Recommended Read: Criminal Thoughts by Aidan Thorn

CriminalThoughtsCoverAidan Thorn’s Criminal Thoughts contains eleven short, sharp slices of Brit Grit crime fiction.

There is plenty of humour as well as hard boiled realism in these cleverly interconnecting stories.

The best are the trio that kick off with the cracking  After Hours, which I can really see being developed into a belter of a novel.

Thorn is one to watch, for sure.

Short, Sharp Interview: Richard Godwin

HitmanCover-01 (1)PDB: What’s going on now?

My thriller Confessions Of A Hit Man is out in paperback and as an E book in both English and Italian. It is a high octane thriller with a plot that adds velocity like a well-oiled chicane. When ex-Royal Marine Jack becomes a paid assassin, work comes easily, especially when working for the Sicilian Mafia, until he gets drawn into a government plot selling enriched plutonium to a rogue Nation.

It is available here in the US

And here in the UK

Also this year saw the publication of Meaningful Conversations. It is a Noir novel about a well-adjusted psychopath. Bertrand Mavers is a professional cellist who is resisting a control programme through the use of artistic paradigms, he is also abducting people and building a body at The Farm.

It is available here in the US

And here in the UK

PDB: How did you research this book?

For Confessions Of A Hit Man reading about espionage and surveillance and talking to people who work in the field.

Meaningful Conversations is an organic novel that grew out of my observations of contemporary society.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

If I had to choose one I would say One Lost Summer, since it would reach widest audience.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

I find it hard to say.

No Country For Old Men.

Dickens Great Expectations or Dostoyevsky Crime And Punishment.

David Bowie Moonage Daydream or Tom Waits Rain Dogs

Morse.

cover of meaningful conversations finalPDB: Is location important to your writing?

It depends on the novel but usually it is.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

When I can get to them.

PDB: What’s next?

I have four to be published this year, a dystopian novella, the sequel to Apostle Rising, one of the several my agent is pitching now, and a hard core London crime novel that Down And Out Books are publishing at the end of the year.

Bio: Richard Godwin is the author of critically acclaimed novels Apostle Rising, Mr. Glamour, One Lost Summer, Noir City, Meaningful Conversations and Confessions Of A Hit Man.

He is also a published poet and a produced playwright. His stories have been published in numerous paying magazines and over 34 anthologies, among them The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Mystery, alongside Lee Child, published by Constable & Robinson, as well as the anthology of his stories, Piquant: Tales Of The Mustard Man, published by Pulp Metal Fiction in February 2012.

Apostle Rising is a dark work of fiction exploring the blurred line between law and lawlessness and the motivations that lead men to kill. It digs into the scarred soul of a cop in the hunt for a killer who has stepped straight from a nightmare into the waking world. It is available here. It has sold foreign rights in Hungary, to Alexandra, translated as A Romlas Labirintusa; in Italy, to Lite Editions, translated as L’Apostolo; and in Slovenia, to be published in late 2014 by Artizan Press.

Mr. Glamour is about a world of wealthy, beautiful people who can buy anything, except safety from the killer in their midst.a0ea8-noircity It is about two scarred cops who are driven to acts of darkness by the investigation. As DCI Jackson Flare and DI Mandy Steele try to catch the killer they find themselves up against a wall of secrecy. And the killer is watching everyone. It is available here. It has sold foreign rights to Italy and France, to be translated early 2015 by MeMe.

One Lost Summer is a Noir story of fractured identity and ruined nostalgia. It is a psychological portrait of a man who blackmails his beautiful next door neighbour into playing a deadly game of identity. It is available here.

Noir City is about dangerous gigolo Paris Tongue, who seduces the wife of a Mafia boss and is hunted across Europe by hit men. It is available here .

It will be translated into Italian in 2015.

Meaningful Conversations is a Noir novel about a well-adjusted psychopath. Bertrand Mavers is a professional cellist who is resisting a control programme through the use of artistic paradigms, he is also abducting people and building a body at The Farm. It is available here.

Confessions Of A Hit Man is a high octane thriller with a plot that adds velocity like a well-oiled chicane. When ex-Royal Marine Jack becomes a paid assassin, work comes easily, especially when working for the Sicilian Mafia, until he gets drawn into a government plot selling enriched plutonium to a rogue Nation. It is available here. It is being simultaneously published in English and Italian October 2015.

Richard Godwin was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King’s College London, where he also lectured.

You can find out more about him at his website  www.richardgodwin.net , where you can also read his Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, his highly popular and unusual interviews with other authors.

