Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Reprisalizer is Back!

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!

FRANK BARROW

9 comments:

  1. From the moment I was weaned off my mother's teat I was straight onto Terry Finch novelettes. The Reprisalizer had such an influence over my young, impressionable mind that I completely bypassed my 'youth' (good job, or I may well have ended up being shot directly in the face by Bob Shuter, and quite rightly too!) and, at the age of 23, passed my HGV test at only the sixth attempt. Let's get Terry writing again so I can ship his tomes as cargo, instead of my usual three tons of Lidl own-brand toilet paper.

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  2. My mother in law lives in Herne Bay, I just hope she never reads a Terry Finch book - she'll never leave her house again once she sees the filth ridden streets in the pages of a Reprisalizer novellete..

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  3. Do you mean to be "following" William Blessing? No objections but wondering why?
    WB.

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  4. My granddad, a Maidstone man originally, used to empty Terry's bins in the late 70's to early 80's He died recently, leaving me a garage, and several suitcases, full of old paperbacks, which included the entire REPRISALIZER series, bar 'Lone Dog'. I also came across a yellowing manuscript with Terry's name attached, dated 1978; along with some letters from an American publisher who, apparently, had commissioned Terry to write an erotic thriller. The manuscript was called 'Rape...by Candlelight!' I'm trying to get it authenticated.

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  5. Terry Finch has been shat on by the publishing establishment for too long. It's time he got some respect and presumably some money.

    After having watched all the repeats of the Professionals on ITV4, repeatedly, I am infuriated by the way Bodie and Doyle are hamstrung by "the rulebook". The great thing about the Reprisalizer is Shuter starts where CI5 have to stop. Although were he alive today I am sure George Cowley would give him the nod on the quiet.

    It's time we all remembered that, sometimes, Justice lives outside the law. Especially in Kent.

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  6. Any news? A Gun for George was excellent and I need some Barrow now, you bin!

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  7. Harry Callaghan was a wimp.
    Paul Kersey!!, Death Wish. Ha!!! you're avin a laugh son, he was a weak mummys boy
    But take that geezer Bob Shuter, he was the real deal, a grade A bad lad.
    Now more than ever we need someone like Bob to wipe away the scum in our society.
    Mr Finch, we NEED you, we need you to show us where society is going wrong. We need you NOW GODDAMMIT!

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  8. I'm a man of Kent, Christ am I glad I got out of there to the relative safe haven of moss side.

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