Jack Andrelli is a private eye but he is far from being a knight in tarnished, let alone shining, armour.
Andrelli is a booze-sodden, big-mouthed, gambling addict with a death wish, who is haunted by the suicide of his teenage girlfriend and in hock to a gangster, whose goons would be all to happy to shut Andrelli’s smart mouth for good.
And then he meets a femme fatale who offers him a case that he thinks will solve all of his problems once and for all.
J J De Ceglie’s Drawing Dead is a whirlpool that drags you down into a delirious take on a classic private eye story, as told through the bleary eyes of a half-mad barfly.
Smart, funny and completely addictive, Drawing Dead is like staggering into a booze and piss stinking alleyway for a knee trembler and a mugging all at the same time. Yes. it’s that good!
Check out the interview, and the rest of the site, here.
‘A fantastic set, enjoyable enough on their own but collectively the sum is much greater than the individual parts’
‘Brazill has a way with words and, yeah, he uses them here wisely. The character building is solid in all his books, the locations are real enough to touch and smell, and the humor is omnipresent. This man’s books are laugh-aloud hilarious simply because Brazill is a wickedly smart humorous writer who never misses a trick. Great stuff. Read it. Spread it. Enjoy the infection.’
PDB: What’s going on?
A new series of books out with Cologne based publisher Bastei Lubbe starting with Dig Two Graves on the 10th October. I’ve been signed for two more afterwards. The great thing is I get to work with the genius who’s Al Guthrie…
PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?
Nope, too distracting unfortunately. Though songs and lyrics sometimes generate ideas which I work on late.
PDB: What makes you laugh?
On social media – Martina Cole.
Elsewhere Peter Kay. The latest series of Car Share, particularly the monkey in the back of the car, was genius…
PDB: What’s the best cure for hangover?
I wish I knew! As I get older it takes less beer to get drunk and the hangovers increase proportionally. But possibly coffee, bacon sandwich (with brown sauce, please) and a Berocca.
PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Italy. Fabulous country, great people, great weather, great wine and food.
PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?
A few things – see the Northern Lights in Iceland, escape the earth’s atmosphere, own an Aston Martin, meet Ian Rankin, live to 100.
PDB: What’s on the cards?
Books two and three in the Gray series. Book two is in final edits (hopefully) and book three is taking shape…
PDB: Anything else?
Get the children grown up and through the front door…
Bio: Keith Nixon is a British born writer of crime and historical fiction novels. Originally he trained as a chemist, but Keith is now in a senior sales role for a high-tech business.
Keith currently lives with his family in the North West of England. His novels are published by Bastei Lubbe, Caffeine Nights and Gladius Press.
‘A bit of what we had in store………. coppers with a penchant for karaoke, criminal families, a Polish policewoman on secondment to the UK, a serial killer called Marjorie Razorblades, an American alcoholic and his irritated wife, prostitutes, death by knitting needle, death by baseball bat, dual settings of London and New York, with a bit of time in Cambridge and Madrid, a few jokes that were old when Noah was a boy, some hat-tips to some bands from yonder-year….Buzzcocks, Penetration, Magazine, The Fall. (Nostalgia rules.) And lots more beside.’
TRANSAKCJA – NICK SWEENEY (PRZEŁ. ALEKSANDRA GUZIK)
‘Witek Galicki nie mógł tego wieczoru nazwać sukcesem. Kobieta uśmiechnęła się w sposób, który można by wziąć za zachętę, ale Witek zsunął się z niej delikatnie i uniósł rękę w przepraszającym geście. Odwrócił się tyłem i przysiadł na brzegu łóżka. „Nieudana transakcja” pomyślał.’
Nolan Kennedy teaches English in Istanbul. One day, Kennedy, the son of an unsuccessful American Beat writer, accidentally finds out that Don Darius, his main boozing partner, has been secretly writing a novel – and a bloody good one it is, too. But Don has already upped sticks to Poland so Keenedy decides to track him down. Kennedy’s fool’s errand soon melts into Don Darius’ own romantic quest.
Nick Sweeney’s Laikonik Express is a marvelous novel that is full of warmth and charm. Although the young protagonists are a touch pretentious and overly earnest it’s still a pleasure to spend time in their company. The real strength of Laikonik Express, however, is its rich supporting cast of people and places. Highly recommended.
First of all, thank you Paul for inviting me to write about my upcoming novel.
Zero Avenue is a crime novel set to the cranking beat and amphetamine buzz of Vancouver’s early punk scene. The story follows Frankie del Rey who aspires to launch her music career and raise enough money to cut a demo record and take her band Waves of Nausea on the road. To make ends meet she mules drugs for a powerful dealer named Marty Sayles. Things are going well when she gets in a relationship with Johnny Falco, owner of a struggling club on the Downtown Eastside. That is, until Johnny decides to raid one of Marty Sayles’ pot fields. When he gets away with it, Frankie’s bass player finds out about it and figures that was easy enough and rips off another one of Marty Sayles’ fields. When he goes missing, Johnnie and Frankie try to find out what happened. Meanwhile Marty Sayles comes looking for who ripped him off the first time — a trail that leads straight to Johnny and Frankie.
