I was delighted when Chris Rhatigan, editor of All Due Respect agreed to take a couple of my reviews. And I’m even more pleased now that Issue #2 is out, and I can see what illustrious and talented company I’m in. The fiction is top-notch, and pleasingly varied; the cover story, Owen Laukennen’s ‘N.F.G’ (two of those words are ‘No’ and ‘Good’ – you can probably work the other one out for yourself) is a tale of revenge set on an isolated fishing boat. It’s accompanied by a piece by Laukennan on where the inspiration for the story came from, as well as an interview with him that covers his other work, and what is coming next.
Otherwise, I also particularly enjoyed Eric Beetner’s ‘Ice Cold Alibi’, a 50s style murder plot centred on a butcher’s shop (which you know just can’t end well); C.S. De Wildt’s expertly titled ‘Decomposition is the Universe Forgetting Itself’, which sees an armed robber put into a particularly singular and malodorous situation; and Liam Sweeny’s ‘God’s Country’, which is an invaluable reference source if you ever find yourself trying to extract a kilo of cocaine from the guts of a constipated (and understandably nervous) drug mule. ‘Fake’ by David Siddall is a welcome slice of Brit noir, even more so because it is set in Liverpool, a city very dear to me, and where I spent four years drinking, smoking and avoiding lectures on Ancient Greek History.
My own contribution is more modest. All Due Respect is currently in the process of reviewing all of the Hard Case Crime releases to date, and I take a look at two very different books. First, there’s Ed McBain’s The Gutter and the Grave, a book he wrote at the very beginning of the 87th Precinct series, and which was originally published under a pseudonym. Then, more recently, there’s Ariel S. Winter’s The Twenty Year Death – an extraordinary door-stop of a book that charts one man’s degradation through three interlinked novellas, each one written in the style of a different giant of the genre – Simenon, Chandler and Thompson. The final third, ‘Police at the Funeral’ is an extraordinary read, featuring one of the greatest feats of literary ventriloquism I’ve ever come across – and that unique, slow-motion car crash narrative that is common to the very best noir fiction.
If the above has whetted your appetite, the electronic version of All Due Respect Issue #2 is available now for a snip via Amazon UK and Amazon US. The old-school, printed edition – if that’s what floats your boat – is due imminently, and I’ll certainly be bagging a copy as soon as it’s available.