Tuesday 21 March 2017

Ripley’s Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

The Shots Team are delighted to hear about an upcoming work from Writer, Reviewer, Columnist, Game Show Host and Raconteur Extraordinaire, The Talented Mr Ripley.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: The Boom in British Thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed

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 Carré 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 Carré and Ted Allbeury, plus the many variations (and imitators) in between.

Mark your diaries as Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is released on May 18th from Harper Collins, who incidentally published Martin Edward’s multiple award-winning Golden Age of Murder.

Photo L-R Writers
Mark Timlin, Mike Ripley & Martyn Waites 

Mike Ripley in-concert with fellow writer / reviewers Barry Forshaw and Peter Guttridge entertained us at Crimefest 2014, with their amusing presentation of the British Golden Age of Thrillers.

We have the presentation archived in 5 sections

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

So we asked Mike Ripley to tell a little about his upcoming Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang -

After several years in the gestation, I am delighted that my ‘reader’s history’ of the boom in British thriller writing 1953-1975 (or thereabouts) has been given a home by HarperCollins in their famous Crime Club imprint, my very first publisher, back in 1988, for Just Another Angel which started what is laughingly called my career  in crime fiction. They have, therefore, a lot to answer for, but please do not hold it against them as they done a splendid job indulging a great passion of mine.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – or KK-BB as it is known in certain circles in honour of Len Deighton – has been many years in its gestation, you might say about fifty years since, as a callow youth, I realised that I was reading my way through a purple path of British thriller writing. Was it a ‘Golden Age’? Well, that is, as with all ‘Golden Ages’ a matter for debate, but it was undeniably a boom time for British thriller writers, who dominated international bestseller lists.

Mike will reveal more in next month’s Getting Away With Murder Column, which is hosted at Shots Magazine online, as well as republished in George Easter’s Deadly Pleasures Magazine.

Shots Magazine have Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang available for pre-order HERE and like Martin Edward’s Golden Age of Murder, it would be criminal to miss out. 

A good writer possesses not only his own spirit, but also the spirit of his friends.” 
Friedrich Nietzsche 

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