Despite creating two of the toughest, hard-boiled characters in pulp fiction history and braining a man in a public library, the writer Terry Finch remains an elusive figure, venerated by fans yet shunned by ‘respectable’ publishers and the wider world (which, if you’ve read just one Finch in your life, you will recognise as a distinctly cruel and unforgiving place, especially Thanet). One of Britain’s foremost exponents of British noir and the British western, little is known about Finch himself bar his facial features, which adorn the lurid covers of practically every book he wrote from 1970 onwards - a contractual obligation imposed by the writer himself, often in lieu of payment.
For most of us, whether we are aware of it or not, Finch’s man-in-the-street looks personify the simple yet tortured and all-too-often brutalised characters he wrote about. Balding, overweight, moustachioed - Finch’s natural imperfections, not to mention his dress sense, enrich our understanding of his fictional underdogs. Like his prose style, flaws and shortcomings are worn on the sleeve (usually brown pinstripe) - strength is sought in the mundane, blemishes borne as badges of honour. War trails for the working man, even if Finch himself never quite earned a working wage. For his loyal readers, predominantly single men of a depressed and volatile disposition, ie long distance lorry drivers, Finch, and by extension us, was Draw - was The Reprisalizer. Who, then, was Finch?
www.thereprisalizer.com is my attempt to answer that question and spearhead the long-awaited Finch revival. An avid fan and collector of the author's westerns and crime novellas since my early teens, I have proudly (and loudly) trumpeted Terry’s work ever since, and for many years worked alone (and unpaid) as founder and President of the Terry Finch Appreciation Society. Now, thanks to the worldwide web, Finch's vast, obscure and largely unknown body of work can finally find both the audience and literary respect it deserves. Though their troubled author has long since disappeared into the crumbling pages of pulp paper obscurity, it is my hope that this website will revive interest in Finch's powerful, subversive and ultra-violent thrillers.
I've scanned in several images from 'Buck Up!' (a celebratory 'guide' to Terry's Reprisalizer books published way back in 1979, to which I contributed the foreword) on the website and over the coming months plan to make more of Finch’s work available online so please watch this space, follow this blog and my Twitter feed, and join the Terry Finch Appreciation Society (now completely free!) for regular news and updates (go to the site and hit Contact).
The revival-ution starts here. In the ruin of today's political, social and economic climate, Britain needs a fistful of hard, no-nonsense, tough-talking, tall-walking Truth, courtesy of Mister Bastard. Welcome back, Bob ‘Powder Keg’ Shuter - we've missed you. Now more than ever, the oppressed, the uptight, the angry and the lonely need a good, hard bout of Rough Justice and Brute Force.
Watch out, delinquents... THE REPRISALIZER'S BACK!