Category Archives: Crime Fiction

Top Telly: Out

OUTIn 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.

ITW Roundtable discussion July 23-29

itw_logo_members_wbI’m over at The Big Thrill taking part in the ITW Roundtable discussion July 23- 29:

“How do you choose your character’s names?”

‘With ThrillerFest firmly in our rearview mirror and our writing bucket full of inspiration, we turn to ITW Members Alan JacobsonDani PettryPatrick OsterJay BrandonRobert J. StavaPaul D. BrazillKim AlexanderSarah SimpsonWilliam BoyleDavid Orange and Lisa Black as they discuss how they choose their character’s names.’

Check it out and JOIN IN!

Recommended Read: The Day That Never Comes by Caimh McDonnell

The Day That Never ComesEx-police detective Bunny McGarry is missing and his friend –  would-be private detective Paul Mulchrone – sets off to track him down. Meanwhile, a terrorist group appears to be killing Dublin’s fat cat property developers.  These and other story strands are soon entagled in Caimh McDonnell’s The Day That Never Comes – the second part of his four part ‘Dublin Trilogy.’ And like McDonnell’s debut novel – A Man With One Of Those Faces –  it is a cracking blend of  quick humour and fast-paced crime thriller. The Day That Never Comes is choc-full of great characters and sharp satire, and is marvelous fun.

Recommended Read: Confessions Of An English Psychopath by Jack D McLean

confessionsLawrence 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.

A belter!

Short, Sharp Interview: David Owain Hughes

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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.      

 

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

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 Walesthat’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.  

 

received_10213192081906758PDB: 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.

 

Jack D McLean Reviews Last Year’s Man

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Crime thriller writer Jack D McClean (aka Jack Strange) reviews LAST YEAR’S MAN over at his blog and says:

‘I’m a big fan of Paul Brazill’s use of prose. His books have other virtues, of course, beyond his writing style, but the fact that he’s a prose stylist deserves special mention. On almost every page of Last Year’s Man, and sometimes, it seems, in almost every paragraph, there’s a line you want to read out loud to a friend.’

Read the rest here. 

Last Year’s Man is OUT NOW!

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Buy the trade paperback from the Down & Out Bookstore and receive a FREE digital download of the book!

Also available from the following retailers …
Print: Amazon — Barnes & Noble — IndieBound
eBook: Kindle — Nook — iTunes — Kobo — Play

Synopsis … A troubled, ageing hit man leaves London and returns to his hometown in the north east of England hoping for peace. But the ghosts of his past return to haunt him.

Last Year’s Man is a violent and blackly comic slice of Brit Grit noir.

Praise for LAST YEAR’S MAN:

“It’s all here, everything you’ve come to expect from a Paul D. Brazill caper—the fast pace, the witty banter, the grim humour and the classic tunes—except this time he’s REALLY outdone himself. Unlike the lament in the song the title takes its name from, Paul’s best years are surely still ahead of him.” —Paul Heatley, author of Fatboy

“Paul D. Brazill is the Crown Prince of Noir. That’s my opinion, granted, but I stand by it. For those who require proof, just pick up his latest novel, Last Year’s Man, and it will be clear why I make that statement. All hail the crown prince!” —Les Edgerton, author of The RapistThe BitchJust Like That and others

“Brazill is brilliant, a unique voice which stands out from the crowd.” —Keith Nixon, author of the Solomon Gray books

Short, Sharp Interview: John Bowie

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PDB: What’s going on?

 

JB: Reading, drinking, being a silly father, reading more, being a trying husband, and… drinking more. Oh, and scribbling and writing — for my sanity and madness; all in perfect balance. Teetering on life’s beautiful edge that’s fueled by all the pre-mentioned that put me there in the first place.

 

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

 

JB: I’ve had a permanent soundtrack running in my head as long as I remember.

 

Some tracks are constant; however I do get pests for the day: Russ Abbott’s – ‘Atmosphere’, R Kelly – ‘I believe I Can Fly’, or for some weird-ass reason Richard Blackwood’s – ‘1234 Getin’ with a wicked’ – You’re all welcome by the way!

 

The constants have accompanied me down the aisle, both in my head and literally played at the time (‘I Wanna Be Adored’ – The Stone Roses). And before taking a leap, needing strength; balls out (‘Force of Nature’ – Oasis). I blame Rhys Ifans and the film ‘Love Honour and Obey’ for this.

 

Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ is my creative comfort blanket or on-hold music. It’s where my head goes when I block everything else out. This will come clear in my next book: Transference. All four in the coming tetralogy have intentional, multi-layered, single title Joy Division type titles like this.

 

PDB: What makes you laugh?

 

JB: Often it’s the things that shouldn’t that do. And the things that should… just don’t.

 

I frequently don’t realise my reaction and my wife picks me up on it. I often can’t explain the cause of a smile, giggle or involuntary snort that I didn’t realise I was doing, because when I think about it it’s often just plain wrong, absurd or weird. I write some of these down and into stories to distance myself in a way – disowning the filth, dark, weird and absurd. Until next time.

