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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title is just the beginning...
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...
Published on September 25, 2009 by Jason Frost

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "When Glass breaks, he shatters."
As a fan of this writer, I have greatly enjoyed his hard-edged approach to storytelling. There is a certain cache to hard guys, their stubbornness in the face of brutality, a sort of blunt heroism that can be appealing. Unfortunately, Slammer misses the mark for me, the protagonist, Nicholas Glass, neither hard nor good. At twenty-two, Glass is a rookie prison guard at an...
Published on November 8, 2009 by Luan Gaines


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title is just the beginning..., September 25, 2009
This review is from: Slammer (Hardcover)
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner, November 21, 2009
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This review is from: Slammer (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 10 of 2010, March 18, 2011
This review is from: Slammer (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindbending Stuff..., October 11, 2011
This review is from: Slammer (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.

Guthrie expertly roams around inside Glass's mind, twisting and turning through reality and fantasy, nightmares and hell, leaving not only Glass totally confused about what is actually happening as his life breaks up but challenges the reader to work out what's going on too.

The inner workings of the mind is Guthrie's favourite territory and the exhaustion and confusion felt by Glass is expertly handled in a very convincing manner. SLAMMER is a bit of a slow burner that winds itself up until, like a boa constrictor, it's wrapped so tightly around your neck that with one last squeeze you'll be gone....and yes...the ending did catch me out again..WHAT????
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step Into Hardboiled Psychotic Quicksand., October 2, 2009
This review is from: Slammer (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. This basically in layman terms is a psychological conflict that results from incongrous beliefs and attitudes that are being held in one's mind simultaneously. This part is the payoff. Guthrie has stepped up his game here in no uncertain terms. This is where Glass begins to think that we're all in the wrong place. Nobody knows their mind. Not you, not me, not the crazys' around him or the shrinks. You are what you think you are. Your what you remember. This is where Guthrie goes deep.
Take a ride with Glass into psychological quicksand and prey you can find a way out.
Ironically, as hardboiled and violent as it was for Glass to be sucked into madnees:

the getting in was the easy part.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Psychological Thriller, September 29, 2009
By 
Rick Mitchell "Rick Mitchell" (candia, new hampshire United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Slammer (Hardcover)
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Nick Glass, the main character, is a newly hired over-matched prison guard. He is tormented by both prisoners and fellow officers. He eventually is "recruited" to be a drug mule for one of the inmates. He is persuaded when a thug visits his wife and young daughter. One can feel the frustration of his impotence born of fear growing page by page. As he tries to regain control of his life with some help from some of the drugs he is ferrying, his life spins farther and farther out of control. Mr. Guthrie shows the cracks in Glass's pysche with adept passages conflating the prison guard's fantasies with reality. Then it call comes tumbling down.

Without giving away the plot, it is difficult to tell more. Mr. Guthrie skillfully weaves the yarn as Glass's psychological state worsens and worsens. The reader gets to ride along as kidnaps and murders occur with Glass in the middle. What his role is or is not in the crimes is deftly unwound by author. Watching the yarn unwind is captivating and will keep the reader on the edge of his seat to the end.

It is truly a thin line between reality and perception and Mr. Guthrie takes the reader on a tightrope walk along that line. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional writing, but I didn't like the book . . . ., October 11, 2011
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This review is from: Slammer (Hardcover)
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Having never read anything by Allan Guthrie, I went into reading the book with an open mind. The writing is exceptional to where you can relate and believe all that Nick Glass is going through as this is reality written in the finest. Once you start the book you just can't put it down as I found out. I did not like the content of the book as I found it very dark and depressing, but this is the intent of the author. The main character, Nick Glass, just gets caught up in a situation where there isn't a chance for him to get out of it. It just keeps on snowballing and snowballing and you get caught up in it also. You want to put the book down, but you can't. Just like Nick, you gotta keep on going even though you know the outcome will not be good. The content of the book is very real as it could and has happened to many of us, maybe not as severe as what happened to Nick, but everyone can relate to a point. I can't say I liked the content of the book but I do respect how Allan Guthrie wrote it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is just a brilliant book!, October 10, 2011
By 
Les Edgerton (Fort Wayne, IN USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Slammer (Hardcover)
This is going to sound odd, but the whole time I was reading Allan Guthrie's brilliant novel, Slammer, I kept thinking about a writer I'd read back in the eighties, James Kelman. I couldn't figure out why Kelman kept cropping up at the edge of my brain as I turned the pages, so I went and found a copy of Kelman's How Late It Was, How Late, and reread it, trying to figure out where the connection was.

