‘Paul D. Brazill’s world here is one of peroxide Berliner blondes wearing PVC raincoats with blood red lipstick smeared across their lips. Barbarous gangsters and shyster scam artists, drunken literary agents and pop producers shelter in cities ruined by war and Vodka, drenched by decadence, spent of hope, driven by desire.’
‘ The bookshop was jam-packed and stuffy. The wine and conversation were overflowing in equal measure. Keith Jarrett’s ‘Standards’ played numbly in the background as a veritable cornucopia of crime fiction writers of various levels of success held court in different parts of the room, shuffling nervously behind tables cluttered with copies of their latest pot-boiler. Their faces were frozen into rictus grins.
‘Bullets in the Bookshop’ was an annual event. An international meeting of writers and crime fiction groupies organised by Blackstones’s Bookshop in Cambridge, an archetypically quaint English bookshop on an archetypically quaint cobble-stoned English street, not far from King’s College. The non-writers were in the majority, of course. Most of them were spinsterly types of both sexes enthusing over Nordic Noir— whatever that was. Then there were also a few academics slumming it — one particularly dandruff speckled gent with the complexion of a blackcurrant crumble was talking loudly and authoritatively about crime fiction as a social novel and receiving a number of approving nods. And, of course, a few wannabee crime writers were there, too, trying to look mean and moody — all leather jackets, stubble and gently sneering. I even recognised a couple of the faces from the Quais Du Polar crime fiction festival in Lyon that I’d attended in the Spring.
Not that I was a connoisseur of crime fiction. I rarely read fiction at all, in fact. I’d attended the Quais Du Polar in order to meet up with Lena K, the torch singer turned bestselling crime writer who was also my partner in several unlawful activities. And I also had an ulterior and particularly criminal motive for being in Blackstone’s. A meeting with the man who was holding court at that moment.
Julian Stroud stood behind the largest table in the room and clearly thought a lot of himself. He was tall, handsome man in his mid-fifties and painfully well dressed. A pair of half-moon spectacles hung around his neck and he had the look of someone who had just smelt one of his own farts and found it surprisingly rank.
‘Why kill time when you can kill other people,’ said Stroud, the shadow of a smirk creeping and crawling across his too-tanned face. ‘Although, only on paper, of course, eh?’’
‘In snow smothered Warsaw, Luke Case, a boozy English hack with a dark secret, starts a dangerous affair with a gangster’s wife. Case escapes to the sweltering Spanish heat where he meets a colourful cast of characters, including a mysterious torch singer and a former East End villain with a criminal business proposition. In stormy Toulouse, he encounters a blast from the past that is positively seismic which forces him to return to England and confront his past. A Case Of Noir is a strong shot of blackly comic international noir from Paul D. Brazill.’
In Noir City, Richard Godwin unflinchingly and masterfully digs beneath the surface of London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Dusseldorf, and the cities’ recalcitrant denizens, as he follows the trail of sociopath gigolo Paris Tongue deeper and deeper into the darkness.
Beautiful prose and a claustrophobic sense of dread make Richard Godwin’s Noir City a lyrical hybrid of noir,erotica,crime fiction and psychological drama worthy of Hitchcock or Argento.
We chat about his new novel, Noir City, book translations and more!
In snow smothered Warsaw, Luke Case, a boozy English hack with a dark secret, starts a dangerous affair with a gangster’s wife. Case escapes to the sweltering Spanish heat where he meets a colourful cast of characters, including a mysterious torch singer and a former East End villain with a criminal business proposition. While in stormy Toulouse, he encounters a blast from the past that is positively seismic which forces him to return to England and confront his past.
A Case Of Noir is a strong shot of international noir from Paul D. Brazill. Bio: Paul D. Brazill was born in England and lives in Poland. He is the author of Guns Of Brixton (Caffeine Nights Publishing). His writing has been translated into Italian, Polish and Slovene. He had had stories published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 8, 10 and 11 – alongside the likes of Lee Child, Ian Rankin and Neil Gaiman. He also edited the best-selling anthology True Brit Grit, along with Luca Veste, He contributes to Pulp Metal Magazine and has a regular column – Brit Grit Alley – at Out Of The Gutter Online. He is a member of International Thriller Writers Inc. You can usually him on Twitter and Facebook.
Here’s the skinny:
Luke Case is back!
In stormy Toulouse, Luke encounters a blast from the past that is positively seismic. The Luke Case series is as noir as you would expect from International Thriller Writer’s member Paul D. Brazill.
I have a Quick Fire interview with Richard Godwin over at The Slaughterhouse.
Death On A Hot Afternoon: Madrid. After the brutal events in Red Esperanto, Luke Case escapes Warsaw and heads off to the heat of Madrid where he meets a mysterious torch singer and an aging journalist with a violent past.
The Kelly Affair: Granada. The third chapter of Luke Case‘s wanderings around Europe takes him to Granada where he interviews a former East End villain and his own murky past starts to crawl out of the woodwork.
I’m more than somewhat chuffed to announce that my Warsaw set noir story Red Esperanto (which was translated into Italian as Rosso Esperanto) has been chosen for inclusion next year’s Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, number 11 in the series.
