Category Archives: Crime Fiction

Short, Sharp Interview: Aidan Thorn

tales from the underbellyPDB: What’s going on?

Right now, it’s 3am and I’m wide awake because I’m in the USA and I’m shite at travelling and time differences. But I guess I should also tell you about the release of my new linked story collection, Tales from the Underbelly. It’s a sort of British Pulp Fiction, as a bunch of characters all in someway linked to a couple of crime bosses, Tony Ricco and Jimmy O’Keefe, go about their lives and have to deal with the consequences of being involved with the criminal underbelly. There are a stories of all different lengths here, from flash fiction to novella, hopefully there’s something for all lovers of crime fiction, murders, corruption, dodgy coppers, colourful characters and occasionally some humour.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

Always. Much of my writing is inspired by music, as the title of my first novella, When the Music’s Over suggests. I always used to have the radio on, BBC 6Music or Radio X, but I can’t stand the chat while I work. These days I tend to go with some sort of live performance on YouTube, I’ve been reliving a lot of MTv unplugged sets, things like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. My friend Stu has also got me back into the blues recently so I’ve been streaming a lot of blues mixes on YouTube too.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

When people full over. That’s horrible right? But I can’t help myself, when I see someone go down I’m uncontrollable. I blame Fools and Horses and that bar scene, I was taught by that, at a very early age, that falling over is funny

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

10 years ago I’d have said exercise. These days I’m good for nothing for a few days after a proper session, I just have to ride it out, sofa, sugary tea and a film I’ve seen a thousand times before

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

San Francisco, incredible place. There’s something for everyone there. That said I’d miss going to Southampton home matches.

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

No, I’m 37, I don’t think people my age do. But thinking about it now I’ve done many of the things that I guess would be on it, there are a few bands I haven’t seen I’d like to, but I’ve seen most of the ones I love. I want more tattoos, I want to get fitter again, I want to write more books, I want to see Southampton FC not just in a cup final but win one, I want to keep travelling to different places… So it’s more a continuation of things than a must do list

PDB: What’s on the cards? 

I haven’t written an original word in 2017, but I’ve still been working on the writing. On new years eve 2016 I typed ‘the end’ on my novella, Rival Sons (another music inspired title, inspired by the band of the same name). I’ve spent free moments this year editing and polishing that trying to get it ready for publication. I had my editor and publisher for When the Music’s Over, Chris Black, at Number 13 Press give it the once over and it’s looking good. I’ve knocked together a synopsis and pitched it around a few indie publishers and I’ll see what comes of it, I’ve had a couple of nibbles asking to see the full manuscript so you never know, but I ain’t holding my breath

PDB: Anything else?12814622_10154001046965850_1354014591552990923_n

No, I think I’ve taken up enough of your time, Paul. Thanks for the interview, always a pleasure dealing with you Mr Brazill

Bio: Aidan Thorn is from Southampton England. You can find his short fiction and poetry in numerous collections and widely across the Web. He has three books with his name on the cover and is the curator and editor of the charity anthology Paladins.

 

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Recommended Read: Tales From The Underbelly by Aidan Thorn

tales from the underbellyAidan Thorn’s Tales From The Underbelly is a collection of hard-hitting, interconnected crime stories, and is pure Brit Grit. The collection kicks off with a fistful of short, sharp jabs of flash fiction and ends with a couple of longer pieces which really show Thorn’s strengths.

A Sporting Chance is the story of a local football star who returns to his home town after a stint in the Premier League and has a fateful encounter with local gangster Tony Ricco. The final story, Worst Laid Plans, is a knockout punch telling the tale of a group of young lads whose lives soon spiral out of control after a night out. Worst Laid Plans is an absolute belter of a tale, full of dark humour, sharp twists and turns and great characters.

If you enjoyed Thorn’s cracking novella When the Music’s Over then you should most certainly grab a copy of Tales From The Underbelly.

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.

