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Slammer Hardcover – November 18, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Edgar-finalist Guthrie (Savage Night) explores the tenuous division between truth and desperate fiction in the mind of a rookie prison guard in this gritty thriller. In 1992, having recently relocated to Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife, Lorna, and young daughter, Caitlin, Nick Glass manages to form an uneasy friendship with Mafia, a nearly blind inmate, whose crime was so horrific that no one will talk about it, at a prison for violent offenders nicknamed the Hilton. With abuse coming from his fellow officers and prisoners alike, Glass is soon coerced into a dangerous alliance with another inmate, Caesar, who threatens Glass's family unless he agrees to smuggle in heroin. So begins Glass's bloody descent into hell, as he tries to protect Lorna, Caitlin and himself from Caesar's henchman and a danger that might lurk much closer to home. Guthrie's visceral style is a perfect match for the grim setting. Fans who prefer their crime fiction ultra hard-boiled will be rewarded. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Edgar-finalist Guthrie (Savage Night) explores the tenuous division between truth and desperate fiction in the mind of a rookie prison guard in this gritty thriller. In 1992, having recently relocated to Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife, Lorna, and young daughter, Caitlin, Nick Glass manages to form an uneasy friendship with Mafia, a nearly blind inmate, whose crime was so horrific that no one will talk about it, at a prison for violent offenders nicknamed the Hilton. With abuse coming from his fellow officers and prisoners alike, Glass is soon coerced into a dangerous alliance with another inmate, Caesar, who threatens Glass's family unless he agrees to smuggle in heroin. So begins Glass's bloody descent into hell, as he tries to protect Lorna, Caitlin and himself from Caesar's henchman and a danger that might lurk much closer to home. Guthrie's visceral style is a perfect match for the grim setting. Fans who prefer their crime fiction ultra hard-boiled will be rewarded.

(Publisher's Weekly 2009-09-07)

Noir exposé of an Edinburgh prison guard.

Nicholas Glass, barely 22, married and the father of a 4-year old, takes the only job on offer, at Edinburgh’s facetiously nicknamed prison, The Hilton. The more experienced guards poke fun at him, and the prisoners, who make shanks and machetes in the prison tool shop, set him up as their new drug mule. Veteran convict Caesar commands his obedience by setting Watt, an underling he has on the outside, to threaten Nicholas’ wife and daughter. Nicholas turns to Watt’s brother Mafia, a nearly blind inmate, for help, but when none is forthcoming he begins to siphon off drugs for his personal use to deal with the stress. As his habit escalates, his marriage deteriorates. His wife drinks and complains and threatens to pack up and leave. Glass buys a gun to rid his family of Watt once and for all, but the cons, who have tapes of his drug involvement, blackmail him into engineering a prison breakout. The plot leads to murder, both inside and outside The Hilton, and leaves Glass gibbering on his bedroom floor, soaked in blood, cradling a finger stump and ready for psychiatric incarceration.

Hard-boiled and then some, with no reprieve for the emotionally squeamish. Guthrie (Savage Night, 2008, etc.) has more plot twists up his sleeve than a Vegas card shark, and each is as clever as it is horrific.



(Kirkus Reviews 2009-10-01)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (November 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151012954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012954
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,971,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born on Orkney, a small island group off the north coast of Scotland. I went to school in Kirkwall, where my primary five teacher allowed me to write during art classes, given my woeful lack of talent for visual art. I was, however, not too bad a musician, playing piano and bassoon to a half-decent standard. I became a founder member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland when I was twelve, and was whisked off to music school in Manchester as a fourteen-year-old.

After leaving school, I attended university in Aberdeen, where my plan to support my studies by playing piano in a posh restaurant took a nosedive when I was sacked on my second night because my hair was too long. After a year, I left Aberdeen, degreeless, and moved to Edinburgh.

Having lots of spare time on my hands, I taught myself how to program computers and spent the following twelve years working in IT. It was good while it lasted, but I started to feel the pinch and found a part-time job in a bookshop, where I was so happy I would have worked for free. For a while, at least!

Before long, I was employed full-time in the book trade, and over the nine years that followed I worked in various jobs, from stockroom supervisor to IT trainer, moving between exotic locales such as Brussels, Cork and Stirling, before giving up my day job in 2006 to work as a writer, editor and literary agent.

I'd married in 2000 and it was my wife, Donna, who was instrumental in encouraging me to take my writing seriously. After being short-listed for the CWA Debut Dagger for a book called Blithe Psychopaths in 2001 (renamed Two-way Split for later release), I started to think she might have a point. Three years and hundreds of rejection slips later, I wasn't so sure!

Eventually Two-way Split and Kiss Her Goodbye were picked up (within weeks of one another, oddly enough) by two independent small US presses. In 2006 Kiss Her Goodbye was nominated for an MWA Edgar Award, an Anthony Award and a Mystery Ink Gumshoe Award. Two-Way Split went on to win the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year in 2007.