The Hit Man And Her by Paul D. Brazill

Gloves Off FINAL4.0Carl Henderson had to squint when he spoke to the tired sounding American woman that had just melted onto a bar stool. The scorching midday sun was streaming through the open door and all he could see was her silhouette.

He put on a pair of sunglasses and liked what he saw. She was a good looking woman; late forties, stylishly dressed and wearing sunglasses that were a lot more expensive than his. She held out a perfectly manicured hand. He took it delicately.

“Linda,” she said.

“Craig,” he lied.

“What can I get you?” he said.

“Well, it’s just after noon, so that makes it Margarita time in my book,” she said.

He prepared the drink with a flourish and handed it to her to taste.

“What do you think?”

She sipped the drink and gave a shaky thumbs up. He smiled.

“Nice to know. Cocktails are like humour. Very personal things,” he said.

“Too true,” she said.

He turned back and slammed the till closed so hard that the optics hanging overhead rattled.

“With my late husband, the humour was the hardest part at first,” said Linda and unsteadily she got off the bar stool. She moved it closer to the bar. “Well, that and the Yorkshire accent.”

She tightly held onto the bar and edged back onto the bar stool. Gripped her glass. Stroked it. Caressed it.

“Rod was like a machine gun. Rattling off these one-liners that were filled with cultural references that I just didn’t have a hope of getting,” She smiled. “Never did get a lot of them.”

She scraped some salt from the rim of her margarita and licked it from her finger tip.

Henderson just nodded and waited for her to continue. He knew he was in for the long haul with this one. He could tell, just by looking at her that she needed a shrink at least as much as a drink. He could see how haunted she looked.

Still, business was business. The bar was always deserted on Tuesday afternoons. The bloody Spanish and their siestas. And today, Linda was the only customer, apart from the old English geezer in the corner with the walking stick and the thick glasses. He’d been nursing a milky coffee for hours and didn’t look keen on buying anything else.

“The first time we met,” said Linda. “Was on a boat.”

Henderson straightened his tie in the mirror behind the bar and turned back to Linda.

He picked up the remote and clicked on the CD player. Tim Hardin wafted into the room. A Leonard Cohen song about trying to be free.

“I was barely in my twenties. Trying to prove I could be independent from my rich daddy. He was a big shot executive for General Motors. Anyway, I got a job working as a kids’ entertainer on a cruise ship that was going around the Greek Islands.”

Henderson sipped his lemonade and looked up at the ceiling fan. It was working but the bar was still stiflingly hot. Pain in the arse getting planning permission for a listed building , though, so air conditioning was out of the question. It had cost plenty already. Almost everything he’d ripped off from Big Howie, in fact.

“Sounds great,” he said.

“It was. Another world. I’d never been out of Michigan before, let alone the States. My family didn’t like to travel. Dad always said, why go looking around the world when we have everything we need at home?”

“Not the most adventurous of blokes, then?”

“Not exactly. So, there I was trying to entertain the kids – who were running riot – when this middle aged English singer turned up. In two minutes, Rod got them organised into two lines. ‘Boys in front of Uncle Ian’– him – and ‘girls in front of Auntie Myra,’ me. Not that I got the joke at the time.”

“The Moors Murderers? Sick joke, that.”

He grimaced. Linda shrugged.

“But I take it you hit it off, anyway?” said Henderson.

“Yeah, and what a life that led to. I joined the band on backing vocals, and that eventually became a duo. Him and me. I played keyboards even though I had no musical training. He put coloured tape and numbers on the keys for each song. We went around the world; Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Italy.”

“Smashing.”

Linda nodded.

“It was in Morocco when I noticed something strange, though. Rod always went out for a drink late at night. Sometimes he didn’t come back till the early hours but he rarely seemed drunk.”

“Not necessarily a bad thing …”

“Yeah, so I started to get a little paranoid. Suspicious. One night in Morocco, I followed him. He walked and walked and eventually ended up in a small dark, bar. He sat with a big, sweaty guy in a stained, white, lined suit. Very creepy looking . I saw Rod move up close to the guy, whispering in his ear. I was about to barge in when I saw Rod lean even closer and the businessman slump into a heap on the floor.”

Henderson stopped cleaning the pint glass in his hand.

“Then, Rod walked out of the bar a blank expression on his face. He put a gun in his jean’s waist band and walked straight past me.”

“So, what did you do?”

“I did nothing. Said nothing. Didn’t know what to say. I was in shock or something. A few months later we returned to the England and went to a bank. Rod opened up safety deposit boxes full of more cash than I’d ever seen. We put on money belts stuffed with hundred dollar bills.”

