About Cathi Unsworth
Cathi Unsworth began writing for the legendary music weekly Sounds at the age of 19, in the time of black kohl and Boots Ultra Strong hairspray, grebo and goth.
When Sounds was felled, just before its 21st birthday, in the time of lumberjack guitars and beehive hair, she went to work for Melody Maker. Somewhere between Ladbroke Grove and Camden Town she fell in with a dodgy crowd with whom she co-edited the arts journal Purr and put out a handful of EPs featuring the likes of Gallon Drunk, Tindersticks, The God Machine, Therapy?, Strangelove and Jake Vegas’ Naked Kiss.
In the grim years of Britpop she took shelter in the refuge of Mute Records, writing the text for their original website, and continued to scribe about music, films, books and pop culture for such journals as Volume, Deadline, Uncut, Mojo and Neon.
For four years she worked for Bizarre magazine, where, amongst other achievements, she managed to commission the former bassist of Blondie to write a feature about people born with no brains and co-curate a literary and music festival with James Hollands and Roger Burton at The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury.
In 2005 Serpent’s Tail published her first novel, The Not Knowing, which was followed by the anthology London Noir in 2006. She lives in London.
Critical Praise For Bad Penny Blues
Click here for Marcel Berlins' review in The Times
Click here for Martin Cloake's review in Essential Writers.
Click here for Laura Wilson's review in The Guardian.
Click here for Ray Banks' review in Needle Scratch Static.
Click here for Christopher Fowler's review in The Financial Times.
Click here for Henry Sutton's review in The Mirror.
Click here for Liz Murray's review in Bookmunch.
Click here for Nicky Charlish's review in Culture Wars.
Bad Penny Blues is the English Black Dahlia and will establish Cathi Unsworth as the First Lady of Noir Fiction - David Peace
A haunting and utterly absorbing London noir that takes us to all the bright lights and dark places of the big city - Jake Arnott
A beautifully written and compelling peep into the dark side of London's past. A knock out - Paolo Hewitt
Cathi Unsworth's third novel is another tour de force - Laura Wilson, The Guardian
Bad Penny Blues isn't only one of the best crime novels this year, it's one of the best of the decade - Ray Banks
A smart noir entertainment with the bitter aftertaste of truth - Christopher Fowler, The Financial Times
Fascinating… a time and a place in London that is very close to my heart – Robert Elms
A magnificent tapestry of period and place… confirming her status as one of Britain's most potent writers of noir – Marcel Berlins, The Times
It's raised the bar for writers of this genre – Liz Murray, Bookmunch
Critical Praise For The Singer
‘What can I say? Cathi Unsworth has written the Great Punk Novel, so I can scratch that off my list of ambitions! The Singer is a compulsive and engrossing book, the characters and the narratives utterly convincing’ David Peace
‘Brilliantly paced, plotted and stylish crime novel from the hugely talented and highly original Cathi Unsworth’ Henry Sutton Daily Mirror
‘A cracking page-turner that feels authentic, authoritative and evocative. And it’s beautifully written. This is a bloody good book’ Val McDermid
‘The best novel I have read about the punk era, and an absorbing mystery... a sad memory of an exciting, destructive and doomed era’ Marcel Berlins The Times
‘Psychotic, sleazy, seducing - a brilliant punk-rock murder mystery’ John King
‘An elegy to the punk experience… her evocation of the kohl-eyed post-punk netherworld is faultless… A deftly plotted narrative, testimony to the skills of an author whose flair for characterisation is a triumph of empathy’ Keith Cameron Mojo
‘Cathi Unsworth’s The Singer was, I thought, one of the literary events of the year. And if it didn’t get the exposure it deserved, I reckon that was done down to sexism on the part of lots of reviewers. What’s the matter boys, scared that a girl knows more than you do about music? And can express it better?’ Martyn Waites
‘An evocative portrait of the music industry... a cracking mystery... Unsworth writes convincingly about the raw power of punk and captures the feeling of optimism and innocence that was lost in the Thatcher years. The Singer is a captivating page-turner and, for this reader, a thoroughly enjoyable pogo down memory lane’ Laura Wilson, Guardian
‘Super-sexy, super-stylish... and truly superstar writing!’ crimesquad.com Top 10 of 2007
‘This is not just essential reading, it’s also the ultimate punk noir novel,’ Billy Chainsaw, Bizarre
Photo: Simon Crubellier 2008. No unauthorized reproduction