The Gallows Pole
May 2017. Bluemoose Books.
Winner of a Roger Deakin Award.
A soundtrack to the novel is here.
“The Gallows Pole may well turn out to be 2017’s His Bloody Project. It’s a windswept, brutal tale of eighteenth-century Yorkshire told in starkly beautiful prose.” – Alex Preston, The Guardian
“Terrific: illuminating, gripping and deeply rooted in its setting. The description of a popular uprising against the rich establishment has many links with our current political climate that makes it thought-provoking and vital.” – Amy Liptrot
“Compelling and visceral in its language, The Gallows Pole is an astonishing act of reclamation -a hidden history re-imagined, a lost landscape vividly brought to life.” – Jake Arnott
“Atmospheric alt-crime at its best.” – NME
“Prose that is by turns poetic and full of power, with a rhythm and cadence that makes you feel the loam under the nails, the wind at your back and the power of the natiral world…spellbinding stuff.”- Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue
“Myers is the master of English rural noir” – Paul Kingsnorth
“Myers’ captivating tale of the Cragg Vale Coiners is as wild and full of life – in all its beauty and brutality – as stags on the Yorkshire moors.” – Wyl Menmuir
“You can smell the rot, feel the wet weight of mud on your skin, hear the birdsong, muttered threats and prayers to old gods…reel at the dizzying depths of history Myers finds in a scrap of land; the intoxicating, exhilarating mines of buried epics he discovers.” – Niall Griffiths
“A glass of whisky, fireplace, rain-lashing-the-window sort of book. Make the whisky cask strength.” – Cynan Jones
“Myers’s writing is more ornate than in his previous novels. In pursuit of an epic folk quality, he uses balladic repetition and scattershot word pairings…Myers also writes good prose that sharply evokes weather and wildness, and communicates a deep love of the Yorkshire landscape. He’s an interesting writer and a talented one, and this is a fascinating subject.” – Carol Birch, The Guardian
“Smelting together the pace, violence and sheer drama of a Cormac McCarthy novel with a Ted Hughes-like evocation of its wild Pennine setting, The Gallows Pole is an unforgettable true story of counterfeiting and murder that burns brilliantly, searing into the eye and mind. Riveting, raw and unflinchingly polemical, it tears open the English landscape to reveal the messy, eerie, rough and raw lives once lived therein in incredible, alarming and unforgettable style.”- Rob Cowen
“The elements build like a Western with the added shade of the peculiarly English class dualisms that descend from inheritance, through Parliament, down to local government and finally seep into the very soil….Displaying admirable control of his prose as well as his cast of characters, this is a novel full of tension, colour, and drama, but also one that is underpinned by a radical relationship with the author’s own country — suggestive of the many different histories that our literature continues to neglect and positing thoroughly modern questions about the nature of the environment, ownership, wealth, and class.” – Caught By The River
“If you’ve ever been on a lonely trek through the lost and inbetween parts of the English countryside, the moors, the dales, the peaks, Ben’s are the words that rattle through your head as the light gets dim or the rain comes in, as your mind starts to race…” – Wolf People
“A brilliant novel – for fans of The Wake, for fans of Sarah Perry. It’s full of millstone grit, bracken, the high moors and old pagan England. The language and dialect has obviously been researched to a huge degree, and written as a fast-paced thriller. It’s an interesting, original and powerful historical novel in the vein of Ted Hughes…[but] one told with a massive amount of humour.” – John Mitchinson, Backlisted Podcast
“The joy, and power, of Myers’ writing has always been its weight of tradition, a delight in the excavation of language to give it vivid contemporary life. The Gallows Pole gives him the opportunity to unleash a thesaurus of eighteenth-century language, the extent of Yorkshire swearing is worth reading the novel alone…the flow of such language not only gives an air of authenticity, at times it becomes a prose folk-song, but pulls the reader into this community.” – Bookmunch
“A fantastic talem with the 18th century setting allowing Myers scope to really get in amongst the phlegm and pig-shit, the novel evoking time and place as well as Graeme Macrae Burnet’s My Bloody Project while also containing the lyricism of Sebastian Barry’s recent Costa winning Days Without End…pulsates with life.” – The Crack
“Brilliantly realised fiction, rooted in visceral truth… few novelists can better Myers at capturing the shifting moral tonality of landscape.” – Culture Vulture
“Myers grapples with poverty, injustice and human suffering. His writing packs a visceral punch and is not for the faint-hearted. His descriptions…are beautifully rendered in poetic, unrelenting, muscular prose bringing alive acts of savage desperation.” – Bookblast
“I saw them. Stag-headed men dancing at on the moor at midnight, nostrils flared and steam rising…”
An England divided. From his remote moorland home, David Hartley assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history.
