Recommended Read: Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark

marwick's reckoningMarwick is a broken man. Broken but not shattered. Marwick is a violent London gangster, an enforcer who has moved to Spain for a quieter life and who is eventually embroiled in drug smuggling, murder and more.

Published by Near To The Knuckle, Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark is fantastic. Like a Brit Grit Graham Greene it’s full of doomed romanticism, longing and shocking violence.

Beautifully, vividly  and powerfully written Marwick’s Reckoning is very highly recommended indeed.

Warren Stalley Reviews The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh paperbackOver at Amazon.co.uk, Warren Stalley gives my short story collection The Last Laugh  FIVE stars and says:

‘The Last Laugh by author Paul D Brazill brings together a variety of old and new stories in one darkly, gritty collection. Peppered with classic one liners and black gallows humour these are tales of international noir, Brit grit and bad luck blues. Existing fans will enjoy renewing the acquaintance of classic characters, scenes and stories. While new readers are in for a treat with marvellous stories such as “Route 66 & All That”, “Red Esperanto”, “The Weather Prophet” and the classic Seatown capers. Mr Brazill cleverly finds poetry, comedy and beauty in the grime, grit, filth and fury of the underworld. His literary tales stride across the continents in Doc Marten boots with a whiplash smile. Highly recommended to any crime fan looking for something special. Enjoy.’

Get Guns Of Brixton and Cold London Blues for less than a FIVER each (with FREE delivery).

CLB---3d-stack_d400Over at the BOOKS etc website, the paperback of COLD LONDON BLUES is currently on sale for £3.89, and the paperback of GUNS OF BRIXTON is on sale for £ 4.38.GOB paperback

So,  you can get the set for less than a tenner.

And it’s FREE delivery, if you live in the UK!

Can’t fall off!

Recommended Read:Dark Heart, Heavy Soul by Keith Nixon

dark-heart-heavy-soulKonstantin Boryakov is back!

In Dark Heart, Heavy Soul, the former KGB anti-hero is reluctantly dragged into taking part in a heist which soon spirals out of his control.

Keith Nixon’s Dark Heart, Heavy Soul is the best Konstantin Boryakov novel yet. Nixon smoothly blends high-octane thrills with gritty crime fiction. Dark Heart, Heavy Soul is packed full of tension, action, humour, great characters, sharp dialogue and a hell of a lot of warmth too.

An absolute belter!

Pat McDonald Reviews Cold London Blues

CLB---3d-stack_d400Over at Amazon.co.uk, author Pat McDonald says:

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest books I’ve read for some time, definitely a ‘laugh out loud’ read.

This is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. My initial thought and expectation was to read a dark, gritty look at London’s gang life, until I found myself laughing out loud. And what a refreshing style – at last!! – Here is someone who wants to tell it like they want to. The turn of phrase, the sometimes one liner’s had me in stitches. He describes someone’s aversion to heights: “He got vertigo wearing thick socks”. I did wonder if you had to be a certain age to appreciate all the references, but thought if anyone really needed to know there was always Google (my life line!)
The style of writing is so good you almost forgot what the plot was about whilst reading it. With a body at every turn, even the violent scenes were amusing to imagine. This would make an excellent film of The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels type, maybe Guy Richie should be offered it!
The characters names were brilliant, their descriptions, quirks and foibles excellently wrapped up in the style of this talented writer. Read it and weep with laughter.
Pat McDonald British Crime Author

Short, Sharp Interview: Frank Westworth

fifth-columnistSHORT, SHARP INTERVIEW: Frank Westworth, talking about his new quick thriller, Fifth Columnist

PDB: Can you pitch FIFTH COLUMNIST in 25 words or less?

FW:   Good guy, bad cop, mistaken identities; good hooker, wannabee pimp, car chase with just the one car; sudden death and crawling from the wreckage.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows do you wish you had written?

FW: Music: Born Under A Bad Sign. Film: Prometheus. TV show? That’s a hard one. Probably True Detective the first season, but brilliance is so unapproachable.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make great films or TV series?

FW: FIRST CONTRACT would make an unusual film … and an even more unusual TV series. Shows a soldier doing what soldiers are paid to do, suffering the consequences, being fired and recruited on the same day, then doing more of the same illegally and getting paid by the government to do it.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

FW: James Crumley, James Church, James Lee Burke, Karin Fossum, Fred Vargas, Juli Zeh, Arnaldur Indriðason, RJ Ellory. In no order at all.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

FW: Two short stories set in the JJ Stoner sequence are wading through production hell; FIFTH COLUMNIST arrives imminently and SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP is being polished for an anthology. Final novel in the Killing Sister trilogy – THE REDEMPTION OF CHARM – is out in the Spring 2017 and the fourth in the trilogy is on its way through the writing process. I know, I know…

PDB: Anything else?

FW: Noir is never enough.

Bio: Frank Westworth shares several characteristics with his literary anti-hero, JJ Stoner: they both play mean blues guitar and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Unlike Stoner, Frank hasn’t deliberately killed anyone. Frank lives in Cornwall in the UK, with his guitars, motorcycles, partner and cat.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/killingsisters

Website: www.murdermayhemandmore.net

Blog: https://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/category/frankswrite/

Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Westworth/e/B001K89ITA/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/576653.Frank_Westworth

Frank’s new quick thriller, FIFTH COLUMNIST, is published on 14 September 2016. It features covert operative JJ Stoner, who uses sharp blades and blunt instruments to discreetly solve problems for the UK government. A bent copper is compromising national security and needs to be swiftly neutralised, but none of the evidence will stand up in court. That’s exactly why men like Stoner operate in the shadows, ready to terminate the target once an identity is confirmed…

Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01L5TEUEG/

Amazon US: www.amazon.com/dp/B01L5TEUEG/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/31699504-fifth-columnist

Sneak preview:

‘And there I was, thinking you were just a hired gun.’ She smiled. He did not.

