THE LIBERATOR is on sale again.
A priest tracks down his kidnapped sister and finds her trapped in a nest of evil.
Van Helsing meets The Punisher in The Liberator, a hard-boiled noir/ horror short story from Paul D. Brazill creator of Roman Dalton – Werewolf PI.
Here’s what he says: ‘The Gumshoe And Other Brit Yarns are like a line of literary tequila slammers giving you a moment of a thrill, lined with a touch of salt (each one prompts a mouth-tingling buzz then makes you splutter with laughter!)’
Read the rest of the review here.
‘In the neon-soaked, blood-spattered hell-hole they call The City, Roman Dalton struggles to fight the forces of darkness, even when he becomes a creature of the night. Werewolves, vampires, zombies: they’re all just amateurs when it come to the real menace who haunts the streets. Let Brazill take you on a grim dark journey to hell and back. Bring lots of whisky: it’s a rough ride.’ K A Laity, author of White Rabbit. Get the eBook from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk etc. Or get the paperback here.
Graham Wynd takes a look at THE NEON MOON: A ROMAN DALTON ANTHOLOGY.
‘Another fistful of fun from Blackwitch Press. A bunch of terrific writers run away with Paul D. Brazill‘s werewolf detective Roman Dalton and the dark madness of The City.‘
Nigel Bird takes a gander at GUNS OF BRIXTON.
‘the observations are sharp and the characters create small nuclear explosions as they collide with each other.’
The sound was a horrifying wail that skewered its way deep into my unconscious brain until I awoke sharply – drowning in sweat, my heart smashing through my ribcage, my head about to burst.
Some twat, somewhere, was playing a U2 song over and over again, and all was far from friggin quiet on New Year’s Day, I can tell you.
I squeezed my eyes open and squinted until I saw the familiar sight of a fraying Mott The Hoople poster peeling from fuzzy, red-flock wallpaper. I was lying on a brown tweed sofa and tangled up in a tartan blanket that had seen better days. And nights.
I was home.
The air in the room was warm and soupy and I felt a wave of nausea pass over me. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and counted to ten. The dry heaves kicked in around six. A beat. I peeled my eyes open again. The aquarium bubbled and gurgled, bathing the room in a sickly green light. Sickly and yet soothing. I reminded myself that I really had to put some tropical fish in there, one day.
I edged onto my side and awkwardly kicked the blanket to the floor. I was fully clothed. My armpits were soaking. My fake Armani shirt was soggy. A sickly smell permeated my pores. The least said about my trousers the better.
Beside me was a sticky coffee table that was cluttered with the remnants of the previous night’s drinking. I picked up an open can of Stella Artois and shook it. It was more than half full. A result, then.
I slowly sipped its warm, flat contents until I started to get a glow on, like one of the kids in the old porridge adverts. Booze: central heating for drunks.
Bonzo, The Ledge, and their musically illiterate pals continued to strangle a cat in the flat next door and I knew that I was going to have to make a move soon, before my head went all Scanners. I finished the lager, edged myself up to a sitting position and picked up my glasses from the coffee table. One of the lenses was scratched but they weren’t broken. Another result.
The blinking, digital clock-radio that was plonked on top of the television set said that it was 3.15 but then, these days, it always did. Ever since I’d thrown it against the wall during a particularly grating late night phone-in show. In the real dark night of the soul, there was always some twat talking bollocks at three o’clock in the morning.
I’m tidying up Blackwitch Press at the moment and have put together a collection that includes The Gumshoe and a few other waifs and strays. The older books ‘Gumshoe’ and ‘Snapshots’ are no longer available although there are a few paperbacks floating around, it seems.
The Gumshoe, and Other Brit Grit Yarns is a collection of gritty, violent and blackly comic short stories and flash fiction from Paul D. Brazill, author of Guns Of Brixton.
The Beginning Of The End.
Life On Mars?
Thicker Than Blood
Seven Minutes To Midnight
Catch As Catch Can
The Hit Man & Her
The Sharpest Tools In The Box
Gareth And Fiona Go Abroad
A Big Payoff
Killing Mr Cornflakes
In The (Reservoir) Dog House
Over at Crimepieces, Sarah Ward says:
‘Collecting the stories around an overarching theme was an excellent idea for this book. It gave the collection a homogenous feel but allowed the writers to express their individual styles within the narratives. The stories are fairly short but many are powerful. And it’s allowed me to discover new writers I can’t wait to read more of.’
Read the rest here.
Some stuff to spend your Xmas dosh on.
My comic crime caper Guns Of Brixton (published by Caffeine Nights Publishing) is out NOW as a paperback and as an eBook. You can get it from from loads of places including Barnes & Noble, Caffeine Nights Publishing, WHSMITH, Waterstones, Foyles, Amazon and Amazon UK.