They are the Cragg Vale Coiners and their business is ‘clipping’ – the forging of coins, a treasonous offence punishable by death.
A charismatic leader, Hartley cares for the poor and uses violence and intimidation against his opponents. He is also prone to self-delusion and strange visions of mythical creatures.
When excise officer William Deighton vows to bring down the Coiners and one of their own becomes turncoat, Hartley’s empire begins to crumble. With the industrial age set to change the face of England forever, the fate of his empire is under threat.
Forensically assembled from historical accounts and legal documents, The Gallows Pole is a true story of resistance that combines poetry, landscape, crime and historical fiction, whose themes continue to resonate. Here is a rarely-told alternative history of the North.
Loud & Quiet magazine’s Book Of 2016.
The depths of winter in the isolated Yorkshire Dales and a teenage girl is missing.
At a derelict farm high up on a hillside Steven Rutter, a destitute loner, harbours secrets. Nobody knows the bleak moors better than him, or their hiding places.
Obsessive, taciturn and solitary, detective Jim Brindle is relentless in pursuing justice. But he is not alone in his growing preoccupation with the case. Local journalist Roddy Mace has moved north from London to build a new life.
As Brindle and Mace begin to prise the secrets of the case from tight-lipped locals, their investigation leads first to the pillars of the community and finally to a local celebrity and fixture of the nation’s Saturday night TV. ‘Lovely Larry’ Lister has his own hiding places, and his own dark tastes.
A tour de force in plotting and atmosphere, Turning Blue is a terrifying and gripping tale of hidden lives, and hidden deaths.
“Myers summons up the Yorkshire landscape with lyrical aplomb. The bleakness of the snowbound landscape, the beauty of the moors, the vivid realisation of market town and northern city are all rendered with absolute clarity. His prose is beautifully controlled and so graphic it’s impossible not to picture the scenes he conjures up in striking detail. There is no hiding place from the darkness because the writing is so damned good.” – Val McDermid, The Guardian
“Ben Myers is the master of English rural noir, and with Turning Blue, he has created a whole new genre: folk crime….this is by turns gripping, ghastly and unputdownable. I’m already looking forward to the sequel.” – Paul Kingsnorth, author of The Wake and Beast
“Working within the genre of crime fiction, and yet with a prose style that at times reads like poetry, Myers spins a tale of torment that creaks into other, older narratives. He creates a novel that is both environmentally and ecologically prescient…Turning Blue is a brave and utterly uncompromising novel which positions Benjamin Myers alongside the great names of crime fiction. He has earned his metaphorical seat on the bench, snuggled in between Val McDermid and James Ellroy.” – Katharine Norbury, Caught By The River
“A queasily compulsive evocation of a wild and brutal Yorkshire landscape, informed and haunted in equal measure by the shades of Jimmy Savile and his monstrous deeds and the East Riding’s lost boy of crime fiction, Ted Lewis.” – Cathi Unsworth, author of The Not Knowing and Bad Penny Blues
“[Myers is] grammatically armed, experienced, and capable of subverting language to dangerous effect….In terms of the current pantheon of crime writing, there truly is nothing with Turning Blue’s dark power and literary ferocity.” – Tom Morton, Thrill Filter
“Myers has his own style, he is an exciting writer of extraordinary talent with an ability to weave heart-breaking tales about marginalised communities and individuals with brutal, bleak and stomach-wrenching stories into the evocative tapestry of a landscape setting….I am continually excited and blown away by Myers’ awesome writing.” – A Fiction Habit
“Not only has Myers managed to retain his genuine gift for writing about the countryside – despite some quite explicit diversions into the sexual underworld – but in James Brindle he has created a detective who is troubled, and thankfully not just by the tired clichés of drink, drugs or divorce…Turning Blue works as a proper old-fashioned page turner, but Myers has created a new genre – Dales Noir – with echoes of a great like James Ellroy.” – Louder Than War
“Turning Blue is cool, dark and hypnotic. As we’ve come to expect from Myers, landscape and nature play an important role in the book, providing the rough-hewn canvas on which he paints yet another gripping, shadowy portrait of humanity, and in the process proves himself one of our most interesting and original writers.” – Lee Bullman, Loud & Quiet. Book Of 2016.
