I come to praise Allan Guthrie, not bury him

DkUmR6fWsAAEAyoOver on Twitter on Saturday I decided to celebrate Allan Guthrie and his books with a small series of tweets. It received a good response but since I wrote them on my phone while at the dog park, I wanted to take the opportunity to collect them together here, add some more thoughts, and pull together some links.


Let’s talk about Allan Guthrie and his books. Allan Guthrie writes full-dark, gonzo, noir fiction. He published five novels and three novellas from 2004-2010. His novels are: Two-Way Split, Kiss Her Goodbye, Hard Man, Savage Night, and Slammer. His novellas are: Kill Clock, Killing Mum, and Bye Bye Baby.

For many years Allan Guthrie’s website, Noir Originals, was an essential read. It featured emerging writers of noirboiled fiction, articles, interviews. He also wrote an important contribution to the creation of a noir fiction canon, 200 Noirs.

I believe Guthrie’s momentum was lost and he is now, unfortunately, more of a cult writer with less recognition than he previously enjoyed, especially among writers and readers who have come to crime fiction in the last couple of years. Publishing can be like putting logs on a fire. When logs are regularly put in a fire, the flame burns constant and bright. When no logs are put on the fire, the flame can gutter or extinguish.

Allan Guthrie has not been idle, he was running Blasted Heath books, he’s part of a team that started their own literary agency, and he’s the acquiring editor for Bastei Luebbe’s BE imprint. But because he’s not active on social media and hasn’t had a book out in a few years, his name isn’t ringing out in the streets the way it once did.

I don’t know what Al’s future writing plans are, he may surprise us all and start publishing new books regularly (hint, hint). If he doesn’t, I just want to do my part to make sure his work is remembered.

Where to start with Allan Guthrie? If you want the full basement-noir-crazy shit, go with Hard Man, Savage Night, or Slammer. If you want something a little more along the lines of conventional crime fiction, go with Two-Way Split, Kiss Her Goodbye, or any of the novellas. Even if the latter category is more your speed you still owe it to yourself to try something from the former.

Bottom line: If you’ve made it this far and Allan Guthrie is new to you, what the hell are you waiting for? Go read some Allan Guthrie.

3 thoughts on “I come to praise Allan Guthrie, not bury him

  1. I’ve been a Guthrie fan since I was asked to review SLAMMER. He’s never disappointed me, except when I disappointed myself by missing an opportunity to meet him at Bouchercon a few years ago.


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