Category Archives: Roger Smith

LEE, an anthology of fiction inspired by Lee Marvin

LEE cover-I am a HUGE Lee Marvin fan.

Survivor of the carnage of World War Two, drinker, larger than life character, enduring icon of masculine cinema, the star of some of  my favourite films, including The Big Heat, The KillersPoint Blank, Prime Cut and The Dirty Dozen. The man who, in the words of his most recent biographer, “cemented the most purposeful and consistent portrayal of man’s violent and primal inner demons in the history of modern American cinema”.

Well over a year ago myself and fellow Marvin fanatic and Crime Factory editor in chief Cameron Ashley, were sitting in a bar drunkenly bullshitting about future projects, when we stumbled across the idea of doing an anthology of stories inspired by the life of one of our favourite movie stars.

The final product of that conversation, LEE, will be unleashed onto the world in a few weeks time. In the meantime, I thought readers might get a blast out of feasting their eyes on the cover above.

While putting together the book was not without its challenges, finding fellow crime writers who shared our passion for Marvin and who where prepared to put pen to paper to celebrate him and his movies, was not one of them. … Read more

Top 5 crime reads for 2011

I was recently asked by the UK site Crime Fiction Lover to list my top five crime novels for 2011.

I cheated a little and, in addition to my top five, gave a few honourable mentions. Money Shot, Christa Faust’s first Angel Dare novel (the second having recently come out), Frank Bill’s short story collection Crimes in South Indiana, Roger Smith’s Dust Devils, and Yvette Erskine’s gritty police procedural The brotherhood were all in contention for my top five in 2011.

But my final list was:


5. Butcher’s Moon – Richard Stark (University of Chicago Press)

I waited ages to read Butcher’s Moon by Richard Stark aka Donald Westlake. It was almost impossible to get a copy until University of Chicago Press, which has been gradually re-leasing all the Parker books, published it. 

First released in 1974, Butcher’s Moon was the last Parker book before Westlake took a 23-year rest from the character. It takes Parker back to the familiar territory of his earlier books The Hunter and The Outfit, hot on the trail of money owed him by the mob. A failed heist sends Parker to an amusement park where he stashed $73,000 during a previous caper several years earlier. Parker enlists the help of his only friend, another thief called Grofield.… Read more

Book review: Dust Devils

You can bet crime writer Roger Smith is not on the Christmas card list of the South African Tourist Board. His third novel, Dust Devils, is one of the most violent and blistering crime novels I’ve read in a long while. It’s also a pretty bleak picture of post-Apartheid South Africa.

The plot kicks off with a home invasion that leaves one man dead and his female companion running for her life.

She happens to be the wife of sacked journalist Robert Dell. Within a few pages, their car has been run of the road, the wife and two young children have been incinerated and Dell, thrown clear of the blast, is being fitted up by corrupt police to take the blame as a murder/suicide.

The killer, a Zulu called Inja Mazibuko, is a psychopathic cop attached to special unit of the corrupt Minister of Justice. Dell is a loose end that he must now tidy up.

Dell escapes with the help of the father, Robert Goodbread, a former CIA black operative involved in Vietnam and the former South Africa’s dirty little border wars.

Recently released from jail where he was serving a sentence for taking part in the massacre of black civilians, Goodbread is dying of lung cancer and despised by his son.… Read more