“This is far removed from the picture postcard Yorkshire of Heartbeat…the wildness of the environs are particularly well drawn, the reek of sheep shit practically wafting off the page…this compulsively readable work is driven by the same kind of grimly hypnotic thump that David Peace brought to his Red Riding Quartet (another author not given to romanticising “the north”).- The Crack
“The writing is masterful. The descriptive power throughout is akin to that of the best metaphysical poetry….to read Turning Blue is to be totally immersed, to be so engaged with the richness of the text that when reality calls and the book needs placing back on the table, you long to escape back to it.” – Nudge
“Rural crime fiction in Britain is often hounded by a sense of cosiness, of layers of geniality laid as thick as a buttered scone. Trust Benjamin Myers to swallow those clichés into oblivion, and regurgitate a dark, nasty detective story set in the Yorkshire dales, with barely an iota of compassion for our methods of clinging to what we know…this is a tour de force of stark horror writhing from any pigeonhole you lump it in.” – The Skinny
“What a revelation Turning Blue turned out to be. A glorious mash up of the staccato darkness of David Peace, fused with Ross Raisin, this book was not only utterly original, but infused with a beautifully realised balance of naturalistic imagery, and a totally compelling tale of sordid murder in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Drawing on the theme of the infamous Yew Tree investigations, Myers has conjured up a cast of emotionally damaged characters across the spectrum, with blood chilling moments of revelation, that will haunt your dreams.” – Raven Crime Reads
“Deeply uncomfortable, essential reading, examining something very rotten in British society.” – Unsung Stories
2014. Bluemoose Books.
Winner of the Portico Prize For Literature 2015.
Winner of the Northern Writers’ Award 2013.
Longlisted for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award 2015.
“Beastings is a brilliant, brutal novel, told sparsely but with huge strength. It put me in mind of the work of Ron Rash and Cormac McCarthy in its attention to landscape, and its muscular tone.” – Robert Macfarlane
“The evocation of landscape is intimate and elemental…Myers has the potential to become a true tragedian of the fells.” – The Guardian
“Benjamin Myers is quite simply an excellent and already accomplished writer. His prose is taut, confident, professionally polished but at the same time maintaining a sense of rustic and unrefined authenticity, that which is truly hewn.” – Judge Sarah Hall, Northern Writers’ Award
“…a gripping ride through an imagined heart of Lake District darkness. I couldn’t have writ it better myself.” – Hamilton, British Sea Power
“This bitter, alarming, occasionally visionary novel of the British wilderness is likely to linger in the mind for some time.” – New Statesman
“Beastings is just wonderful – tough and generous and beautiful” – Will Atkins
“A bleak, compelling novel about religion, fertility and ferality, played out amongst the Lake District fells where the line between (wo)man and beast often seems fragile and thin…I don’t know if I have encountered such a strong, engaging character in a book for some time: this is startling, sublime writing.” – Caught By The River
“Myers’ prose is appropriately sparse…his brief descriptions need no expansion – “thin lipped with sharp manicured nails” – and he provokes a physical repulsion from the outset as he sets up a savage pursuit.” – The Big Issue
“What we have here is a literary thriller of the highest order – one that really stands out from the crowd and packs an intense, unflinching and disturbing punch as you read to its dramatic climax.” – Savidge Reads
“Faulkner begat McCarthy begat Myers. That’s good company. Hallowed company…an extraordinary novel. A fine achievement, something to be proud of. A novel I will never forget. I had thought only Americans could write like this.” – The Portico Quarterly
