Criminal, Vol. 1: Coward, by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips (Titan Books, 2007)

A career thief gets in over his head with a security truck heist. Collecting issues 1-5 of Criminal, this first collection tells a sharp downbeat noir tale with a touch of heart and depth to its characters. Plenty to relish here for genre fans, and for readers of the likes of Westlake/Stark’s Parker novels. Recommended.

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

Bog Bodies, by Declan Shalvey, Gavin Fullerton, Rebecca Nalty & Clayton Cowles (Image Comics, 2020)

A young man is taken to a remote Irish peat bog for execution. Excellent noir-ish one-shot that goes into interesting, if slightly anticipated, places. Lots to relish all around though, not least in the vivid dialogue and sharp characterisations of the major players.

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

More Better Deals, by Joe R Lansdale (Mulholland Books, 2020)

A used-car salesman with an eye for opportunity gets in over his head with a woman. Lansdale’s new stand-alone novel is a beauty, a 1960s-set noir of the old school, and all the better for doing so, in taking a classic situation and treating it with respect. Laconic and spry as ever, Lansdale serves up another southern-fried treat. Recommended.

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

Get Jiro! Blood and Sushi, by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, Ale Garza & Jose Villarrubia (Vertigo Books, 2015)

Young Jiro’s two secret lives – as a yakuza boss’s son and as a trainee sushi chef – come into conflict. Splendid prequel, offering the same mix as the first volume: blood, guts, humour, and some insight into the ritual and patience involved in becoming a sushi master. Works well as a stand-alone and as an entry point to Jiro’s world.

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

Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, Langdon Foss & Jose Villarrubia (Vertigo Books, 2012)

In a food-obsessed alt-LA, a solitary sushi chef plays rival culinary gangs off against each other. Fun Jojimbo variant, with plenty of gags about foodie lifestyles, some tips on how to approach sushi with respect, plus an abundance of pulp-noir violence, characters, and attitude.

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

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard – the Early Years, by Joe R Lansdale (Tachyon Publications, 2020)

Five stories featuring the young Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. Perhaps for completists and series fans only, but this is still great stuff. Tall tales of East Texas rambunctiousness and formative experiences, delivered in Lansdale’s effortless economic style. The book even features a few recipes from the yarns, contributed (in character) by Lansdale’s daughter Kasey. Recommended.

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