I’m in the habit of listening to music while I write, playing what goes with what I’m working on. So, to get into this one I got my hands on as much of the early Vancouver punk sound as I could find: D.O.A, the Subhumans, Pointed Sticks, the Dishrags, Payolas, Braineaters, Young Canadians, the Modernettes, the Reactors. I added some Toronto bands from the era like the Viletones, the Demics, the Diodes, the Cardboard Brains, the Mods, and the Ugly; and Teenage Head and the Forgotten Rebels from Hamilton. And I rounded it out with bands from the U.S. like the Ramones and the Stooges. And there were the Clash and the Sex Pistols from the U.K., and lots more.
I wasn’t living in Vancouver during early those punk days, so listening to the music and talking to people who remembered the times helped to get the vibe right. And there are some great books on the subject that filled in a lot of the details: Guilty of Everything by John Armstrong, Perfect Youth by Sam Sutherland, I, Shithead and Talk-Action=Zero, both by Joe Keithley helped relive those times. And there was Bloodied but Unbowed, an awesome documentary by Susanne Tabata. It’s jam-packed with clips, music and tales from that first wave of Vancouver’s punk scene.
What drew me to using the punk scene as the setting was its edge and the us-against-them outlook, how that indie shake-it-up attitude threw a middle finger to the status quo. It made such a sharp contrast to what many considered a sleepy backwater town at the time. So, there was this natural tension that made the perfect setting for a crime novel. Also, I knew people growing up who were like some of the ones in the book, right down to a couple of guys who went to rob a pot field and had rock salt shot at them. And the late seventies were also a time before Google Earth, Google Maps and satellite imagery, back when pot fields were a lot easier to hide.
Visualizing the chapters like movie scenes as I write is how everything comes together in my head. And I tend to keep the chapters short and descriptions sparse, giving just enough detail for the reader to imagine what’s there so the pace can keep moving. For this novel, I started with a single scene where the male protagonist Johnny Falco goes to rip off a pot field. By the time I finished that scene, I had the idea for the next one, and so on. Then I came up with the female lead Frankie del Rey and the opening chapters just grew from there.
Ideas kept coming and the first draft took shape, giving me something that was better than anything I could have come up with if I sat down and outlined the whole story beforehand. Once I completed the draft, I went back and took out anything that wasn’t working, added in some new bits on the second pass — a real ‘seat of the pants’ approach, but it worked well for this story.
This is the first novel where I tried writing a female lead character, and at first I wasn’t sure I could pull it off, but once I got going I had fun writing Frankie’s lines.
To get any character right, the dialog has to sound unique and natural, like the words just flowed out. And as the characters developed, I kept my own principles and values out of it and just let them speak and be themselves. When it felt like I was just typing their words, then I knew I had it right. Generally, I like to let dialog do the heavy lifting. I love the scheming and the characters’ exchange of words, particularly when they say one thing and mean another, which sometimes reveals more about them than their actual words. And no matter how wrong or devious, I love when they show that sense of righteousness, that ‘they had it coming’ attitude.
Levity and the tension in any crime story create an interesting balance. While there’s nothing funny in the crimes themselves, sometimes it’s the characters’ cleverness or the lack of it, and sometimes it’s their desperation that leads to moments of dark humor. And I think there’s plenty of it in this story.
After Zero Avenue comes Poughkeepsie Shuffle which will be released in 2018. The story takes place in Toronto in the mid-eighties and centers on Jeff Nichols, a guy just released from the infamous Don Jail. He lands himself a job at a used-car lot and finds himself mixed up in a smuggling ring bringing guns in from Upstate New York. Jeff’s a guy who’s willing to break a few rules on the road to riches, living by the motto ‘why let the mistakes of the past get in the way of a good score in the future.’
Thanks again, Paul.
A powerful Noir short story collection edited by the Bukowski of Noir, Paul D. Brazill. Exiles features 26 outsiders-themed stories by some of the greatest crime and noir writers, K. A. Laity, Chris Rhatigan, Steven Porter, Patti Abbott, Ryan Sayles, Gareth Spark, Pamila Payne, Paul D. Brazill, Jason Michel, Carrie Clevenger, David Malcolm, Nick Sweeney, Sonia Kilvington, Rob Brunet, James A. Newman, Tess Makovesky, Chris Leek, McDroll, Renato Bratkovič, Walter Conley, Marietta Miles, Aidan Thorn, Benjamin Sobieck, Graham Wynd, Richard Godwin, Colin Graham, and an introduction by Heath Lowrance.