“Benjamin Myers quite literally takes us for a walk on the dark side…The description of the landscape is at times so intense and vivid, it breathes on the page. However, Beastings is not for the faint-hearted, the book is at times genuinely unsettling as Myers’ rich descriptive prose leads us willingly into the heart of a gothic nightmare. A story that will grip you to the final word and a tour de force for Myers.” – Loud & Quiet magazine
“One for Cormac McCarthy fans tired of waiting for his new book…” – Shortlist
“A novel that disturbs & hypnotizes in equal measure.” – The Bookseller
“Beastings is a startlingly confident novel, the kind that makes other books seem two-thirds too long…” – The Journal
“There’s something about this vast physical expanse in the novel that loosens the characters from the bonds of morality; that made the whole narrative very believable.” – The Quietus
“As the tension of the chase heightens and the novel races towards its terrible conclusion, it’s Myers’s powerful and uncompromising language that keeps the reader gripped – at once sumptuous and stark, horrific and intense – Beastings is a novel of unflinching beauty, telling a richly imagined tale of a need from freedom from the abuse of power that can resonate in us all.” – NARC
“…the novel keeps its hand around your throat, dragging you backward through the overgrowth it depicts. By the time you finish the book, you’ll feel simultaneously compelled to visit the Lake District and terrified by the idea.” – Bookslut
“Benjamin Myers’ highly anticipated fourth book seals his reputation as a writer with a talent for painting the violent wilderness of the rural north…. fans of his previous works will be on familiar ground with the novel’s mesmerising prose and blackly humorous, laconic dialogue, and the damp and desolate landscapes of the novel are given immense tangibility and personality.” – Living North
“A dark, suspenseful Lakeland gothic – a real literary page-turner,” – Jenn Ashworth
“An absorbing story of a savage pursuit…” – Big Issue
“What I love about Myers’ writing is the simplicity of what is going on. There are no gadgets and bullshit….the writing in Beastings, as with Pig Iron and the gorgeous novella Snorri and Frosti, is completely stripped back of any fancy pants bullshit and is primal and uninhibited.” – Bookc*nt
“I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that Beastings is an absolute masterpiece. A spellbinding work of art.” – Russ Litten
“The language of Beastings is unembellished; deceptively spare for the most part, yet obviously painstakingly crafted…this pitch-black tale surely mark Myers’ continued ascendancy as a contemporary novelist of note; despite, or perhaps because of it bleakness, Beastings is a deeply compelling and unnerving piece of prose.” – Cuckoo Review
“With Beastings Myers is becoming a Ron Rash of northern England. Like Rash’s novels, and short stories of the Appalachian mountains, Myers’ depiction of life on the Cumbrian fells spans Biblical struggles between innocence and corruption, sacrifice and love and a sense of an evil that will always exist within the human soul.” – Bookmunch
2012. Bluemoose Books.
Winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2013.
John-John wants to escape his past. But the legacy of brutality left by his bare-knuckle boxer father, King of the Gypsies, Mac Wisdom, overshadows his life. His new job as an ice cream man should offer freedom, but instead pulls him into the dark recesses of a northern town where his family name is mud.
When he attempts to trade prejudice, parole officers and local gangs for his ‘green cathedral’ – the rural landscape in which he seeks solace – Mac’s rise and bloody downfall threatens to engulf John-John’s present. Pig Iron is the story of a traveller who hasn’t travelled; a young man fighting for his surname and his very survival.