Recommended Read: Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon

Dig 2 GravesDetective Sergeant Solomon Grey is a wreck of a man, battered and bruised by personal tragedy.

When he investigates the apparent suicide of a sixteen-year-old boy, he is soon embroiled in something much more sinister.

Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon is a not only a cracking whodunnit, it is also a powerful and gripping crime thriller that twists and turns as tightly as a corkscrew.

Highly recommended.

Short, Sharp Interview: Matt Hilton

19601336_471413026540927_4071050112285606313_nPDB: Can you pitch YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK in 25 words or less?

Raised in an orphanage, trained as assassins by a surrogate father who first offers chocolate and later the bullets that could kill them. (Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell)

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

I’m a fan of old time Rock ’n’ Roll and Rockabilly music, and have actually penned some tunes myself, and being an author have written books, but would love to claim I’d written The Stand. Really would have loved to pen an episode of Banshee on TV, or (am I cheating here?) the movie adaptation of my book The Shadows Call (as it is so personal to me).

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

Ehm, The Shadows Call, or my Joe Hunter series? Seriously though, I’d like to see an adaptation of Robert E Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian that stays true to the original (I’ve enjoyed the movie incarnations to date, but they still haven’t fully caught the essence of the original stories for me), and would like to see them given a similar treatment to Game Of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings.

matt hiltonPDB: Can you tell me a joke?

(Scratches head trying to think of something clean and PC).

Q: What’s pink and wrinkly and hangs out Grandpa’s underpants?

A: Grandma on washing day.

PDB: Who are the great British writers?

I might be the wrong person to ask. I’m not well read in regards British authors. One day — I promise — I’ll read Arthur Conan Doyle.

 PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’ve got WORST FEAR, the fourth book in my series featuring Tess Grey and Nicolas ‘Po’ Villere, being published in September, and have just recently seen my twelfth Joe Hunter book, MARKED FOR DEATH, published. At present I’m working on a possible new series that mixes police procedural with the supernatural, and if a publisher picks it up will be my first published crime thriller set in my native UK.

PDB: Anything else?

 Joe Hunter will be back. Book 13 – Unlucky For Some.Guest Blogger: Matt Hilton - Genesis to Generation -or how characters are born

Bio: Matt Hilton is the author of the high-octane Joe Hunter thriller series, and the Tess Grey and Po Villere thrillers. His first book, ‘Dead Men’s Dust’, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Book of 2009 Award, and was a Sunday Times bestseller, also being named as a ‘thriller of the year 2009’ by The Daily Telegraph. Dead Men’s Dust was also a top ten Kindle bestseller in 2013 and 2016.

Matt has published novels in the supernatural/horror genre, namely ‘Preternatural’, ‘Dominion’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘The Shadows Call’.

His twelfth Joe Hunter novel, Marked For Death, was published July 2017, and his next Tess and Po novel, Worst Fear, is published September 2017.

Guest Blog: Three Hours Past Midnight by Tony Knighton

3 hours past midnightPaul has graciously invited me to post an essay about my latest work Three Hours Past Midnight, a novel from Crime Wave Press, set in my hometown, Philadelphia, Pa.  In the first few pages the narrator and his partner burglarize the home of a wealthy, jailed Philadelphia politician.  It features the un-named protagonist from an earlier story of mine, “Mister Wonderful.”

I typically have a framework in mind before I start to put words on a page, a beginning, middle and end.  “Mister Wonderful” began for me as a scene, a dilemma – a man coming to, strapped in the driver’s seat of a car that has come to rest upside down in a shallow, icy streambed.  He’s got a broken collarbone and he hears a siren go by on the roadway above him.  I worked out who he was and why he was there as that story progressed.  Afterward, I found myself still curious about him.  For a long time, also, I’d had a vague story idea about the burglary of a certain private home in Philadelphia, a mansion near Center City, that many here mistakenly think belongs to a real-life, notorious, long-time state senator.  I liked the idea of a crew breaking into the house and stealing something from him.  As the fiction writer Eryk Pruitt says, some people in this world just need to be robbed.  I couldn’t get started until I had the right players.  After “Mister Wonderful” I knew I had just the guy.

