Krupp Can Wait

Cover Picture

Cover Picture

FIRE ON THE RUNWAY by Mel Bradshaw, Dundurn Toronto
ISBN 978 1459703353 priced at £11.99 for paperback

I was fortunate enough to be invited as the International Guest of Honour at the Bloody Words festival in Toronto this month. It was a huge honour, but more to the point, it was a great joy to cross the pond again and meet up with Canadian authors.
One character I met with while over there was Mel Bradshaw. A very delightful speaker at a panel with me, at which we were ably moderated by Donna Carrick, he fascinated me with his concept of a hard-boiled character after the First World War who, on leaving the army, joins the police in Toronto.
It was a fascinating period. The jazz age, a huge proportion of men who were traumatised after the war, others who were profiting from the prohibition in Toronto, the influx of immigrants that led to fights, turf wars and other disputes. At the same time, there was the terror of the new communist threat. Bolshevism was seen on every side. And Mel had invented a man with all the excitement of a young man in a hard city, but who disliked firearms (not because of any namby-pamby principles, but because a Webley .455 was a damn heavy beast and made a mess of your suit).
I was highly embarrassed after the end of the panel, when Mel presented me with a copy of my latest book for me to sign, so later on, I found a copy of his book … but couldn’t find him to sign it!
Leaving Canada a couple of days later, I had it in my carry-on bag. I didn’t expect to read much of it, because I had a doorstop, which was the history of the Krupp weapons manufacturer. However, because, in my slightly hungover stat (thank you, Ryan!) I managed to leave Krupp in a car, so when I got on the plane, I had less reading material than I would have liked. And first on my list was FIRE ON THE RUNWAY.
It works. There is a common problem with English and Canadian publishing and media, which is that they assume only American writers can hack it. It’s garbage, of course. There are many extremely good writers in Canada, the UK and, dare I say it, in South Africa, Ireland, Australia and all over the world. Yes, some American writers have a superb talent. So do other nationals.
For my money, Mel has a style that is almost Chandleresque. It’s tight writing, with a firm sense of humour underlying a taut storyline. The plot buckets along, even though it’s a tough one, bringing in an eastern European woman, bomb attacks, gun attacks, knife attacks, and all for a series of photos. Mel keeps the story well in line, and managed that brilliant feat of stopping me dead in my tracks with some little details of life in those far-off days in Toronto.
It was a book that kept me transfixed on a long flight and journey home.
Not only do I recommend it, I’m going back to buy the earlier books in the series.
Krupp can wait.

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  1. […] already mentioned the excellent “Fire on the Runway” by Mel Bradshaw and Donald J Hauka’s brilliant “She Demons”. Today […]

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