“Pig Iron is an important book because it tells a story that has shaped all contemporary Western humans, but is routinely, inexplicably overlooked – the great move from agricultural life to industrial life. The respect in which that shapes human culture and individual humans was something Gordon Burn was always thrummingly alive to.” – Judge Deborah Orr, the Gordon Burn Prize 2013
“His poetic vernacular brims with that quality most sadly lost – humanity.” – The Guardian
“Benjamin Myers’ influences are clear — David Peace’s northern brutalism is evident and there are suggestions of Salinger and Golding but Pig Iron’s savage vision is his alone.” – The Morning Star
“One of my best reads this year…it’s a deeply rural story, a book full of passion for the English countryside and centred on the conflict between the travelling and the settled community. A very fine read indeed, it expresses a life view almost never examined in our narrow literary culture.” – Melvin Burgess
“A novel that resists mere classification as a ‘traveller’ book. This is yet another singular portrait of an outsider from Myers. And delivered through authentic characterisation, a monstrously compelling plot, and frequent humour – a rare combination of such successfully crafted elements – Pig Iron deserves to find itself on many a reading list, if not the National Curriculum.” – 3:AM Magazine
“What a staggeringly powerful book. It held me page by page, totally took me over. If I had to opt for a single word to encompass the experience of reading the book, I’d settle for ‘ferocious’. How come this book didn’t win all the literary prizes that year?” – Dominic Cooper, author of The Dead Of Winter and Sunrise.
“Original and urgent, exciting and uncompromising” – Loud & Quiet, Books of the Year
“Never has an author caught the sense of dread, denial and defeat in the downward spiral so thoroughly and accurately as this since Hubert Selby Jr.’s masterwork Requiem For A Dream. Myers’ blend of low-life settings and high art conceptions, coupled with a sharp knowledge of North-East regional dialectical inflections and the region’s mapping, are a wonderful throwback to Joyce.” – Louder Than War
2010. Picador / Pan MacMillan.
In February 1995, Richey Edwards checked out of a London hotel instead of flying to the US with the rest of the Manic Street Preachers. There were a few subsequent sightings but then nothing. His body was never found, and he was declared legally dead in November 2008. Now Richard tells the story of his life – and disappearance – as he might have told it….
“Never a dropped beat. Myers understands the reactionary nature of the post-punk diktat, the people it attracts and its importance to lives given up to it.” – The Times
“Richard is not a provocation, nor does it claim to solve the Richey mystery. It is a sympathetic and sad imagining of the boy who became a reluctant pop idol.” – Time Out
“A novel for our celebrity-obsessed age…from life in a small town to sex, drugs and rock and roll excess, Richard slashes and burns its way through the bloated beigeness of the contemporary British novel.” – Bookmunch
2004. Wrecking Ball Press (UK) and Baldini Castoldi & Dalaia (Italy).
Written in real time over seven days, THE BOOK OF F**K is a short, sharp, pun-addled pulp fiction pastiche where the absurd underworld of music and reality are exaggerated to new dimensions. Following the frantic movements of a rock fan on the trail of America’s public enemy number one, it is a buckled break-neck rant let loose at punk rock speed, literature that comes none more black.
Echoing the energy and urgency of the music that inspired it – short, sharp and pure in intention – advance copies of THE BOOK OF F**K have fell fowl of censors in certain countries due to its uncompromising title, leading one Italian newspaper to describe as “an insult to literature” and one UK chain of bookstores to ban it.
“Take Holden Caulfield and put him in a squalid and perpetually hungover London. Myers sets his book in the grey surrounds of medical surgeries, the city’s nerve centre, piss-stinking alleys and Orwellian call centres”.” – Rolling Stone
“Something odd but irresistible that’s both poetry and prose… yet neither one nor the other.”–Time Out
“In a world of scrubbed-up pop-star tossers, the counter culture still burns fiercely” – City Life
2013. 3:AM Press (print) / Galley Beggar Press (ebook).
96 page novella published first as an ebook as part of the Galley Beggar Press Singles club and then as a chapbook by 3:AM Books, with art by Christian Spens. Both 2013. A limited amount featured a special “bejewelled” cover. The first print run SOLD OUT in 2 weeks but copies of both can now be bought again here or downloaded via Amazon.