A foul-mouthed, violently comic crime caper, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to shave with
When London gangster Mad Tony Cook gives aging thugs Big Jim and Kenny Rogan the simple task of collecting a briefcase from northern courier Half-Pint Harry he doesn’t suspect that the courier will end up dead in his lock-up, or that Kenny and Big Jim will then dress up in drag to rob a jeweler’s shop and lose the coveted briefcase. A fast-moving, wild, and hilarious search for the missing briefcase quickly ensues, with fatal consequences.
Published by Lite Editions. 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 international noir from Paul D. Brazill.
Exiles is a collection of 26 short stories, all featuring the common theme of ‘outsiders’. Dedicated to Jeff Luke and Colin Graham. All proceeds go to the Marfan Foundation, in aid of people suffering from Marfan syndrome. Contributors: Heath Lowrance, Colin Graham, 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. Published by Blackwitch Press.
Back In 2012 I had the real pleasure of being at special guest at Crime Fiction – Here and There, Now and Then, an academic conference at the University Of Gdansk which was organised by Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish, M.A. and Urszula Elias, M.A. The Academic Advisor was Prof. David Malcolm, who has a story in Exiles: An Outsider Anthology.
Being an academic conference, a lot of it was way over my head but it was a very interesting and fun experience to be sure.
And they’ve done it again. I’ll be a guest along with K A Laity, Dr Rachel Franks and others:
11-13 September 2014
2nd International Postgraduate Conference
Department of English Language Cultures and Literatures, English Institute, Faculty of Languages of the University of Gdańsk
and the State School of Higher Professional Education in Elbląg
Call for Papers [DOC] [PDF] – CLOSED
Registration – CLOSED
Find out more about the conferences and the people involved here.
And check out the Facebook page.
I’m trying to remember where this story came from. I know the title came first, but not really because before that came William Blake and the Red Dragon, but before that came Springsteen and songs of escape, but even before that came cars.
I grew up in a factory town where automobiles were the trade. Most of my extended family worked for the auto industry in one way or another. The reality of the auto industry hasn’t matched the promise of its sleek machines for some time; the ruins of it still smoulder in the hometown I left long ago. But romance of the open road has fueled the dream of freedom for as long as I can remember.
I still feel it when I hit the highway. I spent so long afraid I would never escape that the sight of a road stretched out before me buoys my spirit in an instant. I’ll probably never completely get over the whisper that cajoles, ‘You could go anywhere, disappear, start again.’
My old red Honda makes an appearance in this story. Sixteen years I had that car, hundreds of thousands of miles I put on it. Living in the UK, I’m reminded again and again how people here have no concept of the size of the US: How the whole of this country could fit into just one of the medium-sized states. How you can still drive for hours without seeing another human being in some places, though it’s getting more difficult all the time. How states are as different as the countries of the EU, different worlds.
There’s an anonymity that all exiles know you can find in the darkened places where people drink and eat. Diners and pubs allow a certain camaraderie between strangers: brief, congenial, but definitely limited. But it’s good. Sometimes you have to be where nobody knows your name.
When you’re there in the dark corner, sipping your drink, look around. Under the brim of that hat may hide the eye of something extraordinary. Monster, magic, murder—maybe it depends on what you’re looking for. William Blake saw angels in his back garden as a child. Some people think that’s strange. Others long to find that magic. We read books for the same reason we take journeys: to see something new, to shake off the dust of the known and maybe, just maybe—to find the home that waits for us out there like a dream we can almost remember.
Bio: K. A. Laity is the award-winning author of White Rabbit, A Cut-Throat Business, Lush Situation, Owl Stretching, Unquiet Dreams, À la Mort Subite, The Claddagh Icon, Chastity Flame, Pelzmantel and Other Medieval Tales of Magic and Unikirja, as well as editor of Weird Noir, Noir Carnival and the forthcoming Drag Noir. With cartoonist Elena Steier she created the occult detective comic Jane Quiet. Her bibliography is chock full of short stories, humor pieces, plays and essays, both scholarly and popular. She spent the 2011-2012 academic year in Galway, Ireland where she was a Fulbright Fellow in digital humanities at NUIG. Dr. Laity has written on popular culture and social media for Ms., The Spectator and BitchBuzz, and teaches medieval literature, film, gender studies, New Media and popular culture at the College of Saint Rose. She divides her time between upstate New York and Dundee.
Exiles: An Outsider Anthology is included in the crime StoryBundle.
The latest StoryBundle is curated by Paul O’Brien.
The International Crime Bundle features 9 crime titles for a price you set.
We’ve got novels from some of the best crime writers today, having picked up such awards as the Goldsboro ‘Last Laugh’ Award, Anthony, Macavity and Agatha Award, Spinetingler Book of Year, Pulp Pusher Book of the Year and a small matter of a Pulitzer-prize!
