From the terrifying stark realism of Slammer to grotesquely hilarious surrealism of Hard Man, Allan Guthrie has covered just about every shade of suspense in between. His novels depict Edinburgh's streets run amok with characters exacting retribution for wrongs profound and puzzling and encountering sword-wielding stoners, basement crucifixions and baseball bat leaning collection specialists in the land of cricket. Also the vegetation is oddly alluring.
Pick up Savage Night and read the first couple chapters. You’ll probably think you’re in for a standard revenge tale. But then the point of view shifts. And then chronology goes out the window. When it’s over, everyone’s paid a terrible price. It’s wild, vicious, bloody and frighteningly funny.
Then take Slammer, about Nick Glass, a rookie prison guard unable to find respect in the eyes of his family, co-workers or the inmates in his charge. He’s used and pushed around, forced to smuggle drugs into the facility and that’s just the beginning. While playing it straight with the yuks, he goes for your gut with surgical precision and it reads like printed crank. When Glass finally shatters, nobody is safe.
And if you think his novels go to unexpected places, they’re nothing next to his utterly unpredictable body of short stories that pop up in some of my favorite places. I think I’ve read the ridiculous The Killer Beside Me from Damn Near Dead a half dozen times and he brought a Viking story to the crime party in Sex, Thugs, and Rock and Roll. His contribution to A Hell of a Woman was a sneaky one and he invented his very own literary sub-genre with The Turnip Farm from last year’s Uncage Me, (absurdist bucolic noirotica).
He’s been tapped to write the screen adaptation for his American doppelgänger Duane Swierczynski’s The Wheelman. He's also an editor (last year's Ken Bruen/Reed Farrel Coleman collaboration Tower) and he’s a literary agent.
Jedidiah Ayres writes fiction and keeps the blog Hardboiled Wonderland.
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