Used bookstores are used bookstores anywhere you go--even Down Under--and thus it should come as no surprise that one of the coolest books I picked up during my recent trip to Australia wasn't even Australian: Derek Raymond's How the Dead Live. I've read Raymond before, but it's been many years, so I had the wonderful experience of only vaguely remembering the novels, and thus being able to re-read How the Dead Live on the plane home as if for the first time.
Raymond's brilliance in his British version of noir fiction stems from his ability to cross-pollinate the form with a bracing existentialism and dark exploration of memory and sadness. Even today, with the explosion of interesting hybrids by authors like Ken Bruen, Raymond manages to shock and amaze in his mixture of the hardboiled and the lyrical. (Not to mention, a surprising gruff humor.)
Just one excerpt from How the Dead Live to give you a taste: