Category Archives: Australian crime fiction

Noir at the Bar Melbourne redux & other upcoming literary events

Just updating Pulp Curry readers about some literary events I’ll be part of in August and early September.

First up, Melbourne’s second Noir at the Bar will take place on Tuesday, August 15, at Grub Street Bookshop, 379 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Some of Melbourne’s best noiristas will be on hand to read their crime fiction to you. Featuring Des Barry, Annie Hauxwell (author of the Catherine Berlin crime books), Jessica Curry, Ian Rogers (author of The Student, which I recently reviewed on this site) and Laura Elizabeth Woollett, whose short story collection, The Love of a Bad Man, has been published by Scribe. Yours truly will be doing MC duties on the night.

The first Noir at the Bar Melbourne event earlier this year had a great crowd and a great atmosphere and we are hoping this one will be the same. Kick off is 7pm. Entry is free, the drinks will be cheap & there will be books for sale. So, come and support some great authors and Melbourne’s coolest second hand bookshop. More details are available at this link. Hope to see you there.

August also sees the annual Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) at which I’m involved in a number of events. I’ll be interviewing Tom and Meg Keneally about their historical crime fiction series of books, The Soldier’s Curse and The Unmourned, on Saturday September 2 at Dandenong Library and Sunday, September 4, at ACMI Cinema 1.… Read more

Book review: The Student

Regular Pulp Curry readers will know I have a particular fondness for noir fiction. In particular, Australian noir fiction. And, let’s be honest, when all is said and done, there’s not much Australian noir fiction, and I mean really noir fiction, out there. The publication of Iain Ryan’s The Student adds another more book to this rather slender canon of local crime writing.

I reviewed Ryan’s debut novel, Four Days, on this site when it was released in late 2015. A very dark police procedural set in the Queensland cities of Cairns and Brisbane in the 1980s, the plot of Four Days involves a borderline sociopathic cop with a drinking problem who becomes obsessed with the case of a murdered prostitute, in the process coming up against a police hierarchy who are keen to bury any investigation into her death.

Now Melbourne based, Ryan grew up in Queensland – a place that for various I am also very familiar with – and he completely nailed the corruption and picturesque sleaze that typified much of the state in the eighties, a time when its police force was one of the most violent and corrupt in Australia. Ryan cited James Ellroy as a major influence and I was particularly taken with the way he was able to pay homage to legendary crime writer without sinking into pastiche or cliche.… Read more

A new publisher for Gunshine State

Anyone with a knowledge of the history of pulp and popular fiction publishing will know that publishers, particularly small publishers, come and go.

They appear on the scene, often amid a flash of initial excitement and publicity, prosper and become bigger. Or they may do well for a while until economic problems, changes in the publishing industry or the fortunes of the, often few, individuals running them, cause them to falter and close shop. The latter was the unfortunately fate of 280 Steps, the publisher of my second novel, Gunshine State, and the work of many other fine crime writers.

I don’t want to dwell on the reasons behind  280 Steps closure, which took effect at the end of April, except to say that when I signed with them in 2015, they appeared to be very going concern. They had a good business model, had their publicity act together, produced terrific cover art, and where putting together an excellent roster of existing and up and coming crime writers I was happy to number among.

The upshot of the 280 Steps closure is that, for the time being, Gunshine State will no longer be available to purchase either digitally or in hard copy. I say ‘for the time being’ because Gunshine State will be re-released in February 2018 by the US crime publisher Down and Out Books.… Read more

Noir at the Bar Melbourne

NATB1A very brief heads up for Melbourne based readers of Pulp Curry, that if you are at a loose end on Tuesday, March 28, I have the event for you.

Myself and crime writer, Iain Ryan (whose debut novel, Four Days, I reviewed on this site here) are organising Melbourne’s first Noir at the Bar event.

What is Noir at the Bar you ask?

It is pretty much what it sounds like – a group of writers do readings in a bar (or in our case a cool second hand bookstore with a bar, Grubb Street Bookshopm 1/379 Brunswick St, Fitzroy).

Crime fiction critic and blogger Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders originated Noir at the Bar at Noircon in Philadelphia in 2008, and from there the idea has spread all over the US. Indeed, these days hardly a week goes by in which there’s not a Noir at the Bar somewhere in the US.

Anyway, Iain and I thought it was high time we had one in the US. After all, we get enough of the crap of the US, we may as well take the good things as well.

So, a night of readings from some of Melbourne’s best noir fiction stylists and drinks in a cool establishment, what is not to like about that.… Read more

My top books of 2016

my-father-the-pornographerIt’s that time of the year for my top 10 reads of 2016. As is always the case, my list is a mixture of new books, old books, fiction and non-fiction. In no order they are as follows:

The Rules of Backyard Cricket, Jock Serong

It took a while for this book to warm up, but about a third of the way through it just goes bang and never looks back from there. An incredibly dark tale of suburban crime set over several decades in Melbourne, as seen through the eyes of professional cricketers Darren Keefe and his older brother, Wally. Don’t let the publisher’s marketing of this book as literary crime fool you; this is as good an example of noir as you will find in Australian crime fiction today. Serong has a beautiful prose style and totally nails the period detail of growing up in seventies/eighties suburban Melbourne.

Old Scores, David Whish-Wilson

Old Scores is the third book by Perth crime writer David Whish-Wilson featuring Frank Swann, former petty criminal, disgraced cop and low rent private investigator.The story is set in the set at the beginnings of the cowboy capitalism that marked Western Australia in that decade. Swann’s peculiar mix of talents is in demand by the state’s newly elected Labour government.… Read more