Monday, December 27, 2010

Top Five for 2010: Ian Ayris

Ian Ayris has lit the noir world on fire this year with 24 stories published to his name. He has a novel coming out from Caffeine Nights and runs the very informative blog, The Voices in My Head.

And I’m chuffed (as you Brits would say!) to have him with DBK today….

As others have said, to pick just five out of the quality pile that was 2010 is almost impossible without leaving out some absolutely beauts.  Apologies, therefore, to those that should have been in, but aren't.  In the end, I just picked the five that came to mind straight off. The ones that stuck so fast I couldn't shake em.

Here they are:

The Crucifixtion of Thomas Waltz - Richard Godwin in 'A Twist of Noir'

Gothic horror at its absolute finest.  Richard Godwin's tale of revenge sends shivers through me every time I read it.  It's the sort of story where knowing the ending merely serves to make each further reading more intense, more terrifying, as we inch further towards the inevitable conclusion. Richard's words, always so gloriously penned, sap the will with an illusion of beauty and righteousness that leave us totally unprepared for the horror of what we are about to condone. Chilling, brilliant, stuff.

The Wrong Mind - Jason Michel in 'Pulp Metal Magazine'

Jason Michel's tale of madness both delights and disturbs - as all great tales of such sort should.  The mental deterioration of the protagonist is so vivid, so dark and dripping, it's almost impossible not to become a little contaminated by the madness itself.  Incredible writing, and a final line that turns the whole thing on its head.  Mind blowing stuff.  Literally.

Relapse - Chris Benton in 'A Twist of Noir'

Brutal and chilling, 'Relapse' showcases Chris' ability to tell a tale stripped of almost anything at all.  What is so impressive in this tale is their is no sign whatsoever the writer is writing this for an audience.  He's merely telling a story.  And that sort of stripping away of writer ego and reader expectation can't be taught.  Chris lays it on the paper like roadkill on a slab.  If you want to know how to dip your pen in the ink of unvarnished truth and write with courage, you need look no further than Chris Benton.  

Smoke and Fire - Matthew C. Funk in 'Powder Burn Flash'

Matthew C. Funk is the kind of writer that I aspire to be.  Not a word does he waste. Each has a point.  A deliberate place and purpose.  Nothing is spared.  As for dialogue, no-one does it better.  And his BANG BANG BANG method of storytelling just has you fixed in time.  In 'Smoke and Fire', Matt displays all his brilliance.  Never tire of reading this one.  Never.

Savant - A.J. Hayes in 'A Twist of Noir

A.J. Hayes is Old School.  And he isn't.  He takes the conventional ingredients of noir and uses them with a freshness and imagination, a sense of being, that in 'Savant' is like walking through an ice-cold waterfall at midnight.  He toys.  He plays.  And his poetry is something to behold.  In 'Savant' we meet Jimmy.  And when you've met Jimmy, you won't ever forget him.  Not ever.  Alongside B.R. Stateham's 'Smitty', Jimmy is my favourite psycho of 2010.  Top stuff from a great mate.


  1. Picking five is very trying (Chris, what happened to a top ten:)

    You have pointed out two that escaped me the first time around and I will read them during the week.

  2. Some cracking stories from some cracking writers!

  3. Overjoyed to be on a list with four of my all-time favorites. It's an honor that makes me eager to keep the bangs coming. Consider me locked, loaded and on the level for 2011.

  4. I've always had a dream of someday being at what I call "a gathering of eagles." By that I mean a sit around and yap session with all the people whose writing I admire to the point of hero worship. I'd not be there to associate myself with the great birds or claim to be one of them. I'd just like to hear them talk and laugh and maybe, just maybe, cast a pearl or two on the floor to be swept up and secreted in my pocket. The guys on this list are some of those eagles. Yeah, man, go ahead and laugh. But what I say is true. They're eagles, motherfucker. Eagles.

  5. I'm extremely honoured to be on this list. Thank you so much Ian.

  6. Ian,
    Your top two would have made my list as well, along with one of yours. Excellent choices.