2000AD writer Robbie Morrison’s first prose novel, Edge of the Grave, is now on sale, a dark historical crime novel set in Glasgow, 1932, published by Pan MacMillan – and former Tharg David Bishop has a new book out, too.
In Edge of the Grave, which the publisher suggests will appeal to fans of William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw, Denise Mina and Philip Kerr, Glasgow is a city still recovering from the Great War; split by religious division and swarming with razor gangs…
Glasgow, 1932. When the son-in-law of one of the city’s wealthiest shipbuilders is found floating in the River Clyde with his throat cut, it falls to Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn to lead the murder case – despite sharing a troubled history with the victim’s widow, Isla Lockhart.
From the flying fists and flashing blades of Glasgow’s gangland underworld, to the backstabbing upper echelons of government and big business, Dreghorn and his partner ‘Bonnie’ Archie McDaid will have to dig deep into Glasgow society to find out who wanted the man dead and why.
All the while, a sadistic murderer stalks the post-war city leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. As the case deepens, will Dreghorn find the killer – or lose his own life in the process?
Robbie Morrison should need no introduction to downthetubes readers. Born in Helensburgh, Scotland, he grew up in the Renton, Coatbridge, Linwood and Houston. On both sides, his family connection to shipbuilding in Glasgow and the surrounding areas stretches back four generations and is a source of inspiration for the Jimmy Dreghorn series.
Robbie sold his first comic script to Dundee-based publishers DC Thomson at the age of 23 and has since gone on to write for 2000AD, writing “Judge Dredd”, co-creating “Nikolai Dante” and more, as well as writing Batman, Doctor Who and much more.
“My fascination with the 1930s stems primarily from two sources,” Robbie wrote for Scotland’s The Herald last month, in an article about his first novel, which is also the first in a series. First, my family history (handily compiled by my father), with connections to shipbuilding that stretch back four generations on both sides. Secondly, my love for the hard-boiled crime fiction of that period, from Dashiell Hammett to Raymond Chandler, and the gangster films of James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, whose sharp-suited, fast-talking protagonists also influenced the street gangs of the time.
“While the 1930s were undeniably harder times than today – no National Health Service for starters – there are still parallels,” he also noted. “The rise of divisive and extremist politics across the globe; the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the global repercussions it will surely have; and Brexit, with its issues of national and international identity.
“It was hard not to reflect on these parallels while writing Edge Of The Grave.”
Robbie isn’t the only 2000AD creator to be in the limelight with a new novel. Author, educator and former Tharg David Bishop also has a new novel out now, the historical thriller City of Vengeance, set in Florence in, 1536 – and it’s been getting some rave reviews.
In the novel, a prominent Jewish moneylender is murdered in his home, a death with wide implications in a city powered by immense wealth. Cesare Aldo, a former soldier and now an officer of the city’s most powerful criminal court, is given four days to solve the murder: catch the killer before the feast of Epiphany – or suffer the consequences…
“The novel is set in the winter of 1536, just a few years after Machiavelli’s death and the posthumous publication of The Prince,” says David, whose credits span not only 2000AD but Doctor Who novels and audio dramas, and more. “Unlike other parts of Italy where the church dominates civic life, Florence is ruled by the Medici, a family that rose to power through banking and business. This makes Florentines, especially Florentine men, transactional people. The art of the deal is all-important and winning means doing whatever is needed.
“As a consequence, one dominant theme emerges in City of Vengeance – the lies men tell to others and themselves.”
• Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison is available now from all good bookshops | Buy it here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
• City of Vengeance by David Bishop is available now from all good bookshops | Buy it here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.