‘You want a gun, ma’am, I’ll bring one. I need to know the situation before selecting the weapon.’ He cracked the smallest of smiles. ‘An RPG is hard to hide in a tux, ma’am. No matter how pleased I may be to see you.’

Recommended Read: The Deepening Shade by Jake Hinkson.

the-deepening-shadeAn alcoholic cop, a Jesus freak, a pregnant homeless teenager, a stripper, a cop in debt to a gangster, and the manager of a fast food joint who is in the wrong place at the wrong time are all  part of the rich and varied cast of characters in The Deepening Shade, Jake Hinkson’s superlative short story collection.

The writing is vivid, lyric and brutal. The stories are powerful and involving. The characters are human, all too human.

Every story in this collection is a gem but standouts for me were Makers And Coke, Night Terrors, The Serpent Box and Our Violence.

Very highly recommended.

#FRIDAY FLASH: ANGER MANAGEMENT

13 SHOTS OF NOIR BY PAUL D BRAZILLI used to get angry all the time. Especially when I was a teenager. The “difficult years,” doctors used to call it. As if there could ever be any other with a father like mine.

I’d see crimson, burn up like a volcano, rant, rave, spit, scream – the whole deal.

Sometimes I’d even black out and I’d fall through a trapdoor straight down into the deepest well. Darkness all around.

It was after one of those “episodes” that I came to with gigantic hands gripped around my throat, dangling me over the thirteenth-floor balcony of some grimy tower block somewhere in East London. No recollection of getting there.

So that was when I decided to channel my aggression. That’s when I joined The Squad.

First it was just the football; following the team to some hick northern town and screaming abuse at the bumpkins. But that was never enough. I knew there was more. I could smell it; taste it.

And then I met Tubeway, Slammer and Col. The Squad. They were a breakaway group from the mainstream hooligans. They called it “rucking and rolling.” Football hooliganism mixed with mugging. It made sense. This was the nineties and Cool Britannia had no place for the likes of us.

We were the dispossessed, according to Tubeway. He liked to use words like that; flaunt his vocabulary and GCSE in Philosophy. The same Tubeway who used to listen to Hitler’s speeches without understanding a word of German.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew that they were tossers – just looking for excuses for being violent. I didn’t need an excuse, though. I knew that I liked to inflict pain; I needed to hurt. It was just a matter of when and who.

Then they introduced me to Mr Bettis – or Sweaty Betty, as he was known behind his back. He was like a giant pink slug. Col said he looked like Jabba the Hutt. I just nodded. I didn’t know what he was talking about. I didn’t watch films. I didn’t read books – I could barely read – and I didn’t like music. What I liked was violence. Sweaty paid well. He told us to keep our noses clean. Become respectable. Invisible to the law. He’d contact us once a month with a name and a place. Maybe a picture. And we did what he asked. Sometimes we used Stanley knives. Or blowtorches. Or even guns.

I loved it. I was good. The best. I started to develop a sense of professional pride. I distanced myself from the others. They were a liability. Disasters waiting to happen, I thought. And I was right.

Tubeway had his neck broken by a transvestite in Clapham. Col died of a smack overdose in a piss-stained Wandsworth squat. And Slammer got locked up for life, which I found ironic once I’d learned that word at my adult literacy class.

Oh yes, I studied. Learned to read and write. Learned history – enough to put Tubeway in his place without batting an eyelid. I learned aikido and kung fu. I practiced yoga and I got married. And had kids.

I still worked for Sweaty but the jobs were few and far between; he only used me for the “prime cuts,” as he called them.

Everything seemed so right.

And then it all went pear-shaped as quick as spit disappears on hot pavement.

It’s been fifteen years since I joined The Squad and I suppose it’s taken its toll. I expect that I’m a tad jaded.

Which is why, I suppose, the sounds and the yells of the man strapped to the tree in front of me have no impact on me. Don’t even ruffle a feather.

The golf course is empty; it’s dusk and like in the film Alien – yes, I started watching films, too – no one can hear him scream.

Time to continue the interview.

***

It always rains in the dreams. Always. Pours down in sheets. But in reality it was a burning, brandy-brimmed, summer morning.

In the dreams, there are no kids, either. Just a sinister, grinning man who looks like my father, wearing a long black coat and carrying a carving knife.

And when I wake up, I feel released. Free. But then the cold light of day hits me between the eyes. Because there was no man in black. No pounding rain. Just two kids who got in the way of a hail of bullets. My own kids.

It all went black for a long time after that. Until I woke up drowning in sweat, booze, piss and tears. Stinking of shame, guilt and self-loathing.

And then it never went black again. It was an endless cold white.

I’ve heard it said that eighteen months of sleep deprivation can drive you crazy. Well, I was mad after that anyway.

So now there’s a dead man in front of me, dangling from a tree, in an exclusive golf course, in the fresh morning dew. A slug of a man who looks like Jabba the Hutt. And he’s given me the name of the man who ordered the hit. The hit that resulted in the death of my kids.

Oh, I know. It’s just an excuse. A way of avoiding culpability. Just a reason to inflict pain. A reason to hurt. And to kill. And to keep on killing.

The End.

(c) Paul D. Brazill.

( Anger Management is included in 13 Shots Of Noir. Published by Untreed Reads.)

Brit Grit & International Noir

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