In the 1978 TV series OUT, poker-faced Tom Bell plays Frank Ross, a gangster who is sent to prison for robbery after someone grasses him up. Eight years later, Ross leaves the slammer and is confronted with a London that has changed and people that have changed.
Instead of stitching back together his relationships, however, Frank is focused on tracking down whoever stitched him up. OUT – written by the late Trevor Preston – is great, gritty stuff and it’s a real period piece too- no mobile phones!
There are some great performances, particularly from Bell and Brian Cox as the psychopathic gangster McGrath, but there are loads of top turns from the likes of John Junkin, Victoria Fairbrother, and Peter Blake.
There’s also a very cool credit sequence with a cracking George Fenton theme tune.
And you can watch OUT for nowt on You Tube, if you’re that way inclined.
Over at his Dirty Books blog, Tom Leins, the grittiest of all Brit Grit writers, says:
‘The rumpled, world-weary triggerman – with a long memory, and an even longer list of health complaints – is a perfect conduit for Brazill’s quirky storytelling style, and the story itself (think Get Carter played for laughs) allows him to play to his strengths. For an expatriate writer, Brazill’s knack for writing about small town English grotesques is pretty damned impressive, and unlike the hapless Bennett, this book is slim and spritely!’
Read the rest of the review HERE!
Over at Amazon.co.uk, Mark Hewitt says:
And Graham says:
‘Raymond Chandler advised struggling writers, “When in doubt…have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand” and the story would work itself out. I’d say the Brazill corollary is, ‘When in doubt have a man head to a pub.’ While many of his characters try to reform their ways both bibulous and violent, these hard-bitten by life folk generally find they picked the wrong week to give up their vices.
Or is the WC Fields rule? Never give a sucker an even break — and even the most well-intentioned characters here find themselves driven to desperate acts of violence. Most of them don’t have good intentions though: they’ve got axes to grind and long-nursed resentments to avenge and it’s no surprised to find everything going pear-shaped like life had been formed in a pear-shaped mold.
And it’s all hilarious, brutally so. These are not genteel stories. They’re laugh out loud, bitter wincing fun. If you have a black heart and even blacker humour. Some quotes because Mr B is eminently quotable with a boatload of absurdities, musical swipes and clever allusions:
Yeah, and I used to like Benny Liens. He used to be my best mate. My mucker. My partner in crime. Until he screwed my missus, that is. I sharp went off him then, I can tell you. Which is why I killed the fucker.
They used to say he had more tarts than Mr Kipling. He looked as rough as toast now, though. Hair like straw, face like a blackcurrant crumble, wearing a shabby grey shell–suit. The booze and the divorces had certainly taken their toll on George.
“I met him on a Monday and although my heart didn’t stand still, per say, it certainly skipped a beat or two, I can tell you,” said Martyna.
In the beginning was the sound. The light came later. The sound was a horrifying wail that skewered its way deep into my unconscious brain, until I awoke, drowning in sweat, my heart smashing through my ribcage, my head about to burst.
Truth be told, my most vivid and powerful memories of childhood were always in black and white. The monochrome serials that were shown at the Saturday morning Kidz Klub at the local Odeon cinema, and the Hollywood films on afternoon television, when I was throwing a sickie from school. It all seemed so much more vibrant than anything that real life could come up with. As you would expect of someone who grew up living more fully in his imagination than in the day–to–day, adulthood proved to be a series of disappointments and non–events.
“Hope is the real opium of the masses, Peter.”
I could go on and quote the whole damn book, but just buy it for yourself already. Five stars, shining accolades, Ladybird cover, the Kingsley Amis hungover prose award etc etc. Do yourself a favour.’
Over at Amazon.co.uk, Mark Hammonds says:
‘Mr Brazill has honed his craft in this collection of tales, some old, some new, to that of the short, sharp, smart uppercut. Rapid reversals of fortune have always been his stock in trade, but here they’ll give you whiplash. The trademark roguery is there and the one-liners come rattling at you as always, but mixed in is some real concentrated dark stuff.
His characters inhabit a morally polluted world and they know it. Life is one long, strange trip to a dodgy pub, slathered in rancid glamour and vomit, where it’s alway close to last orders. From the conniving to the exhausted, from the straight-up malevolent to the merely lost and bemused, they may whine and grizzle about their fates, but can only sigh and shrug it off, expecting no better. All that separates the one from the other are the temporary, flickering dispensations of luck.
Occasionally, you might see one or two attempt to live a better life. Their resolutions, count on it, are stillborn. And you smile. Not in this world, kid. Failure is all, and everyone falls sooner or later (spoiler alert: sooner), though some are falling and laughing. Without exception it all goes tilt, game over, and Charon’s yer man. And to forget this, they drink. And drink until it kills them, which is usually slowly.