The full cast list is Vincent Zandri, Paul O’Brien, Arlene Hunt, Declan Burke, Jake Needham, Robert B. Lowe and, of course, me and the cast of Exiles: An Outsider Anthology.
The Djma el Fnaa is Marakech’s central square. By a linguistic quirk, its name can be translated as either ‘the Mosque of Nowhere / Nothing’ or ‘the Place / Assembly of the Dead’. It was too good a title not to use for a story, and several people have indeed beaten me to it in the 25 years since I thought of it, and done that. It’s a market place by day, but at night turns into a circus of a place, full of performers, storytellers, hustlers, vendors, snake bullies – they don’t charm them at all – musicians, dancers, pickpockets, some plying their trade only because of the tourists, and some just because they always have. As noted in my story, our guide book described it as ‘the most exciting place in all of Africa’, a ridiculous claim that I make a character address briefly, and somewhat flippantly.
My first wife and I spent five weeks in Morocco in July and August 1989. I’d been there about two weeks before I got to Marakech. I was used to the hustlers by then, which didn’t make them any less wearying. They didn’t want all your cash, just some. They weren’t bad people, just hungry, jobless – just bored, maybe. They weren’t begging; you couldn’t cut to the chase by paying them to go away. None of this stopped it being tedious, though, especially when you knew that you would extricate yourself from it only for it to start up again a few minutes later, a different bloke, same spiel.
A friend of mine had travelled in Morocco the previous year. He’d lost his rag with a hustler in some small town, told him to fuck off. After that, the man and his pals followed him around for the rest of his stay, saying, “You don’t say ‘fuck off’ in this town,” and making slit-your-throat gestures at him. They camped in his hotel lobby, occupied tables in every restaurant he went to. They said, “See you later, alligator,” each time he managed to get away, or when they had to go home for their tea. They were probably just having a laugh, labouring a point, or really had nothing else to do. When my friend gave up on that town, this entourage escorted him to the bus station. It was their last chance to slit his throat. Though he’d got used to it as a charade of sorts by then, a performance, he was glad to get on the bus. An old man boarded, shuffled and wheezed up the aisle and sat down, turned to my friend and grinned and said, “See you later, alligator,” not knowing it was a goodbye and not a greeting; it was just some stray English, offered in friendship. It only freaked my friend out a little, I think.
So I knew not to tell the hustlers to fuck off, even though I wanted to sometimes. I said I was not interested in making a financial contribution to their ventures, at that moment – maybe I’d bore them into going away. But Moroccans are polite and patient, mostly. (One man was the exception, aggressively accused my wife of acting like ‘a Jew’. “There’s a very good reason for that,” she informed him, somewhat dangerously, but her actual Jewishness was beside the point he was trying to make. He was a carpet seller, though, a breed apart.)
It sounds like I had a bad time in Morocco, but in fact I enjoyed most of my time there – you can’t spend five weeks anywhere and have every single moment be a joy. I’m reminded of a scene in Nicolas Roeg’s 1980 film Bad Timing: a couple in a fractious relationship are in the Djma el Fnaa, and the woman chides the man for his petty obsession over some aspect of their life together. “Look at where we are,” she reminds him. I’ll probably never go back to Morocco, so I’m glad I didn’t let anybody, even an anti-Jewish carpet seller, spoil it for me. Why am I talking about all this, then?
The answer is that a story isn’t made up of the nice things in life. I’m also not a travel writer, and any guide book can describe the brilliance of Morocco better than I can – just as a postcard seller can supply a better photo of its monuments than I’ll ever take. I’ve tried to reflect Marakech’s atmosphere in The Place of the Dead, but it’s not a story about Moroccans. Think of the crowded streets I show in my tale; most of the people in them were unaware of us, and if they were aware, they were leaving us alone. As per the brief of this anthology, the story is about foreigners, outsiders, and how they might behave out of their comfort zones.
The couple in my story is not based on me and my first wife, nor on any of the many people we met. A few of the incidents described happened, such as the frustrating, lengthy journey at the opening of the story, the conversations with hustlers, the sunglasses that attracted a pint-sized opportunist, the constant assumption that we’d want an English newspaper, and watching that exciting ending to the 1989 Tour de France, a race that is often done and dusted in its last few days, and like watching paint dry. They are all only background, though. None of them make a story. The heart of the story is the people in it, and how they conduct themselves when faced with certain choices, and how their lives will be affected by those choices, and by their actions and reactions.
You can see more of my short stories on my website, The Last Thing the Author Said. Laikonik Express is my first novel, published by Unthank Books, and is a comic look at friendship and a quest, a road novel on rails, a sober look at the world of post-1989 Europe through a shot glass full of vodka.