It’s a rainy night in the mill town of Scunthorpe when a London fixer named Jack Carter steps off a northbound train. He’s left the neon lights and mod lifestyle of Soho behind to come north to his hometown for a funeral—his brother Frank’s. Frank was very drunk when he drove his car off a cliff and that doesn’t sit well with Jack. Mild-mannered Frank never touched the stuff.

Jack and Frank didn’t exactly like one another. They hadn’t spoken in years and Jack is far from the sentimental type. So it takes more than a few people by surprise when Jack starts plying his trade in order to get to the bottom of his brother’s death. Then again, Frank’s last name was Carter, and that’s Jack’s name too. Sometimes that’s enough.

Set in the late 1960s amidst the smokestacks and hardcases of the industrial north of England, Get Carter redefined British crime fiction.
Ted Lewis' books are currently being re-issued by Syndicate Books. While the Carter trilogy are probably his most well known books in America (due to the classic Michael Caine movie) it's important to note that this series of re-issues will culminate in many crime fiction readers finally being able to read the legendary GBH. But don't take casting an eye to a future release as a skip for the current crop of releases. Simply put Get Carter is one of the great modern Brit Grit crime novels. Lewis at his best (and this is one of them) wrote some of the best crime fiction novels of all time. If you haven't seen the movie go do that now. If you've never read the book and are a fan of crime fiction then you must go read Get Carter now.

Stray Bullets: Uber Alles Edition by David Lapham

Stray Bullets is one of the five best modern crime comics (the others being Scalped; 100 Bullets; Criminal; Sin City). The Uber Alles Edition collects the entire run of comics in the series. There isn't a single narrative arc, or even a single, traditional protagonist in Stray Bullets. He creates an entire crime fiction tapestry with characters and events weaved together with devastating effect.

What great books were re-issued in 2014?

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