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John Baker - Page 2
John Baker
King Of The StreetsKing Of The Streets
Death Minus ZeroDeath Minus Zero
Poet in the GutterPoet in the Gutter



Paperback - Indigo (2000)
First British Edition Gollancz (1998)
King Of The Streets
See Review by Val McDermid - Gold Dagger winner & creator of Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan & Tony Hill
Whenever he talked about it later, Sam Turner would say the whole thing started with Jeanie Scott, who looked like the woman from Scottish Widows. She was scared - her ex-husband Cal had been murdered the day before and her house broken into, although nothing was taken. Thinking the two events must be connected, and fearing for her safety and that of her daughter, she wanted Sam to investigate.
When Sam and his unlikely sidekicks - a teenage street kid, the widow of his former partner Gus and a retired English teacher of a certain age - start asking around, it's not long before the threatening phone calls turn into action and their office is trashed. Never one to back down, especially when he's so obviously being warned off, Sam digs deeper. He uncovers connections everywhere: unexpected links between both bread-ins, Cal's murder and the case of a missing boy who had turned up dead a couple of days earlier in Brownie Dyke in York, minus his genitalia.
All the threads are drawing Sam back to his past, to an old enemy he's been watching for a very long time, but who has always seemed to be above the law. He's not sure how it all fits together, but you can bet there'll be trouble for someone when he works it out.
Sam just hopes it won't be for himself.


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First British Edition Gollancz (1996)
Paperback - Indigo (2000)
Death Minus Zero
See Review by Val McDermid - Gold Dagger winner & creator of Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan & Tony Hill
When Norman busts out of Dartmoor, he doesn't head for the Smoke, like they’d expect. He’s going to York, because that’s where Snow White lives - married a guy and went straight, calls herself Selina. She doesn’t know he’s coming after her, but she will. Oh yes, she will. And the unexpected presence in York of his favourite lust object, prison psychiatrist Jennie Cosgrove, is a bonus indeed…
This new adventure for Sam, Celia, Geordie and Gus is as impressively gripping as the first. John Baker’s first novel, Poet in the Gutter, was one of the best-received of recent crime debuts. It introduced Sam Turner, twice-married Bob Dylan fan and former alcoholic, and his unlikely sidekicks - a teenage street kid, an unemployed snooker player and a retired English teacher of a certain age.

"A light, deft touch … the characters are engaging, and the writing is witty … it’s a good curtain-opener and a very promising glimpse of an entertaining new character" Paul Duncan, Crime Time
"Set in York, Baker’s debut novel is engagingly credible, off the wall, romantic without being sentimental, with a sharp sense of humour … a great cast of characters I look forward to encountering again" Val McDermid, Manchester Evening News
'Absorbing and well-written with an exciting finale' T.J.Binyon, Evening Standard
'Great characters, idiosyncratic plot - a definite original' Maxim Jakubowski, Time Out
"Exceedingly cunning, laid-back plot … genial, fast and funny" Philip Oakes, Literary Review
"John Baker is new to this game and he looks as if he is going to be a real discovery … the characters, the setting and particularly the writing are completely successful " Bill Pardoe, Birmingham Post
'Strong, dark and discursive... there's no doubt that - with his York setting and up-from-the-gutter hero - Baker has added something new to the crime scene' Philip Oakes, Literary Review
"Something quiet unexpected … an entrancing - and funny - fairy-tale in which all the dragons are slain and the good guys come out on top" Natasha Cooper, TLS
'A tough, gritty read in the new modem manner of the British thriller. If you're into black comedy with a touch of surrealism, then Death Minus Zero will have you chuckling through the length of its two hundred odd pages.' The Irish Times


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Paperback - Indigo (2000)
Poet in the Gutter
See Review by Val McDermid - Gold Dagger winner & creator of Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan & Tony Hill
Sam Turner went to the men's group because his flat was cold, and because he was off the booze, and because another marriage had gone bust. They were talking about Iron John and how men were alienated. Sam said that he was a private detective, and they all said that was really interesting. It was nearly true - he'd been thinking about being a private eye all his life, although he wasn't sure how much of a future there was for it in York. Terry Deacon was especially interested. He suspected his wife was fooling around. Sam thought he could just fit some surveillance into his busy schedule. But when it turned out he was dealing with a killer, Sam found his career in detection was really taking off.
"Exceedingly cunning, laid back plot....Genial, fast and funny" Philip Oakes Literary Review
"Neatly plotted and engagingly and wittily written: Sam's next case is something to look forward to" Tim Binyon, Daily Mail


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