If anything matters to this character, it is his rational approach to problems.  He prides himself on his professionalism.  So, in Three Hours Past Midnight, when things go bad – his partner murdered and the money gone – he has a choice: tackle the problem or give up and go home.  He decides that worse than losing the money, the resulting damage to his reputation among other professionals would be intolerable.

This character is fun for me to write.  I like him because he’s smart and resourceful, but also very human.  He makes mistakes.  He’s shadowy, even to me.  I’ve never given him a name.  I know what he’s like physically – average height, medium build – but facially, I haven’t a clue.  I’m not sure how old he is.  I can only see his silhouette, if that makes sense.

crime wave pressI do know a lot about him. He lives in the moment – he won’t celebrate a victory or agonize over a setback – he just keeps going.  He’s smart and quick.  He’s not a hard guy – he could probably hold his own if necessary, but he wouldn’t want to have to – there’s no money in it.  He’d rather settle things with a conversation.

The characters who know him probably consider him fair but dangerous.  Most others probably don’t notice him – he’s sort of forgettable. This is a guy who people underestimate.  Every so often, a stranger – maybe a civilian, maybe a cop – somehow recognizes him for what he is.

I get bored reading stories that feature a superman or know-it-all.  Worse is the hero’s best friend who is the toughest guy in the world.  It seems these poor guys only exist to get the hero out of trouble.

This novel is also a sort of echo of my novella Happy Hour, an earlier work about a young grifter who has unwittingly stolen forty thousand dollars from dangerous men.  It’s a story of a man on the run through the nighttime streets of Philadelphia, told from the point of view of the pursued.

Three Hours Past Midnight is the hunter’s story. What had appeared to be a simple, straightforward piece of work quickly turns complicated. Along the way, he runs into politics, corruption and organized crime, which in a way are all the same thing.  He leaves a lot of wreckage.  The end isn’t what he expected.tk-bw

I’m working on another piece featuring my nameless protagonist, sort of a follow-up to the first short story, and I’m still figuring out who this guy is.  He’ll be meeting new people and doing new things, and with a little luck it will be fresh.

Thanks, Paul.

 

 

Recommended Read: Eye For An Eye by Paul Heatley

eye for an eyeJasmine Doyle and her friends are messing about in a pub after hours when one of them throws a dart which hits Jasmine in the eye.  Her gangster dad Neil is soon out for revenge, calling in old stalwart Graeme to track down the perpetrator of the crime.

Paul Heatley’s Eye For An Eye is a brilliant and brutal novella with a fantastically drawn cast of characters.  The father-son relationship between Graeme and his reluctant sidekick Tracksuit Tony is particularly marvellous and the book is as touching as it is violent. Very highly recommended. More Please!

Recommended Read: The Lawn Job by Chuck Caruso

the lawn jobCraig Collins has a pretty cushy job mowing the lawn of local pizza magnet Gino Pasarelli but he goes and screws it up when he can’t keep his eyes off Gino’s ageing glamour-girl wife.  So, he comes up with a foolproof get-rich-quick plan as a way to take his revenge.

Chuck Caruso’s The Lawn Job is just fantastic – cruel, hilarious and painfully true. Craig  Collins is a classic noir protagonist – thinking that he’s much cleverer than he actually is, he just keeps digging himself deeper and deeper into the mire. The Lawn Job’s cast of characters is great from the ridiculous Gino to Craig’s stoner cronies to the super-cool stripper Juana.

There’s the flavour of early Elmore Leonard and the taste of James M. Cain in The Lawn Job but Caruso’s debut novel is completly NOW and is very highly recommended.

The Guns Of Brixton paperback is only £4.37, 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.’

