Category Archives: Caffeine Nights

Short, Sharp Interview: Mike Craven

PDB: Can you pitch YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK in 25 words or less?

Commander Sam Vimes ends up in his own past, trying to stop a revolution whilst keeping his twenty-one-year-old self safe at the same time.

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

Music: Powerslave by Iron Maiden, Long Live Punk by the Anti-Nowhere League, Complete Control by The Clash

Books: Anything by Michael Connelly, Carl Hiaasen, Chris Brookmyre, Terry Pratchett or Mick Herron.

Films: Michael Mann’s Heat.

Television shows: The West Wing, Breaking Bad.

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

Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb series. Extremely funny but they’re also very clever and relevant spy capers.

PDB: Can you tell me a joke?

What’s brown and sticky?

A stick.

PDB: Who are the great British writers?

Chris Brookmyre, Mick Herron, Terry Pratchett, Tom Sharpe, Arthur Conan Doyle.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I signed a two-book deal with Little, Brown in March this year. The first in the new Washington Poe series, The Puppet Show, is out in hardback next June.

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive . . .

The German rights have been sold and we’ve also been meeting with a major TV production company and hope to be making an announcement on that soon.

PDB: Anything else?

I’m 50 next year so this is a fair warning for people to start saving now I suppose . . .

Bio: Although he was born in Cumbria, Mike Craven grew up in the North East before running away to join the army as soon as he was sixteen. After training as an armourer for two and a half years (that’s an army gunsmith to you and I), he spent the next ten travelling the world having fun. In 1995 he left the army, and after a brief flirtation with close protection and bodyguarding, decided on a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. In 1999 he joined Cumbria Probation Service as a probation officer, working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later, he took the plunge and accepted redundancy to concentrate on writing full-time, and now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals.

Between leaving the army and securing his first publishing deal, Mike found time to keep a pet crocodile, breed snakes, get married, and buy a springer spaniel named Bracken. He lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne, where he tries to leave the house as little as possible. Mike is also one third of Crime Ink-Corporated, a trio of northern writers who take writing out to the community and host events such as England’s first ever Noir at the Bar.

Mike’s first DI Avison Fluke novel, Born in a Burial Gown (D. I. Avison Fluke), was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award. He is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, the International Thriller Writers’ Association and the Society of Authors.

mike craven

Dominic Milne Reviews Cold London Blues

CLB---3d-stack_d400Another cracking review for Cold London Blues.

Cold London Blues succeeds in being cynical, gory, hilarious and above all, highly entertaining. Actually burst out laughing on the tube reading this and that doesn’t happen often. Perfect pulp. More than well worth a look.’

Jason Beech Reviews Guns Of Brixton

GOBOver at his blog, ace crime writer JASON BEECH SAYS:

‘Guns of Brixton is a mutt, bred from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Pulp Fiction, The Sweeney, and the Carry On films. All of this could have been a mushy stew, but Brazill has such a way with words and structure that this is all its own thing. It’s funny, as his books always are, extremely silly, but utterly engaging.’

READ THE REST HERE!

Short, Sharp Interview: Graham Smith

the-kindred-killers-final-correctPDB: What’s going on?

As I write these answers, it’s the day before Bloody Scotland, which I’m attending, and five days before I launch the second Jake Boulder novel, The Kindred Killers.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

I generally have the TV on when I’m writing but I swap that for the wireless when editing.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

I’m a huge fan of clever wordplay and linguistic gymnastics. I rate the Marx Brothers films as the funniest of all time, closely followed by spoofs like Airplane or The Naked Gun.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

I wish I knew. Irn Bru and a bacon roll can do wonders though.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I’d say a Scottish village in a house which had panoramic views and a loch at the bottom of the garden.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

I’d like to see my son grow up to live a happy and fulfilling life and to see my books earn me enough money for me to become a full time writer.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’m about to start a novel which has been burning away at the back of my head for some months now and when that’s done, I have the fourth books in both the Jake Boulder and Harry Evans series to write.