This will be my third appearance in one of the Mammoth’s – Guns Of Brixton is in 8 and Who Killed Skippy? is in 10 – so a big thanks to Maxim Jakubowski for including the story and to Desideria Marchi and everyone else at Atlantis/ Lite editions for publishing it in the first place.
Red Esperanto is part of a seralised novel set in various European cities. The following chapters have been published so far: Red Esperanto, Death On A Hot Afternoon and The Kelly Affair, all published by Atlantis (Also available translated into Italian.)
The next chapter-The Big Rain– is set in Toulouse and is out now.
PDB: Could you tell us something about One Lost Summer?
One Lost Summer is very much a summer novel; it is also in many ways a Noir novel. Rex Allen loves star quality in women. He moves into a new house in a heat wave with few possessions apart from two photographs of his dead daughter. His next door neighbour, beautiful Evangeline Glass invites him over to one of her many summer parties, where he meets her friends and possessive husband Harry. Rex feels he knows Evangeline intimately. He starts to spy on her and becomes convinced she is someone other than who she pretends to be. When he discovers she has a lover, he blackmails her into playing a game of identity that ends in disaster.
One Lost Summer is a novel about obsession, love, memory and identity, and much more. It explores the things that make us feel we have an identity and what happens when those things are removed from us, as well as the extent to which we can know anyone, even ourselves. It also about how much we understand the irrational impulses that drive us.
Rex Allen, the protagonist, might say it is about what happens when you forget. Evangeline, his beautiful next door neighbour, might say it is about being trapped and the things you do to escape. Coral, the character around whom much of the drama revolves, might say it is about reality and how easy it is to manipulate it. Harry, Evangeline’s husband, might say it is about lies and liars.
PDB: Do you think One Lost Summer is specifically a ‘London’ novel, or could it be set in any city?
I think the events it describes could take place in any city or suburbia, since the themes that are central to the novel, identity, the nature of reality, the extent to which we can know anyone, obsession, voyeurism, and loss, are universal themes. I think One Lost Summer is a London novel because I have set it within the lifestyles of an affluent set of people living in Greater London.
PDB: One of the themes of the novel is people seeing what they think they see rather than what they actually see. Do you think self-deception is a common human trait?
I do. I believe it is extremely hard for people to see themselves. One of the things I look at closely is how much we know anyone. TS Eliot wrote ‘humankind cannot bear very much reality’.
I don’t think writing about a subject makes you akin to it. Writers watch and observe, voyeurism is a pathology that is linked to a compulsion to spy on others.
PDB: There are quite a few broken and dysfunctional rich people in One Lost Summer. Do you think the rich are condemned to be damaged?
I think damage exists at all levels of life. I think wealth can make people targets, I also think damage among the wealthy may have a dramatic element because they grant themselves licences other people may not.
PDB: What’s up next?
I’m off to the States for a book tour for One Lost Summer. Alexandra, the largest publisher in Hungary will, after some delay, be publishing Apostle Rising, my first novel, in Hungarian this December. I have signed a foreign rights contract with Artizan Press in Slovenia for Apostle Rising to be translated into Slovenian. I am writing the sequel.
I have just finished writing a Noir novel for Italian publisher, Atlantis. It will be published at the beginning of next year in both English and Italian. It is about a nomadic Gigolo called Paris Tongue who is the bastard child of a murderer and who gets on the wrong side of the Mafia when he sleeps with a Mafia boss’s wife. He is then hunted across Europe by hit men as he seduces his way from country to country, learning some strange facts along the way.
Paris Tongue is already featured in two novellas I have written for the publisher under their imprint Lite Editions, and The Secret Hour, in which he is introduced and The Edge Of Desire, the sequel, are available as E Books.
Bio: Richard Godwin is the critically acclaimed author of novels Apostle Rising,Mr.Glamour and One Lost Summer. He is a crime and horror writer as well as a produced playwright. He was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King’s College London. His stories have been published in many magazines and anthologies. He has 29 distinct works in print.
His Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse are highly popular and unusual interviews he conducts with other authors and may be found at his blog
The LITE EDITIONS ENGLISH QUESTIONNAIRE is here.
They interview that Richard Godwin too.
Well, both of the noir novelettes that I wrote for the Italian publisher Atlantis are now available from Amazon. In English and Italian.
I’ve recently finished a third story in the series. This is set in the Spanish city of Granada and should be published sometime in April.
The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 10 is NOW available for purchase.
The latest in Maxim Jakubowski’s anthology series includes stories from Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Tony Black, Richard Godwin, Col Bury, Paul Johnstone, Nick Quantrill, Steve Mosby, Ian Ayris and me, amongst others. My story, Who Killed Skippy? was first published in issue one of Noir Nation.
The eighth edition of The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime also includes a yarn from me called Guns Of Brixton– which was first published in CrimeFactory.
And sometime in March or early April, Pulp Metal Fiction will be publishing another novella, called The Gumshoe. ‘Dostoevsky meets Tony Hancock.’
And I’ve a few more irons in the fire too. It’s all happening!
My most recent novelette, Death On A Hot Afternoon, has now been translated into Italian by those smart folk at Atlantis.
Morte A Madrid has a spanking new cover, tailored made for the Italian market, and you can get it here along with Rosso Esperanto and the English versions.
Or from Amazon.