Not long after Mike Ripley and Barry Forshaw battled it out at Crimefest with Peter Guttridge [from NATO] keeping the peace; many of London’s literary community headed to the West End, to Gerry’s club to celebrate the launch of Mike Ripley’s KISS KISS, BANG BANG.
It was a remarkable gathering of writers, journalists, publishers, editors, reviewers and agents from British Intelligence - all congregated to celebrate the launch of the remarkable KISS KISS, BANG BANG by Mike Ripley; a reflection upon the Golden Age of the British Thriller. This new work from HarperCollins is a labour of love from literary critic, writer, Shots’ columnist, Deadly Pleasures commentator, book reviewer, raconteur, archaeologist and butterfly collector Mike Ripley.
This volume is an essential part of any reader of Thriller Fiction’s bookcase, as Harper Collins point out –
An entertaining history of British thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed, in which award-winning crime writer Mike Ripley reveals that, though Britain may have lost an empire, her thrillers helped save the world. With a foreword by Lee Child.
When Ian Fleming dismissed his books in a 1956 letter to Raymond Chandler as straight pillow fantasies of the bang-bang, kiss-kiss variety’ he was being typically immodest. In three short years, his James Bond novels were already spearheading a boom in thriller fiction that would dominate the bestseller lists, not just in Britain, but internationally.
The decade following World War II had seen Britain lose an Empire, demoted in terms of global power and status and economically crippled by debt; yet its fictional spies, secret agents, soldiers, sailors and even (occasionally) journalists were now saving the world on a regular basis.
From Ian Fleming and Alistair MacLean in the 1950s through Desmond Bagley, Dick Francis, Len Deighton and John Le Carr in the 1960s, to Frederick Forsyth and Jack Higgins in the 1970s.
Many have been labelled boys’ books’ written by men who probably never grew up but, as award-winning writer and critic Mike Ripley recounts, the thrillers of this period provided the reader with thrills, adventure and escapism, usually in exotic settings, or as today’s leading thriller writer Lee Child puts it in his Foreword: the thrill of immersion in a fast and gaudy world.’
In Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Ripley examines the rise of the thriller from the austere 1950s through the boom time of the Swinging Sixties and early 1970s, examining some 150 British authors (plus a few notable South Africans). Drawing upon conversations with many of the authors mentioned in the book, he shows how British writers, working very much in the shadow of World War II, came to dominate the field of adventure thrillers and the two types of spy story spy fantasy (as epitomised by Ian Fleming’s James Bond) and the more realistic spy fiction created by Deighton, Le Carr and Ted Allbeury, plus the many variations (and imitators) in between.
The launch party was a delight, as Mike’s son Guy who is a qualified chef provided the buffet, while Gerry provided the venue and Harper Collins copies of KISS KISS BANG BANG.
So after we all quaffed some Gin, Chris Smith - Mike’s editor at Harper Collins said a few words, followed by Mike Ripley who took a balcony position and welcomed us all. Mike indicated that the surprise appearance by Len Deighton had been cancelled as Len was in hospital but well on the way to recovery; so we all raised our glasses to Len Deighton. Incidentally it was thanks to Mike Ripley that Andrew Gulli secured a rare interview for Strand Magazine – which is still available Here
Despite the lighting in Gerry’s Club, we managed to record the welcome and introduction for our readers from Chris Smith of Harper Collins and Mike’s Balcony speech –
To list all the guests would be too much of a task; instead we feature photos of the event of many of the guests. Images of Agents of Her Majesty’s Secret Service have been redacted.
More information about Mike Ripley’s KISS KISS, BANG BANG is available from HarperCollins Here and Shots Magazine Here
We would urge you to grab a copy of this most amusing as well as interesting book KISS KISS, BANG BANG and remember Shots Magazine have discounted copies available from our bookstore HERE