Never has GBH been praised so much!

A pulp-fiction triumph worthy of Jim Thompson or James Ellroy. I can’t remember the last time I turned pages so eagerly.
— John Powers, NPR's FRESH AIR
GBH  by Ted Lewis. Afterword by Derek Raymond.

GBH by Ted Lewis. Afterword by Derek Raymond.

The swan song of a noir master finally gets its due. GBH, the late Ted Lewis' final and some say greatest (I might argue for another) novel, is finally getting its day in court and the critics are placing it where it belongs, in the cannon, among the pulp and noir greats.

So here's what's being said:

NPR's FRESH AIR "Gangsters, Goons, and 'Grievous Bodily Harm' in Ted Lewis' London"

NPR Fresh Air critic John Powers writes that, "At his best, [Lewis] achieves something only a handful of crime writers ever do — the chilling sense of cosmic fatality that links noir anti-heroes to the likes of Oedipus and Macbeth" and of Lewis' celebrated, claustrophobic, and brutal Get Carter he writes, "Get Carter is one of the best-ever fictional portraits of a small, industrial English city with its tawdry shops, dingy rooming houses, and suffocating air of decline from something that wasn't that great to begin with."

You can listen to the whole piece on Lewis HERE.

 

BOOKPAGE

Simple and to the point, BookPage dubs GBH: "Lewis' masterpiece."

 

THE LIFE SENTENCE "The Grievous Life of Ted Lewis"

Lisa Levy's brilliant new crime and mystery fiction focused website published a wonderful, and thorough, piece on Lewis and GBH by Brian Greene, which among other things, says: "While [Get Carter] will likely always be the most noted of Ted Lewis’s nine novels, GBH, the final book Lewis published, is his masterwork."

That rest can be read HERE.

 

THE BARNES & NOBLE REVIEW"Ted Lewis and His Kitchen Sink Thrillers"

The online literary review of the nation's largest brick & mortar bookstore chain, and the company where I had my first book related job, ran a terrific review by Charles Taylor about the Carter Trilogy and GBH. Taylor pulls no punches: "Lewis remains a sharp social anatomist of the hopelessness and soul-sucking dinginess of his era. Starting with [Get Carter], Lewis sketched the horror of a Britain where home was the kitchen sink, the sodden bar towel, the decrepit industrial landscape."

You can read the rest of Charles Taylor's review HERE.

 

And hopefully there's more to come!

The Swan Song of a Hardboiled Master: GBH pubs on 4/21

GBH is a novel as direct as it is stunning . . . I reckon he knew a good deal of what he was writing about from very close to—perhaps dangerously so. That leaps out of the work immediately.
— Derek Raymond, author of the Factory novels

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The most enigmatic novel by the author of Get Carter and the Jack Carter Trilogy, GBH is perhaps Ted Lewis' finest piece of writing and soon to be available for the first time in decades.

Among crime fiction enthusiasts it is a book of near mythical legend, available only via rare book dealers for exorbitant prices. GBH was published as a paperback original at a low point in the career of its author. Within a year of its publication the book was out of print and its author dead of alcohol related disease. Lewis was only 42.

That last and grimmest detail is what perhaps makes GBH so fascinating and tragic. The two novels that preceded it were among Lewis' least inspired. The sharp wit was there but so too was a cynicism and meanness that no longer contained the emotional resonance of his previous work.

And yet while his health was failing, and at the lowest point in his still young career, Lewis wrote the brilliantly sinister GBH, a novel that captures nearly every theme the author addressed during his all too short life. In a pair of narratives you are given "The Smoke" of 1970s London, where a ruthless crime lord is losing grasp on his sanity and empire, and "The Sea" of an English beach town in the off season, where the same man now lives in hiding, his empire in shambles and his identity uncertain.

The classic Lewis themes concerning the contrast between big and small town life, the ruthlessness of organized crime, and the high cost of violence are all present in GBH just as they were in his groundbreaking second novel, Get Carter. So too are the richly drawn characters, whether they are vicious gangsters or boardwalk townies living out their lives in the sleepy off-season. But GBH has something more: a delightfully clever twisting of plot that lends it a near supernatural air.

GBH is not the influential "blueprint" that Get Carter was. It did not influence the way crime stories are told. It is however a masterpiece of crime fiction and a wholly singular novel. Gritty, creepy, fascinating. 

It is now available for the first time in North America, and for the first time in hardcover and ebook formats. It's time this novel finds its place in the crime fiction canon.