The Black Archive #50: The Day of the Doctor, by Alasdair Stuart (Obverse Books, 2020)

A monograph discussing the 2013 Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. An engaging and freewheeling exploration, too, probing the episode’s links to wider Who canon, its storytelling approach, and to the ways it exemplifies a postmodern attitude to story. By no means the final word on the episode, but Stuart offers plenty to think about, and makes some interesting connections.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Bad Weekend, by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips, with Jacob Phillips (Image Comics, 2019)

Jacob is tasked with chaperoning a cantankerous comics veteran at a convention: matters soon spiral. Excellent and slightly meta stand-alone story with links to the wider Criminal universe. Plenty to relish, not least in its playing with comic book industry legends, noir tropes, and the flipside of niche fame and success.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

If I Only Had The Time: How To Keep Writing When The World Stops Moving, by Dave Cohen (TTTTTT Publications, 2021)

Reflections on creative writing: access, opportunities, and restrictions in 2021. An excellent short overview, with comedy writer Cohen bringing his decades of experience to the table. A focus throughout on the impacts of coronavirus and the internet, and on the need to both re-evaluate goals and directions while seeing new realities as chances. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Criminal, Vol. 3: The Dead and the Dying, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image Comics, 2015).

Three linked stories: a boxer, a bar worker, a gang lord’s son. Polyperspective genre thrills, plus something of a meditation on the codes and conventions of noir fiction. Plenty to enjoy here, as Brubaker and Phillips continue to both abide by and challenge the limitations and interstices of the genre. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips (Image Comics, 2018)

A young woman with secrets, fresh to rehab, finds love and with it, a reason to abscond. Smart, melancholic story of crime, addiction, inevitability, and trust. Billed as a Criminal novella, this stand-alone graphic story comes at noir from an unusual – though fitting – angle. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Criminal, Vol. 2: Lawless, by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips (Image Comics, 2015)

A man absconds from military service to get revenge for his younger brother’s death. Issues 6-10 of Criminal are collected here, offering a second punchy (literally and figuratively) noir tale of violence, robbery, sex, and inevitability. Consistently great, and pleasantly uncompromising in its focus on genre thrills and character. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Why We Eat (Too Much), by Dr Andrew Jenkinson (Penguin Books, 2020)

An overview on current thinking on diet and nutrition. A clear, comprehensive and accessible account of contemporary science related to diet, obesity, and weight control. As might be expected, there’s a lot of bad advice/science to overcome, and a radical rethinking of nutrition advice given made, so the Western obesity epidemic might be approached. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

IND-XED, by Fraser Campbell, Lucy Sullivan & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (no publisher indicated, 2020)

A young woman is ostracised via a totalitarian governmental marking scheme: she runs. Smart dystopian one-shot rendered in noir-ish visuals with lettering to match. Gets in, gets out, doesn’t mess except with your head: the kind of project that the likes of Kickstarter/Indiegogo were made for.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Long-Legged Fly, by James Sallis (No Exit Press, 2012)

Episodes in the New Orleans life of an occasional PI, repo man, and (mostly) functioning alcoholic. The first Lew Griffin mystery works as a prequel to the series, establishing the fictional detective’s bona fides. Something of a meta-novel about crime writing and experience, the book’s a cracker, with character and atmosphere aplenty. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Pundamentalist, by Gary Delaney (Headline, 2020)

A collection of one-and two-line gags, puns, and wordplay from the UK stand-up comedian. And that’s it: the book does exactly what it promises. There’s about 1000 well-crafted little jokes here, some obviously selected as they work better in print rather than delivered on stage. All tastes catered for, from the cheekily rude to the impressively inventive.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.