Cutting edge suspense under extreme tension. Quick & dirty flash fiction and sharp & deadly crime fiction at your fingertips; featuring a motley crew of 13 usual suspects, and new blood. This is it: the first cut of Switchblade. No-limit crime culture springs to life at the hands of Paul D. Brazill, Preston Lang, Liam Sweeny, Steve Liskow, Jim Wilsky, Larry Kelter, William Dylan Powell, Susan Cornford, Travis Richardson, Jack Bates, Tom Leins, Fred Zackel, and Scotch Rutherford.
‘They’re coming fast and furious from Paul D. Brazill: it’s another cracking Near to the Knuckle novella from Mr B, the hardest working man in Brit Grit. This is #9 in the series and like the others a rip-snorter of mayhem and it’s got plenty of humour.
Big City Blues ranges across Europe and over to the colonies, or at least New York, which is a world of its own. Brazill always like a sprawling jumble of wild threads which he slowly knits together over the course of the unpredictable events and connections. Even his Seatown stories make the small burg feel complex. It’s not like wild coincidences either; it’s more like Six Degrees of Separation — or in this case, maybe only three degrees.
There’s a joyful abundance that teeters on the baroque: old cons, old cops, young geezers, unpredictable collisions of desire and convenience, and always sudden bone-crunching violence lurking around the next corner. Some of the jokes my grandfather would know but with a twist that makes them new again, and so many original observations that had me laughing out loud with surprise. And don’t tell anybody but hiding in between the laughs, the grimaces, the double crossing and the name dropping, you’ll find heart-searing observations about the walking wounded and some prose that will knock your socks off:
The night had draped itself over the city, and the moon bit into the sky. He stopped on the neon-soaked street to breathe in the sultry air. He could smell the lust, the sin and the decay.
A shard of sunlight sliced through the blinds, picking out specks of dust that floated in the air. An old electric kettle boiled in another room. A refrigerator hummed. A dishwasher chugged dully. A mangy black and white cat strolled across the newly polished bar before curling up on a wooden bar stool and going to sleep.’
British coppers, an American private eye, London gangsters, international spies, and a serial killer known as The Black Crow all collide violently and hilariously in Big City Blues, another fast-moving and funny slice of Brit Grit from Paul D. Brazill.
I’m flashing again at Spelk Fiction. Fiery Jack goes a little like this:
Jack walked across the pub carpark and found Sidney Round’s BMW. His bony hands shook as he took a petrol canister from his backpack. He closed his eyes and counted to ten. Tried to control his breathing. He was dripping with sweat. He emptied the canister’s contents over the car and then took out another petrol can.
The only sound in the squalid room was the relentless dripping, as if someone had neglected to turn the tap all the way round. Their breath filled the small space, too, but that was slowing, quieting. Dixon looked over at Burnett, worried by his lack of movement. He slumped on the pile of boxes on that side of the storeroom. ‘Hey, hey. You still alive, right?’
A cough, a gasp, then an oath. ‘Who were those guys?’
Over at SOLARCIDE I’m interviewed by NATHAN PETTIGREW and talk about TOO MANY CROOKS, London, boozing and more.
Pubs and alcohol are main characters in your work. When an idea for a story comes to you, does it already start in that setting? Are your characters already there having drinks when they are first conceived?
Ah. Well, as someone who has spent far too much of his life in pubs it seems a natural setting. It’s not a great stretch. Also, when people go to pubs they usually talk- or they did before WiFi Hotspots- and they usually talk rubbish, which can be pretty funny. I like to think I write absurdist fiction and most people in pubs are absurd or say something absurd at some part of the night.
TOM LIENS has a new feature at his blog where writers talk about their influences. I plump for TONY HANCOCK.
Tony Hancock – the easiest comedian for charades – and I share the same birthday, May 12th. Whether or not we share the same death day remains to be seen, of course, and let’s just hope we can put that little fact-finding mission on hold for a while, eh?
‘It was a Saturday night and The Cobble Bar was only slightly busier than it was midweek, which really wasn’t very. Indeed, if the place hadn’t been useful for the local criminal fraternity–money laundering, distribution of contraband and the like—it would have closed down years ago.
A big screen television was silently showing a 24-hour weather channel though no one seemed to be watching it. Status Quo’s ‘Paper Plane’ blasted out as I walked up to the bar and took off my raincoat.’