“Wow!”

“Yep. Headed off to Switzerland and put it in a bank account there.”

“And did you ever confront him?”

“Eventually. But I knew the score by then. I’d guessed. It was clear that Rod was a hit man. An international assassin for hire. The musician thing was perfect cover.”

“Yeah, perfect,” said Henderson, a little nervous now.

“Anyway, things slowed down a little and then …When we were in Africa, The Gambia, well, Rod died of Malaria.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“I buried him there. Went back to his home town for a memorial. Returned to Michigan for a while.”

“So, did you give up the music?”

“Yes. I never had any talent for that side of the business. But I carried on Rod’s other work.”

Linda dug a hand into her handbag and pulled out a gun.

Henderson turned pale and dropped the glass, which shattered on the floor.

“A goodbye from Big Howie,” she said and fired.

Henderson stumbled and fell. A single bullet in his forehead.

The man with the walking stick sat up.

“You know, I’ve always wanted to invest in a bar,” said Rod. He tapped his stick on the stool.

“You’ve invested in far too many as it is!” said Linda, as they walked, arm in arm, out into the mid-day sun.

(c) Paul D Brazill

Included in the anthology Near2TheKnuckle presents Gloves Off: The First Anthology

Short, Sharp Interview: Lee Matthew Goldberg

Slow Down cover-2PDB: What’s going on now?

My debut novel Slow Down was just published by New Pulp Press. I’m enjoying the response I’m getting and trying to spread the word.

PDB: How did you research this book?

Slow Down takes place in Manhattan. This is my hometown so a lot of the research came from remembering what it’s like to be young and in my 20s here.

 PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

Definitely most proud of Slow Down, but I’ve also written a lot of short stories that were published in The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, and Essays & Fictions.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

Film: Wall Street, Book: The Great Gatsby or any F. Scott Fitzgerald, Song: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen, TV: Twin Peaks

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

Very important. When the weather is nice I write in Central Park. I have a particular tree that I like to write under, since it gives me the perfect amount of shade.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

My book just went live so I’ve been checking it a lot, but I imagine I’ll get better at limiting myself to once a day.

PDB: What’s next?

I’m finishing a trilogy about an evil corporation called The Desire Card, which promises: “Any wish fulfilled…for the right price.” I’m also working on a TV pilot that’s a dark drama and a Sci-Fi script with a writing partner. I like to keep busy.

LMG Portrait Urban Doorway B&W copyBio: Lee Matthew Goldberg graduated with an MFA from the New School.  He is a regular contributor to The Montreal Review and The Adirondack Review. His fiction has also appeared in Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, Orion headless, Verdad Magazine, BlazeVOX, and on Amazon. He has is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Fiction Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). His debut novel SLOW DOWN is a neo-noir thriller published by New Pulp Press. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG

How I Wrote … Guns Of Brixton!

GOB paperbackWell, you know what they say: ‘When a one armed man chops down a tree in the forest, a butterfly claps’. No, really. The thing is, everything is connected, it really is. And Kevin Bacon is only six friends away from you, even though he isn’t on Facebook.

Anyway, it was a while back. I’d been writing flash fiction for about a year and I had this vague notion of writing something with interconnecting stories. One city. One night. You know the score.

I really liked this idea and I thought – even though everyone told me it was dead hard to do – that I’d give it a go.

So I did. Three or four stories interlocking in London on New Year’s Day. In a 1000 word flash fiction story. Yes, I know.

A pretty daft idea but, you see, Eric Beetner had just launched a Flash Fiction Challenge and I really wanted to enter my story, which was called The Big Blow after the Manu DiBango song.

Of course it didn’t win but I let it marinate and, from time to time, I added bits to it and took bits out until, after about a year, I had the scenario of two interconnecting stories. Simpler. But longer.

For some reason I’d set part of the story in Brixton which, of course, meant I was pretty much obliged to call the story Guns Of Brixton, after the classic song by The Clash. Mark Timlin’s novel Guns Of Brixton then came out via MaxCrime and I considered changing the title but in the end I didn’t.

When I’d decided to write a faux London gangster story, it seemed the sensible thing to take a title from a song by The Clash, that most London of all London bands – even though only one of them was actually born ‘dahn The Smoke.’