I thought at first it was the subject matter--both books deal with prison, albeit one centers on a guy in prison and the other (Guthrie's) has a protagonist who is a guard, or as we call `em here in the States, a hack.

But, that wasn't it. It really bothered me. Then, I thought perhaps it was that both were Scottish. Now, I felt I was getting closer to uncovering the connection my mind was making.

And then, it dawned on me. It was the world-view of both writers--their cadence of their expression. I knew then why I had joined two writers of different eras together. It was the same visceral feeling I got when I first read James Lee Burke and Joe R. Lansdale and Anthony Neil Smith and Harry Crews--the feeling that I was reading the spiritual descendents of William Faulkner.

It was a geographical thing--no--more--it was a geographically political thing. While Mssrs. Burke and Lansdale and Smith and Crews all employ particular voices and all are different from Faulkner's (as well as similar), there is an undercurrent in all that make them related. I was seeing the same thing in Guthrie and Kelman. It's a cultural thing I suspect. I wish I could articulate it better than I am here and I may well be far off-base, but I feel what I feel.

Stories are more than a plot and characters doing interesting things. The very best of our literature goes beyond that and allows the reader to see inside an intelligent mind. That's what happens with Guthrie's books. We see that dark place within that only the very best of writers ever get to and it's the definition of honesty many seek but most grow weak when approaching and end up settling for an approximation of truth. Guthrie gets it.

What all the writers I've named here have in common is a dark view of existence. One that I share in my own outlook on life. Which is why I'm so attracted to this sort of writer more than any other.

As an ex-con, I'm leery of novels set in prisons. The vast majority get it wrong. It becomes clear immediately that their knowledge of prisons comes from TV and bad movies. When I encounter terms like "shiv" and the like, I quickly put the book in the "send to the used-book sale" pile. Slammer is the real deal. When I was reading it, my hands began to sweat and I had to put it down often and take a walk outside and smoke a cigarette or two. I've been out of prison for decades now and for the first twenty years experienced nightmares. They've been absent for many years now, but they came back while reading this book.

And that's all right. I'll forgive Mr. Guthrie for this. I may have gotten back the nightmares for a time, but I also received something very important. Genuine and raw feeling. And that's worth a lot.

He gets it exactly right. When I was in the joint, our biggest source for drugs was always the hacks. Either directly or by their complicity. For an apt example, there were two brothers--one inside the walls and one outside--and on visiting days the free brother would visit. They had to plan their visits for when a certain guard was on duty. On those visits, the brothers wore identical shoes, and at some point during the visit, they'd simply switch shoes. Each had hollowed-out heels. In the inmate's would be the "green" (real money) he'd collected for the previous week's drugs, while his brother's kicks held smack. If a righteous hack had been on duty, they wouldn't have been able to make the switch. The thing is, without guards, a lot less drugs would find their way to prison populations and that's exactly what Guthrie's guards are doing.

Right on point.

Alexis-Charles-Henri Clerel de Toqueville said something to the effect that nations are judged by the quality of their prisons. From Kelman to Guthrie, I think I have a pretty good idea of Scotland.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be afraid. Be very afraid., October 7, 2011
This review is from: Slammer (Paperback)
Two weeks ago I got me a copy of Allan Guthrie's SLAMMER, and was shaken by what I found, cover to cover in one go. No, wait. Forget I wrote that. Two weeks ago a second hand copy of Allan Guthrie's SLAMMER ran me down, and has been toying with me ever since, like a grassland lion toys with a limping zebra. SLAMMER is a miserable thing. I am miserable since I read, and re-read it. It is all a matter of memory-challenged perspective, isn't it?

Memory, perspective, truth all gone haywire - that is precisely the ballgame main character Nicholas Glass is faced with throughout SLAMMER. In his fifth novel, Guthrie has added a creepy dimension of psychological provocation to his Noir style. SLAMMER stirs scary questions, comes up with unexpected developments and refuses to supply answers. The author keeps us guessing. Not many novels probe into paranoid matters just like that: impersonal, unmoved, straight down the middle.

