Crime-writer, critic and SHOTS columnist Mike Ripley – in a poacher-turned-gamekeeper move – has become a publisher!
Mike had been appointed Series Editor for Top Notch Thrillers, an imprint of print-on-demand Ostara Publishing, with a remit to “revive Great British thrillers which do not deserve to be forgotten, each title to be chosen not just for its plot or sense of adventure but for the distinctiveness and quality of the writing.”
Top Notch Thrillers will be drawn in the main from the 1960s and 70s, a period, says Mike, when British thriller writers reigned supreme, not just in the bestseller lists but in a wide range of writing styles. The first four titles, out this month, attempt to show the range and versatility of the writing on offer in what is being increasingly seen as a Golden Age for British thrillers.
TNT has launched with: Snake Water by Alan Williams, a rip-roaring treasure hunt adventure in a South American banana republic, first published in 1965 (Williams, a journalist and much-travelled foreign correspondent, went on to international fame as a spy writer, possibly the first to have real life traitor Kim Philby as a character in fiction); The Terrible Door an atmospheric 1964 debut novel by the late George Sims, a well-known rare book dealer, who went on to be elected to the famous Detection Club; Night Of Glass, a neglected gem form 1968 by Philip Purser in which four students engineer an escape attempt from Dachau concentration camp in 1938; and Geoffrey Rose’s 1973 fantastical and slightly surreal chase thriller A Clear Road To Archangel, set in the wintry wastes of Russia in 1917.
“We are using the latest print-on-demand technology to revive thrillers – and thriller writers – who do not deserve to be forgotten,” says Ripley, “bringing back fond memories for some readers and hopefully enthusing a new generation. The response to the concept so far has been very encouraging. Even before our first titles appeared – and they look really good – I was being lobbied by fan about writers such as Desmond Bagley, Andrew Garve, Francis Clifford and Geoffrey Household
“For me, it is a pure pleasure, and an honour, to be reissuing the books of some great authors – and getting to meet some of them. Everyone knows and respects the history and traditions of British crime novels and detective stories, but thrillers have somehow got sidelined, yet we have a rich and very varied heritage.
“People still remember the big names like Alistair Maclean, Hammond Innes and Gavin Lyall, but many of their titles are now out-of-print and in danger of slipping from popular memory, which would be a terrible shame.”