Since then I've published another three novels, most recently, Slammer, which describes the descent into hell of a young prison officer. I've also published three novellas, including Bye Bye Baby, a police thriller and a Kindle top ten bestseller in the UK.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jason Frost VINE VOICE on September 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Remember how you felt the first time you watched 'Saw'? That's EXACTLY how I felt as I was reading this book. Gritty and raw doesn't begin to describe it. Before I started reading this one I wanted to see what else Mr. Guthrie had written Holy dark-and-foreboding Batman! Either Allan has some serious problems or this man has some serious talent. After reading this book I'll go with the latter.

Nicholas Glass is a character who is right in the middle of the stink. This poor man can't catch a break and is in a prison surrounded by demons of all kinds This entire novel is one nightmare after another, but one scene really stands out: Glass is in the hallway listening to grunting and moaning, wondering what to do. He makes his decision and... whoa! The first time I read it I was like, "what"? The second time I read it I was like, "no way". The third time I read it, I couldn't stop laughing!! The reason I referenced 'Saw' earlier was because of the PURE evil in it. People being evil for no reason other than the need something to do This book was the same way; actually this book surpasses it. The ending just pushes it over the edge.

I enjoyed this book so much because it was just so incredibly brutal. Brutal and real. Brutal, real, and hard. Brutal, real, hard, and one heck of a disturbing read. This is not a book you would read before you go to bed. This is a book you would read before you do a drive-by. Don't believe me? Read it... I freaking DARE you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dman4227 on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was one dark trip into the mind of Allan Guthrie. He has penned another outstanding book that details the mind of a psycho. It is no wonder Guthrie is the King of Psycho Noir. No need to rehash the plot, but the plot will have you speeding through this book at the pace of a bullet flying from a gun. I have been waiting for this book to be released in the US and next time he publishes a book I will be visiting Amazon UK to avoid the wait. Guthrie clearly raises the bar for all the leading and unknown noir authors with this book. This is hard edged noir at its best and you would be wise to disregard reviews from the weakhearted. Buy a copy and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lauren on March 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I first discovered Allan's work a bit over a year ago and quickly tracked down everything I could find. I read (or re-read) one every few months so as to not run out before the next book/novella is published. Slammer has been one of my favorites thus far and easily made my list of top 10 reads of 2010 (which was full of great work). If you like tight, lean writing and great dialogue, I would highly recommend Allan's work. I'm not a fan of the phrase "page-turner" but there is no doubt that Slammer had me hooked from the get go and kept me on the edge of my mental seat. Highly recommended work and author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By McDroll on October 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
If you've read any of my other reviews of Allan Guthrie's writing then you already know that I'm a huge fan. Even so, when you first discover a brilliant author and then find that there's already a collection of his work to get your teeth into, it's wonderful (if you read the books in chronological order) to see how their writing progresses and matures.

If you haven't read any Guthrie yet aren't you the stupid one) then don't start with SLAMMER. Go back and read TWO WAY SPLIT, move onto HARD MAN and then, just maybe, I'll allow you to read SLAMMER. You see you've got to be prepared for what Guthrie does to your mind. He's a right twisted so and so and if you don't chuck his book across your bedroom (if that's where you read) floor and shout very bad sweary words then you're a sad person and should go read some Catherine Cookson....no wait...you probably won't have gotten past the first few pages because there's just a fair wee bit of ridiculously bad language (tut, tut...Mr. Guthrie obviously didn't get his mouth washed out with carbolic soap at primary school) but then if you are looking for a happy wee tale of love and romance....anyway, I digress.

The characters in SLAMMER are weak, violent, manipulative, vengeful and pretty depraved. Excellent! Nick Glass is the new prison officer thrown to the lions in a miserable prison where his fellow officers are corrupt and the prisoners can manipulate the system to get drugs on the inside.

Don't feel sorry for Glass though because he's not a particularly likable 'hero' and as he falls down through the cracks of his shattered life, he'll pull you with him.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Barricklow VINE VOICE on October 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nicholas Glass, twenty-two, has a four year old daughter and is married to an older woman, Lorna. He is desperate for employment in 1992 and accepts a job offer over in Edinburgh Scotland.
On the job training is all rookie officier Glass will have when he steps into the hellhole known as "The Hilton", a Scottish prison where the criminal's DNA is shorthand for hardcore violence. He's a lamb on the way to slaughter. The seasoned criminals immediately scope his weak mind & will. They will not only play him but his family as well. Slowly officier Glass begins his descent, as he is coerced into bringing drugs into the prison, esculating in no time to a planned prison break. But also on collision course is Glass's sanity, not only has he been syphoning some of the drugs for his own use, his abilty to cope with reality is disintegrating before the reader's eyes. A psychological break is coming to shatter glass's mind. It is coinciding with the prison break. Both are points of no return.
Sinking into quicksand of madness, in this superb work, takes place in three parts.
Part One: The Narrative Exposure Therapy. The scene opens with Glass observing the prison shrink's specs sliding down his nose in a clearly practiced maneuver. Guthrie's signature character driven plot is immediately off and running. Be prepared for some psychological shifts in narrative that occur suddently w/o warning as Glass's mind grasps for air. He is already sinking into his own psychological quicksand. The shrink is racing against time to pull him out. It's hardboiled to the core in subject matter and action. It doesn't dissapoint.
Part Two: Confabulation. This is just what it means - to fill in the gaps.
Part Three: Cognitive Dissonance.
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