And I had plenty of cracking titles to choose from and reject, too – London Calling (been done to death),London’s Burning (reminded me of the TV show about firemen), Guns On The Roof ( a silly song about when The Clash were told off for shooting pigeons with an air rifle), Somebody Got Murdered (too obscure), The Last Gang In Town(close, close …) Police & Thieves (Maybe …)

But …

I’ve been to Brixton man, times. When I lived in London, I was more than somewhat partial to visiting the Brixton’s cracking cinema, the Ritzy Picturehouse- which, on screen, was the only place I ever saw any guns. Somehow the title had to be Guns Of Brixton, written and sung by the Clash’s coolest member, bass player Paul Simenon.

Not one of my favourite Clash songs, for sure, but there was something about the scary lyrics – ‘When they kick out your front door /How you gonna come?/With your hands on your head. Or on the trigger of your gun’- and cod reggae feel that seemed to suit a faux London gangster story down to the ground.

I was pretty pleased with the yarn, too. It was, at the time, the longest story that I’d written and it felt fairly grown up. Well, for me. And so I sent it to Crime Factory because, well, who doesn’t want to have a story in Crime Factory? And they said yes, too, and scheduled it for issue five. And I was chuffed.

Cut to few months later, before Crime Factory 5 had even seen the light of day. I was working in summer school in England and sharing a computer without a load of other people. I had a short time to check my emails and saw that I’d received an email from the legendary Maxim Jakubowski (coincidentally the publisher of MaxCrime, you see how things interconnect, eh? Told you!)

He asked me if I’d like to submit a story for the next edition of The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, which he was editing. I was chuffed again, wasn’t I?

So, I sent him a few stories but didn’t think I’d be accepted. This was, after all, a book that featured work from the top bananas of British crime writing. Colin Dexter was in the 2010 edition! However, only a few hours later, he emailed me back to say he’d take Guns Of Brixton. Yes, I know. This chuffed goes up to eleven.

And The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 8 has been out for a couple of years now. And I’m in there with Ian Rankin, Kate Atkinson, Paul Johnstone, Stuart MacBride, David Hewson,Allan Guthrie, Sheila Quigley, Nick Quantrill, Zoe Sharp, Nigel Bird and all sorts of classy types. And my name’s even on the back cover and I get mentioned in the introduction. No, really.

And guess what?

I let Guns Of Brixton marinate some more, too, and it has since developed into a novella, first published as an eBook by Byker Books, and now a longer version published as an eBook and in paperback by Caffeine Nights Publishing.

Well, you know what they say: ‘From little acorns a tree grows in Brooklyn.’ Or Brixton. Yes, I know.

You can GET GOB from from loads of places including Barnes & Noble, Caffeine Nights PublishingWHSMITH, Waterstones,Foyles Amazon and Amazon UK. 

The Last Laugh in All Due Respect Magazine

adr 5I was very pleased to have a story in the first issue of ALL DUE RESPECT MAGAZINE and am also pretty damned chuffed to have a new one The Last Laugh in the fifth  issue. Here’s the blurb: ADR‘s heads to the Bayou with an excerpt from Steve Weddle‘s upcoming novel Broken Prayer and an interview with the Needle editor. More of the mean, gritty crime fiction we’re known for from Keith Rawson, Paul D. Brazill, Angel Luis Colón, Garnett Elliott, Gabino Iglesias, and Joe Sinisi.

ADR 5 is out now!

Recommended Read: The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping by Les Edgerton

genuine imitation - lesIn The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping, a has-been baseball player with a gambling problem heads off to New Orleans and quickly embroils himself in a plethora of criminal activities. Gaudy characters, razor-sharp dialogue and violent black comedy quickly ensue.

Les Edgerton’s The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is a lethal cocktail of screwball comedy and gritty crime fiction. A belter.

Short, Sharp Interview: Marco Ferrarese

Nazi-GorengPDB: What’s going on now?

I’m finishing work on my second book, a non-fiction memoire of my involvement in the Malaysian and Indonesian metal and punk scenes. Besides these projects, I’m working slowly on my second novel and writing freelance for a plethora of travel and culture magazines, besides keep pushing on to submit my PhD dissertation in anthromusicology – a new field of studies, ahaha – within 2015.

PDB: How did you research this book?