Yet Brazill stitches these tales together with verve and glee, with so many tickles and bitchslaps that you go from story to story like a kid with Smarties, woofing them down til they’re gone and all you wish is that there were more. As the old punchline goes, it’s a treat, its a treat. And it is. Buy it, read it, tell your friends.’
Dickens obsessive Mr. Madden is a spy whose mission is to infiltrate the right wing group England Awake!
He is also a serial killer known as The Chavkiller who is out to revenge his dead wife.
Dread: The Art Of Serial Killing by Mark Ramsden is violent, gripping, clever, touching and very, very funny.
The wordplay is witty and the structure is remarkably inventive.
Cultural references abound – high-brow, low-brow -and any book that mentions both Tony Hancock and Frankie Howerd is fine by me.
Noir Con‘s online journal –Retreats From Oblivion– have published a slice of my Brit Grit called No One Is Innocent.
‘Marjorie shuffled through the door to the snug and switched on the lights. She pressed a button and the dusty Wurlitzer jukebox burst to life. Jane Morgan belted out ‘The Day The Rains Came.’ In French.‘
‘Last Year’s Man is British Noir the Queen herself would be proud of. The flavor, the atmosphere, the sense of it all feels like it came from that side of the Pond. It’s a fairly short novel like old pulps used to be. But, the writing is so tightly strung that Brazill manages to convey a lot more in a few words or sentences than others might in chapters. Sardonic humor certainly lightens a story about an aging hitman returning to his roots, but the magic here is in the banter, the dialogue, the phrases.’
Over at Pulp Pusher, I talk to the Tartan Noir kingpin about Last Year’s Man and gangster films.
‘We haven’t had a Q&A at Pulp Pusher for quite some time. So, I thought we should so something about that.
Lawrence Odd is a psychopath with a long history of committing violent crimes and he is more than happy to be recruited as an assassin by the Cleansing Department – a particularly shady branch of the British Secret Service. All goes swimmingly until Lawrence discovers the Cleansing Department’s darkest secret.
Jack D. McLean‘s witty, quirky thriller Confessions Of An English Psychopath is fast moving, funny, violent and a hell of a lot of fun.
Imagine a lethal cocktail of The Ipcress File, The Prisoner, Monty Python, and A Confederacy Of Dunces, and you’re halfway there.
PDB: What’s going on?
So much! This new release has me chasing my tail, what with having to contact copious amounts of editors for local magazines and newspapers, bloggers, reviewers and anyone else with a dark, dingy corner on the internet willing to advertise it on their website. I’m also knee-deep in interviews. Combined, it’s taking up my days, and it’s forced me to put the writing on hold for the time being, which isn’t a bad thing as I’m getting plenty of reading done. Something I’ve neglecting of late.
PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?
It depends if I’m in the zone or not. If I’m going great guns, I’ll tend to stick some music on. If I’m struggling, I prefer silence, so I can concentrate. More often than not, I have music playing. But never, ever when I’m reading – that would drive me bonkers.
PDB: What makes you laugh?
King of Queens, Laurel and Hardy, Only Fools and Horses, Bottom, TheInbetweeners, One Foot in the Grave, Carry On and anything dark, crude or lewd. It’s how I roll, man. King of Queens is definitely my ‘go to’ show. If I’m down, in need of cheering or stuck for something to watch, any series of that show is the first thing I reach for. It calms me.
Surplus amounts of tea and a full English breakfast. Is there a better cure?! If there is, I’ve not heard about it. Also, I’ll have a cheeky ‘hair of the dog’, too. Shh!
PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere near a beach, fairground and amusement arcade.
PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?
I don’t have a bucket list but if I did, getting my arse to the States before I die would be at the top with a bullet! I have daydreams of tearing down Route 66 in an American muscle car. Who doesn’t, I suppose. I’d also like to see the Great Wall of China and visit a strip club. I think the latter’s fairly doable, what do you think?
PDB: What’s on the cards?
A sequel to South by Southwest Wales, that’s for sure. I plan to start writing Any Which Way but South Wales in the coming weeks. For now, it’s the only project I have planned, bar a few short stories I may write for anthology calls, etc.
PDB: Anything else?
Not off the top of my head. Thanks for the awesome interview.
Bio: David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly instil in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…He’s had multiple short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine, and Horror Geeks Magazine. He’s the author of the popular novels “Walled In” (2014), “Wind-Up Toy” (2016), “Man-Eating Fucks” (2016), and “The Rack & Cue” (2017), “South By Southwest Wales, along with his short story collections “White Walls and Straitjackets” (2015) and “Choice Cuts” (2015). He’s also written three novellas – “Granville” (2016), “Wind-Up Toy: Broken Plaything & Chaos Rising” (2016).
His Amazon author page is here.
His website is here.
He’s on Twitter here.