Guest Blog: Murder most foul with a bit of humour sometimes! by Pat McDonald

pat mcdonaldNow a full time novelist, currently writing within the crime fiction genre, I latterly worked as a Researcher, Project Manager and Programme Manager for the last seventeen years of my career within the police service. I decided to write fiction when I was fifteen, got caught up in this thing called the ‘real world’ that delayed me for too many years.

‘Retiring’ during the 20,000 police staff cuts in the austere times, I began to write my first crime novel ‘Getting Even: Revenge is best served cold’ with maybe a tongue in cheek desire not to waste the invitation to leave full time work and the ‘freedom’ to become creative. I did pull on my experiences (procedural) and is the story of a Major Crime Unit where Luc Wariner and Aidey Carter battle against a corrupt Chief Inspector Beddoes, murder, a paedophile ring, underage prostitution and drug dealing, which grew into an epic.

I found myself writing ‘The Blue Woods’ trilogy named because of my over-active imagination at disposal of bodies and a rather good Book Cover designer who nudged me that way. The spill over into ‘Rogue Seed’ led me to think about what would happen to a snatched baby if it was never found, but grew up in someone else’s family and of course ‘going rogue’ a term used for when a cop goes bad. I explore the other aspects of rogue seed; it would have been rude not to include the botanical meaning (growing of weed) or the loveable rogue conceived in the likeness of a deceased father.

‘Boxed off’ the third book although reflecting the theme of the book, buried bodies, kidnapped and confined to a cage, it also reminded me of a need to finish the series. All three books stand in their own right, but certain aspects of criminal investigation goes on and sometimes doesn’t culminate in the villain being caught. Not in real life or in my books and as in life there are plenty of murders along the way.

For every writer some characters will just drop out of their plot. As a ‘free flow’ writer who doesn’t plan but let’s their imagination run, it allows them to use that character for a book of their own. ‘Breaking Free’ sees Livia Morrison, the once child mistress of Chief Inspector Harry Beddoes (Getting Even) escape to UAE and eventually return to a quaint village in Wales to hide in plain sight. This book is about stalking, has a touch of the paranormal and WW1 history thrown together into a thriller. She discovers she has a past in the very community she lives in when she finds the chest in the attic of the cottage she has just purchased. The ghostly influence of this book led me on a visit to Caernarfon Castle where the Royal Welsh Fusilier museum is housed and where I ‘saw’ the ending to that particular element of the story. Breaking Free came to an end just as I discovered I had a brain tumour which I had removed surgically a couple of months later.

My recovery and convalescence, particularly learning to write and type again was done through editing Breaking Free and beginning ‘A Penny for Them’ which is a humorous crime series I began at this time to maintain a sense of humour and to entertain myself during what I have to say was a trying time.

Benjamin Matthews (nee Pollock) was conceived and his trials and tribulations innocently entering the criminal world in pursuit of Rebecah, the beautiful nymphomaniac daughter of a failed politician and notorious villain. His attempt at selling The Daisy Effect, a Benzedrine product in the shape of tiny embossed daisies on rice paper, as a slimming product fails on the drug scene, when he discovers he has been producing and selling a genuine and successful slimming product. He also discovers in a series of eventful meetings that he isn’t who he thought he was.

I enjoyed writing humour so much I wrote the second book in the series, ‘The Penny Drops’, which sees Ben and his new family emigrating out to United Arab Emirates, where Rebecah gets a job as a nurse. Ben gets arrested at the airport and is taken in for questioning and discovers that the undercover cop Daphne has different plans for him. His attempts to try to join his family and stay one step ahead of being pursued are hard fought and with a little help from his recently discovered ‘new’ real family, he manages to escape.

Book 3 ‘ A Bad Penny’ is half written and takes place in United Arab Emirates where crazy chickens, vigilante freedom fighters and zombie movie making leads Ben to realise that escaping from family and crazy people is harder than he thinks – like a ