The definitive guide to Scottish crime fiction
A comprehensive and fascinating guide to the worldwide crime fiction phenomenon known as Tartan Noir covering all its major authors.
What is Tartan Noir? Which authors belong to this global crime fiction phenomenon? Which books should you read first, next, again, or not at all? And what are the many historical, political, and cultural influences that have woven themselves into the Tartan Noir success story?
Here, Len Wanner investigates the literature’s four main sub-genres – the detective, the police, the serial killer, and the noir novel. Covering four decades’ worth of literary history, Wanner offers not only four in-depth cross-examinations but also close readings of another 40 novels – everything from commercial hits and critical triumphs to curiosity pieces and cult classics.
Books critiqued include international bestsellers by the likes of Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, Val McDermid, and Denise Mina, alongside lesser known gems by counter-cultural icons such as Hugh C. Rae, Ray Banks, Allan Guthrie, Helen FitzGerald, and many more.
Praise for Tartan Noir
‘Len Wanner’s highly accomplished and fastidiously researched book has set the bar very high indeed… all the expected names from Ian Rankin to Val McDermid and from Denise Mina to Craig Robertson are covered with the kind of attention their work merits, and one of the achievements of the book is its pointing out of how the genre is a far broader church the most readers consider… Wanner is perceptive, too, in identifying the provocative themes the genre has thrown up’ Barry Forshaw, Crimetime
‘Because Wanner has done his homework, and shows us that he has, tartan noir fans should be in for a fine old time’ Sunday Herald
‘Wanner has thrust his pen into the dark heart of this golden age of writing in Scotland’ Big Click Mag
‘For me this is a ground-breaking book. The intensity of Len Wanner’s intelligence allows him validly to see deeper significance in crime fiction than it is normally accorded.’ William McIlvanney, author of Laidlaw
‘Sharp, insightful and thoroughly readable. Wanner brilliantly analyses a current literary phenomenon. A must-have for all readers of Scottish literature and Tartan Noir.’ Denise Mina, author of Gods and Beasts
‘A skilful and forensic dissection of Scottish Crime Writing.’ Peter May, author of the Lewis trilogy
‘Sharp, precise, well-written, and definitive, Len Warner’s Tartan Noir is what we’ve been waiting for – the book on Scottish crime fiction. It sets a standard against which all subsequent treatments will need to be measured.’ Dr Christopher Breu, Illinois State University
‘I just finished reading Tartan Noir and I’m lost in admiration. It’s absolutely terrific. This first book on Scottish crime fiction is likely to remain unsurpassed for many years. Capturing the literature’s complexity and variety in all its dark and bloody glory, Tartan Noir is essential reading for fans and students of the genre alike. I learned a huge amount from it. My only problem is that my ‘to-read’ list is now a mile long!’ Dr David Schmid, University at Buffalo
‘Len Wanner’s Tartan Noir makes a lively, insightful contribution to our understanding of contemporary Scottish crime writing. This informed and wide-ranging study aims to take in detective, police, and serial killer fiction, as well as the darker, more disturbing phenomenon of “the literature of the margins,” the noir novel. Following on from his highly praised collections of interviews with Scottish crime writers, Wanner brings his unfailing energy and enthusiasm to the task of illuminating the ‘Tartan Noir’ phenomenon, conveying both its commonalities and its immense diversity. An indispensable book for anyone interested in late 20th-early 21st century Scottish crime fiction.’ Dr Lee Horsley, Lancaster University
‘I loved every single page of this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to you. Don’t skip bits! Read the whole thing! Tartan Noir is a must-read for every fan of Scottish crime fiction. You will love it!’ Euro Crime
‘If you want to know what drives contemporary Scottish crime authors, it contains all you’ll need to know and you’ll be inspired to broaden your reading horizons.’ Scots Magazine
‘Wanner’s accessible introduction happily emcompasses a wide range of Scottish writers… it immediately claims its place as the standard text on Scottish crime writing and sets the bar high for anyone who dares to follow.’ North Star