PDB: Anything else?

6014e-graham2bsmithNothing really other than my grateful thanks for having me over.

Bio: Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one novel, WATCHING THE BODIES, in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder. The second Jake Boulder novel, THE KINDRED KILLERS, is released on the 12th of September 2017.

Nigel Bird reviews Cold London Blues

cold-london-blues (2)
Cold London Blues

Over at his blog, Nigel says:

‘Cold London Blues has an elongated title – Ealing Comedy meets Pulp Fiction and has a love child. I honestly think that says it better than I could by filling the page.

The humour is everywhere, from the scenes and situations to the crazy pun-filled dialogue. Laugh-a-minute is what it is. It’s also a good yarn.

The grit is also there aplenty. It’s a crime novel and a rather brutal one at that. What’s unusual is the way the violence is often so matter-of-fact. It comes at you when you least expect it and is handled with deadpan weight.

And the characters? You’ll not see the likes of these very often, not unless you pick up another Paul D Brazill. You’ll encounter one of the most unusual coppers in fiction as you read.

If you need your copy right now while you lie on a beach with the sun warming your skin, the kindle (US) version’s for you. If you can wait a little longer, then the paperback’s where the deal is – £2.84 ($1.89) brand new, which is just ridiculous.’

The Guns Of Brixton paperback is only £4.40, with FREE UK delivery.

GOB paperback

Pop over to Books etc and get it while it’s hot!

‘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 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.’

The paperback of Cold London Blues is currently on sale for £2.95!

 

Over at Amazon.co.uk

A killer priest is on the rampage across London and an egotistical Hollywood action movie star is out for revenge when is his precious comic book collection is stolen.Meanwhile, gangster Marty Cook’s dreams of going legit swiftly turn pear shaped when one of his bouncers accidentally kills one of his salsa club’s regular customers. Razor sharp wisecracks, gaudy characters and even gaudier situations abound in Cold London Blues, a violent and pitch-black Brit Grit comedy of errors.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

braz-calenderHere’s a clip from GUNS OF BRIXTON, which kicks off on New Year’s Day – as does COLD LONDON BLUES:

‘Oh, for fuck’s sake!’ said Richard Sanderson.

He was soaked in crimson and a sharp, knife-edged pain sliced through the back of his neck. He twisted himself upright, looking around for a horse’s head.

The bottle of red wine that he’d fallen asleep clutching like a Teddy Bear fell to the ground, spilling what remained of its contents across the fluffy white rug. He rubbed the back of his neck and stretched. He was feeling more than a little worse for wear – and kipping on the basement sofa hadn’t exactly helped his New Year’s Day hangover a great deal, either.

He picked up his red Gretsch guitar and put it back in its case, then propped it against a box of old twelve inch singles. Televisions’ ‘Marquee Moon’ – in green vinyl – was out of its sleeve and he slipped it back in and then carefully put it back into the box. Alphabetically.

He couldn’t remember playing the guitar at all. It wasn’t something he did that much, these days, but he could see blisters on his fingertips.

 Moving like an arthritic Robocop, Richard trudged up the stairs from his basement office to the living room. He went to the window and peeled back the blinds. Outside, the tree-lined suburban street was deserted.

After a few minutes, Richard heard the squeak of wheels and saw Batty Betty pushing her shopping trolley full of broken dolls toward the graffiti stained Ford Granada where she lived. In the distance, a constellation of streetlamps and a galaxy of Christmas decorations trailed Chiswick High Road and faded towards Hammersmith. He walked upstairs and into the migraine bright bathroom and turned the shower on as hot as possible.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

happy-new-year

CLIP: Cold London Blues by Paul D. Brazill

CLB---3d-stack_d400Cold London Blues (CLB) is a blackly comic slice of pulp fiction (or Punk Fiction, if you fancy!) published by indie publisher Caffeine Nights Publishing.  CLB is a follow up to my book Guns Of Brixton (GOB) – a violent gangster romp, a sweary Ealing Comedy. With GOB, I used the titles of Clash songs to – loosely!- frame the book.

Whereas GOB was a tad Mockney music hall in its approach, with CLB I wanted something more noir, more torch song, and so I used Vic Godard and Subway Sect songs in the same way. (I’d previously named a couple of characters after Vic. In my story The Last Laugh there’s a hit man known only as Godard and a bent copper called Vic Napper.)

The following scene features the murderous priest Father Tim Cook, who is going through a delayed mid-life crisis.  He and his friend Gregor are on a pub crawl which takes them to a smokey, pokey bar full of sinners known as Noola’s Saloon.

NOBODY’S SCARED

Noola’s Saloon was even more crowded than the pub they’d just left but that certainly didn’t deter Father Tim and Gregor, who had decided they were on a drinking mission. As they shuffled through the door, the Wurlitzer jukebox burst to life and Howling Wolf snarled out ‘I Ain’t Superstitious.’

The pub was dimly lit and smoky, despite the fact that no one was smoking. Gregor found a small table near a disused cigarette machine and Tim went to the bar. A dishevelled and unshaven old soak, who seemed to be dressed like a private eye from some old black and white film, nestled on a bar stool, calmly contemplating the glass of whisky that was in front of him. The ice cubes seemed to shimmer, glimmer and glow in the wan light.

He looked up at Tim.

‘Twilight time,’ he said, his hangdog expression never changing.

‘Isn’t it always,’ said Tim.

The old soak nodded and went back to staring at his drink.

Tim briefly turned his gaze outside. The wet pavement reflected Noola’s Saloon’s flickering neon sign. Headlights cut through the heavy rain. He unsteadily shuffled up and leaned on the bar, plonking the sleeve of his jacket in a puddle of spilt lager.

After a while, he caught the eye of the barman , a grumpy-looking bloke with a pock-marked face and inky black quiff. He slowly put down his copy of National Geographic and Tim made the two finger gesture for two pints, making sure his hand was facing the right way.

The antique Wurlitzer Jukebox was playing Mel Torme’s version of ‘Gloomy Sunday’. Tim had always been a big fan of The Velvet Fog but the cacophonous voice of a fat bald bloke in a corduroy jacket boomed over the lush sounds.

‘Well, I’m certainly not a fan of the popcorn trash that the multiplex inflict upon us but at least Christopher Nolan treats Batman with the gravitas he deserves,’ said the bald, fat man.

A tall, twitchy man who was looming over him, almost spat his half pint of Guinness over his Armani shirt.

‘Gravitas!?  It’s about a bloke who dresses up in a rubber bat suit to fight a baddy who dresses up like a clown. It’s not exactly Marcel bloody Proust, is it?’

‘Well some critics would argue that it’s a metaphor for …’

‘Critics! Jeez! Film critics! Have you ever been to the BFI?’

‘Of course. The recent Alain Resnais retrospective was …’

‘The British Film Institute is a very creepy place indeed, my friend. Creepy people, too. And the shite they spout. Like that crap about Dawn of The Dead being a satire of consumerism because the zombies go to a shopping centre. I mean, that’s one gag in the whole film! There’s also a scene where one of them gets decapitated by a helicopter blade. Is it a satire of air traffic control? Eh? I ask you?’

The bald man shuffled in his seat and wiped cappuccino froth from his top lip.

‘Well …’

Father Tim, picked up two pints of Kronenburg from the bar and resisted the temptation to give both of the blokes a slap.

‘Wankers like that are what put me off going out for a drink in the West End these days,’ he said as he put the drinks on the table.

‘The city is riddled with them these days,’ said Gregor. ‘They’re like the clap. Even worse than northerners.’

‘I was in that poncy over-priced sandwich shop before I came here,’ said Tim, unsteadily sitting down. ‘Away in a Manger or whatever it’s called. Anyway, they were playing Nick Drake. ‘Fruit Tree’ to be precise.’

‘I like Nick Drake,’ said Gregor.

‘Now, don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of Nick myself but there were a couple of media wankers in there talking about his mum’s LP’

‘Whose mum?’

‘Nick Drake’s. Some sad bastard has put out a few songs she record in the olden days.’

‘Any good?’

‘Dunno. Never heard it. Anyway, these twats in the sandwich shop started prattling on about how Drake and his mother’s music was ‘quintessentially English’. I mean what the fuck’s that all about? Quintessentially posh sissy boy with a quintessentially stuck-up mother, I’ll give you that. Quintessentially poncy. It’s all that John Betjeman, cricket on the village green, Downtown Abbey, Latin quoting detective cobblers that they punt to the Septics because, well, Yanks are thick. And it has nothing to do with the life of a hairdresser from Wolverhampton or a bingo caller from Hull or the vast majority of English people. You know what I’m saying?’

‘Poshness. Poshnessabounds,’ slurred Gregor, sinking even lower in his seat. ‘This country is crippled by its class system.’

‘Exactly. Switch on the telly and it’s all Sherlock poncy Holmes or Dr poncy Who. This is the bullshit we have to put up with. Oxbridge twots and Oxbridge wannabees.’

‘We need another class war, that is what we need,’ said Gregor. He spilt a splash of lager on his shirt as he slurped it.

‘I blame America for it … well, I blame America for everything …The United States Of America is a cancer. A poisonous virus that has fatally infected its host,’ said Tim, reclining in the leather chair and waggling his outstretched fingers, trying to get the circulation back in them. He checked his reflection in the mirror. He wasn’t looking so good.

‘It’s like in those horror films, eh?’ he said. ‘They say you shouldn’t make your home on an Indian burial ground but when you think about it, the whole of the United States is a bleedin Indian burial ground. Think about it.’

Grab COLD LONDON BLUES here, if you’re that way inclined.

London Fings

gob‘Once our beer was frothy  but now its frothy coffee…’ – Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be by Lionel Bart

In 1959, the great Lionel Bart turned Frank Norman’s London set play ‘Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be’ into a musical comedy about ‘low-life characters in the 1950s, including spivs, prostitutes, teddy-boys and corrupt policemen’. This was a time of great change in post-war London – what with the ‘birth of the teenager’ and the Swinging Sixties looming on the horizon – and not everyone copes well with change, of course.

London is changing again, too, though not necessarily for the better.  Online, I see a litany of news stories about classic cinemas being converted into apartments for the super-rich and the destruction Tin Pan Alley – the home of British rock n roll. Indeed, the Soho of Bar Italia, Ronnie Scott’s, Norman and Jeff in The Coach and Horses, or Francis Bacon and Derek Raymond in The French House seems long dead or dying.

Ironically, the 50s coffee bars so disparaged in ‘Fings’ are now lamented as they are replaced with over-priced, homogenised sandwich bars and ‘frothy coffee’ seems decidedly risqué.

My books Guns Of Brixton, Cold London Blues, and A Rainy Night In Soho are violently comic tales of London low-life, occasionally rubbing shoulder with the high-life.  All three books focus on the Cook family – ageing London gangsters who aren’t adapting to change too well. All they have left is the shitty weather.

Here’s a clip from COLD LONDON BLUES :

‘Father Tim … looked out across the London skyline. The inky-black night had melted into a grubby-grey January morning. The city was waking now and the windows of the other granite tower blocks outside were starting to light up.

CLB---3d-stack_d400A cold wind, as sharp as a razor blade, sliced through him and Father Tim fastened his leather biker’s jacket as tightly as possible. Dark, malignant clouds crawled ominously across the sky.

‘Pissin’ miserable weather,’ he muttered to himself. ‘Pissin’ miserable country.’

He took a crushed packet of Marlborough cigarettes from the back pocket of his Levis, fished inside with shaking fingers.