SLAMMER needs to be read with as close to an open mind as possible, which is tough on the reader. To counter this terror, I went and got me a copy of Guthrie's SAVAGE NIGHT, and read both books simultaneously. Sounds bizarre I know, but worked. Somehow I was in dire need of a round-up, had to check out what else this author is capable of. SLAMMER is a psychological Noir so close to the sharp lights of perfection that things catch fire: touch the pitiless plot, burn. It makes you temporarily leave time. In SAVAGE NIGHT, a scary beaut in its own right, violence is just as paramount, yet still this book was my rope back. But that, of course, is another bedtime story.

Right from the start, SLAMMER makes clear that the parameters of its protagonist's life aren't designed to inspire envy. Glass (do me a favor and think about this last name!) has not yet had the time to grow up intellectually, and become an adult. He is in his early twenties and depends upon an intuitive grasp of his situation, because he cannot rely on life experience, social skills, or insights into human relationships. At his age, he should probably have stayed out of marriage, but there he is, stuck in Edinburgh with limited job prospects, husband to the instable Lorna, father to baby girl Caitlin. Essentially a good guy but overwhelmed with responsibilities, Glass quickly gets involved in a wronged life. Violence, bruisers, weapons, blackmail, drugs and murder become part of his reality as he makes the mistake to accept a job as a rookie guard in a (fictional) Scottish high security prison.

Guthrie involves us deeply in Nick's story, and keeps us committed through an abundance of cruel plot twists. A prison is a lot of noise, a lot of nastiness, a lot of threats, and plenty of narcotics. We witness how the inexperienced, wax-like young guard gets bullied by work mates, manipulated by inmates, and misunderstood by his addictive wife. Guthrie has an especially cold, unblinking way to look into common marriage shambles, where things are often just half-talked about, and most decisions are made either angrily, or in a hurry. As stated, SLAMMER does not make it easy. We have to follow Nicholas Glass through a crisis of the heart and a mental catastrophe, but the narrative journey is worth it.

Still a person with some kindness in his soul, Nick keeps sinking down into the cool, more and more confused depths of his life, retells and invents moments, tries to cling to his most recent past, his frail relationships, his place in the world, his very self. There is a narrative point of no return in this book that sends an icy arrow through the reader's heart - the moment when Glass seems to lose his linear sense of time and being, and gets sucked into something beyond logic and common memory. What, Guthrie seems to ask, version of reality keeps a person sane? Can there ever be something we definitely know? What, then, is truth? These are paralyzing questions, and SLAMMER doesn't avoid them.

Most lifes are anchored and determined by routine, which is as interesting as pulling rabbits out of an empty hat. SLAMMER is a complex, labyrinthine Noir about the catastrophe of uncontrollable mental change against the backdrop of violence. It wants to do something unexpected and challenging, and succeeds beyond belief. It requires grit, and Guthrie very much has the heart for it. Read this book. Then spread the word.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Allan Guthrie's Best, September 19, 2011
This review is from: Slammer (Kindle Edition)
I missed this one when it first came out, but having enjoyed some of this author's novellas recently on the Kindle, I was pleased to see it republished. I think it's one of the best of his that I've read, and if I could have read it in one sitting I'd have done it. It was really hard to put it down.

It starts off as a seemingly conventional hard-boiled prison story, where the main character, a prison officer named Glass, comes over as a well-meaning but quite weak character. Inevitably his weakness is exploited by some of the prisoners, which puts a lot of pressure on him, and on his relationship with his wife, who is drawn into the events.

It's a fascinating portrayal of a character under stress, and the way this builds until he reaches bursting point. It's very cleverly done, and it's a sign of the complexity of the characters that in one scene you can be sympathising with Glass, and in the next scene you want to slap him for being so weak. None of the characters is a cardboard cut-out, and some of the nastiest ones are wonderful creations.

One reviewer complained that you had to re-read some of the scenes. Yes you do, but to me that was a pleasure, not a problem. You think you're reading an account of what happened, then you realise it's a fantasy, or it's an account of what the character wished had happened. You do need to rewind a few paragraphs here and there, but for me that was one reason the book was such a pleasure to read. I can see that with a less-skilled writer it might haver annoyed me, but not here, where it's cleverly done. And when you get to the end of the book, you understand more how that technique enhances the story.

I can also believe that this is exactly how some prisons are. It is tough, it is sometimes funny, there are sudden unexpected episodes of violence, and the interplay between the characters (guards and prisoners alike) is gripping. It would make a great movie or TV drama too.

As I said, this is one of Allan Guthrie's best, and like other reviewers I'm so glad this is available at such a good price on the Kindle.
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Slammer
Slammer by Allan Guthrie (Hardcover - November 18, 2009)
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