 

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

 

JB: Holy-fuck-a-saurus – the Holy Grail – if only!!!

 

An antidote to that pig that ‘shat in our heads’… ‘a bastard behind the eyes’. Sorry, shameless ‘Withnail & I’ Quotes. I was so surprised to learn the best acted drunk (Withnail) was played by a non-drinker (Richard E. Grant). Maybe that’s a clue to the answer though – don’t touch it! Or, if you do, don’t stop and ‘go all the way’ (Bukowski).

 

I have studied this matter in some detail though and as the years pass the hangovers intensify, and with it so does the need for a cure. So, I’ll share what I’ve gathered so far:

 

Pre-age 20: the ‘hangover’ doesn’t exist.

Early 20s: a Marlboro and a shit is enough to keep going on (after a midday rise).

Late 20s: a strong coffee, Marlboro and shit (after an early afternoon rise).

Early 30s: cider… ‘ice in the cider’.

Late 30s: cider with ice again. But now a nap is required before yet more cider – cycle is to be repeated as required.

Now: milk thistle (600mg min), N.A.C (N-Acetyl-Cysteine 600mg), vitamin C (500mg min) before starting first drink and another dose repeated before the last drink and bed.

In the future: I’m pretty sure a full-on transfusion, drip and head transplant is going to be required mixed with most of the above.

 

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

 

JB: I’ve been lucky; travelled and visited a lot of places. Pulau Tiga, Pangkor Laut, Gozo, Krakow, Cambodia, Vietnam all stick in the memory. Manchester, Porlock Weir, Edinburgh, Dublin and Newcastle are in my blood, heart and soul though —  Bristol seems to be a smorgasbord of all them — I love it. I’ve discovered I need to be near the water or I feel wrong (and not in a good way). Maybe a Viking thing…

 

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

 

JB: No, I don’t.

 

I did drink a bucket (maybe 2,3,4…) in Cambodia after visiting Angkor Wat and the Killing Fields. Also fired a colt .45 as an ex Khmer Rouge soldier let the safety off his own pistol as he held a ‘reassuring’ hand on my shoulder. Later that night, after the buckets, we found ourselves in a Cambodian club. Westerners weren’t allowed on the dance floor all at once so we had to take it in turns. Between the rehearsed local Karaoke, dancers, troops, public announcements and fashion parades –  I got up alone and the stony-faced locals circled, with another armed guard watching on at my bucket fueled cross between ‘the robot’, Rab C. Nesbit and Ian Curtis.

 

I ticked a lot off what I could’ve put on a bucket list that trip, and on others since.

 

The thing is… If I had written a list, it wouldn’t have kept up with what was going on. Life’s a bit like that. Convince yourself to aim for sweet and you could miss the pleasure of the sour. And your taste changes anyway the more, or less, you do.

 

PDB: What’s on the cards?

 

JB: Researching and writing the second in the Black Viking P.I. series: Transference. It’s set in Manchester so I’m revisiting it physically and, in the head, to test if it matches memory: the smell, sights… the sounds of it all — I’m savouring it! It’s nice to revisit the idea of the Hacienda again too. It and Factory Records were so fundamental to my creative journey then and now. The next books could be a homage to the city and them —  doubt it’ll feel like that to read though.

 

PDB: Anything else?

 

JB: I’m currently pondering my first person, present tense style with jumps to the past to give context. Is it in-fact poetic, lyrical, immediate and … right? Or, is it restrictive and switching some readers off… and are they maybe the ones that should be?

 

Wait…

 

‘Another?’

‘Yes.’

‘… with ice?’

Bye x

John BowieBio: John Bowie grew up on the coast in rural Northumberland, a region steeped with a history of battles, Vikings, wars and struggles. These tales and myths fascinated him as a child, and then as an adult. In the mid to late nineties he studied in Salford enjoying the bands, music, clubs and general urban industrial-ness of Greater Manchester, including the club scene and the infamous Hacienda. He was also there when the IRA bomb went off in 1996.

A Film For Friday: Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbreds_(2017_film)From Wiki:

‘Thoroughbreds is a 2017 American black comedy thriller film[4] written and directed by Cory Finley, in his directorial debut. It stars Olivia CookeAnya Taylor-JoyAnton YelchinPaul Sparks and Francie Swift. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2017, and was released on March 9, 2018, by Focus Features and Universal Pictures.

The plot follows a high-school student, Lily (Taylor-Joy), and her sociopathic friend Amanda (Cooke) as they scheme to kill Lily’s stepfather, Mark (Sparks), via contract with a drug dealer (Yelchin). The film received positive reviews, holding an 86% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, and a weighted average score of 76 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating “generally favorable reviews.’

 

Recommended Read: A Mint Condition Corpse by Duncan MacMaster

a mint condition corpseComic book artist, part-time sleuth and multi-millionare Kirby Baxter arrives at a Canadian comic book convention intending to catch up with old friends but he is very quickly caught up in a murder investigation.

Duncan MacMaster’s A Mint Condition Corpse is a joy. Fast-moving, funny and choc-full of great characters, observations and dialogue.

Highly recommended.