On the opposite balcony, a tall man with long black hair took breadcrumbs from a plastic bag and threw them in the air. Black birds darted down from telephone lines where they had been lined up like notes on sheet music. The birds flew towards the tall man, landing on his balcony and sometimes on him. His raucous, joyous laughter brought an unfamiliar smile to Father Tim’s face.

On the street below, he could see a branch of a small general dealer with a bright green logo above the door, as well as an old bicycle factory that had recently been converted into a Wetherspoons pub, and a stretch of hip bars, including Noola’s Saloon, its green neon sign flickering intermittently.

The street bustled with the drunken debris of the previous night’s New Year’s Eve parties. The still-pissed and the newly hungover mingled.  A massive skinhead in a leopard skin coat walked up to Noola’s Saloon and pressed a door bell. The door opened emitting a screech of escaping metallic music as he slipped inside. Iggy and The Stooges’ ‘Search and Destroy.’ A sense of longing enveloped Father Tim. A feeling of time passing like grains of sand through his fingers.

Father Tim felt his rheumatism bite as he inhaled his first cigarette of the day. His chest felt heavy. If ever there was time to get the hell out of London it was probably now. The quack had told him to piss off to Spain, or somewhere as sunny, for a bit, for his health’s sake. It wasn’t a bad idea, either. He could even stay at his sister-in-law’s gaff in Andalucía if he wanted. But he knew he wouldn’t stay away for long. London was in his bones. His blood. His lungs. For better or for worse.’

(This post first appeared at Tess Makovesky’s blog.)

London Fings At Tess Makovesky’s Gaff

CLB poster

Over at Tess Makovesky‘s blog, she has a regular spot where writers talk about their book’s setting.

I’m over there this week talking about London:

‘In 1959, the great Lionel Bart turned Frank Norman’s London set play ‘Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be’ into a musical comedy about ‘low-life characters in the 1950s, including spivs, prostitutes, teddy-boys and corrupt policemen’. This was a time of great change in post-war London – what with the ‘birth of the teenager’ and the Swinging Sixties looming on the horizon – and not everyone copes well with change, of course.’

Read the rest here at WHERE THE HECK WEDNESDAY 

Pat McDonald reviews Guns Of Brixton

gob
GOB

Over at Amazon.co.uk . crime fiction author Pat McDonald says:

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and entertaining read

If you never read another book after, you must read this one. Another ‘laugh out loud’ view of the under life of London, shows that Paul Brazill has many talents – his characterisation is unimpeachable and they combine with a talent for choosing names, together with their descriptions left me continually laughing at this book. His turn of phrase and timing produces yet again one of the funniest books I’ve read next to Cold London Blues. “….he could talk a glass eye to sleep”……made me snort with laughter, as did numerous other one liners. The books are linked by the mention of a brief case in Cold London Blues and the search for it in Guns of Brixton – it is the illusive and mysterious stainless steel brief case, a legend in its own time and the holy grail of the criminal world – it reputedly contains something to blow the lid of national security! But only a few know what it really is.’

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!

Mark Hammonds Reviews Cold London Blues.

cold london blues mar hammondsOver at Amazon.co.uk, Mark Hammonds says:

‘The latest romp into the dark world of PD Brazill, Satan’s very own PG Wodehouse. It’s the capitol this time (the title is a giveaway) rather than the mean streets of Seatown. But if it’s grim up North, it’s grimmer down South, all arse-end and underside. Father Tim is the black soutaned sheep of the Cook clan, whose devotion to holy orders consists solely in the odd Latin pun as he offs the flock one by one. He’s no maniac: it’s a job of work and he dispenses it with a shrug and a sigh. He’s back adrift in his home town, slouching through a litany of small disasters in the dark places between the first swig and the shakes. There’s a plot somewhere among the choppy set pieces, but what the hell. Just give it up for the characters and the dialogue. Be-Bop DeLuca, Turban Ted, Tarquin Farrago, Baghead Berry, Squeaky Thompson, Toffy’s Offy… and a tool-bag filled to busting with lines you wish you’d come out with. And you will. Treat yourself.’