I learnt about the “Malay Power” during my forays as a guitarist in the local music scene. One night in Taiping I saw this guy with a strange skull and crossbones patch which remembered me too much of the black skulls you see on Neo-Nazis’ jackets, and there you go. The research went nowhere, however, because this fringe of the Malaysian punk scene is not really committed to expose itself, to the contrary of what was portrayed in Vice Magazine (http://www.vice.com/read/the-malaysian-nazis-fighting-for-a-pure-race). Anyhow, this helped me find the perfect characters to embody the idea of stupidity, as I believe the Brown Power is the most ludicrous thing I came across the past few years. It was the cherry on top of the social horror pie I had observed the previous 3 years as a resident of Malaysia. In fact, below a very superficially harmonic society, Malaysia to the contrary hides an authority-defined racist society, and is the theatre of some of the weirdest crimes ever. For example, here African con-men manage to convince local women to swallow capsules filled with drugs and fly internationally in the “name of love”. Being exposed to this crazy multi-ethnic society gave me two options: pen all of my dissent down into written form, or just explode and leave the country. I chose the former, to my Malaysian Chinese partner’s delight.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

Well, being my debut novel, for certain Nazi Goreng. It became a local bestseller, and there are plans to translate it into the Malay language.

Ferrarese_portrait2 (2)PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

It’s hard to pick only one, but I’ll try to tell you what feels like the best as of today.

Film – “The House with the Laughing Windows”, 1976, by Pupi Avati

Book – “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner

Song – “Before the Kiss, A Redcap” by Blue Oyster Cult

Television Programme- sorry, I don’t watch TV.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

Yes, in the sense that I know one can’t write about places he never visited. I travel a lot, to the extent that some people call me a travel writer – that’s a part of my profession, in truth -, and I strongly believe that a writer cannot evoke a sense of place without getting it under his skin. In terms of location as a base for my writing, well, I produced most of my published work in Penang, Malaysia, and I guess the place keeps me under some magic artistic spell, indeed.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

To tell you the truth, never. I don’t even have an Amazon author page. If that’s important, I’m afraid I ride on a different kind of retro train. I used to check Nazi Goreng’s rankings, but being under the millionth, who cares, really? I prefer to write good pitches and make some money publishing magazine articles, rather than rely on Amazon to establish if my intravenous dripped royalties make any sense.

PDB: What’s next?

My new Insular Southeast Asia metal punk memoire, whose title I still keep confidential. It’s a first time recollection of how it was/is to be involved in a local Malaysian band as a sole white foreigner, travelling throughout Malaysia and Borneo to find the rock, and touring Indonesia. It will have a number of great pictures, and a CD compilation including more than 20 great Malaysian metal, punk, hardcore and skinhead bands. It’s a unique project that hopefully will bring some attention and shape to a music scene of the developing world which is very much alive, kicking, and not well documented as of yet.

Then, it will be time to complete my second novel, an apocalyptic backpacker psychotronic feminist story, which I aim to finish before the end of the year, other commitments permitting.

Bio: Marco Ferrarese has travelled extensively and lived in Italy, the United States, China, Australia and Malaysia. He started vagabonding as a punk rock guitarist with metal punk band The Nerds. Since 2009 he’s been based in Southeast Asia as a writer, hardcore punk musician and researcher.

He has written about travel, culture and extreme music in Asia for a variety of international publications such as Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, CNN Travel, Roads & Kingdoms, Perceptive Travel, Time Out, Bangkok101, Vagabonding, and Penang Monthly. He blogs here.

Marco’s first pulp novel Nazi Goreng (Monsoon Books, 2013) explores the underbelly of Malaysian international drug trade and displaced youth and is a bestseller in Malaysia. Ferrarese’s short stories were featured in anthologies KL Noir 2 and Lost in Putrajaya, both published by FIXI in 2014.

Recommended Reads: Brighton Rock by Graham Greene / Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth

weirdo“Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him” From its brilliant opening line, Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (1938) grabs you by the throat and almost strangles you with its intensity. The lives of fanatstically rich characters, such as big hearted Ida Arnold who is investigating Hale’s murder and Pinkie, the psychotic young gangster, intertwine in a gripping novel that is well-deserved of its classic status.

The seaside town of Brighton itself is also one of the book’s strongest characters, as the glitz and grit collide.

Cathi Unsworth‘s marvelously atmospheric Weirdo (2012) also takes place in an English seaside town, the fictitious Ernemouth. Again two sides of the town are contrasted with bright lights hiding dark and dirty corners. A private detective investigates a 20 year old murder and unearths some nasty secrets. Weirdo cleverly takes place in two time periods (2003 and 1983), is populated with great charters and has a vividly, strong sense of time and place.

Some Tidy Reviews For A Case Of Noir

a case of BeckOver the last few weeks, A Case Of Noir has nabbed some some very tidy reviews over at Amazon.

Mark Hammonds says: ‘Brazill writes like Sid James chortles’.

Bluebell says: ‘This book is so well-written, sharp, intelligent and intriguing.’

A.W. Shaw says: ‘Populated by misfits and mischief this is a gritty, witty masterpiece.’

Nice!

Check ‘em out!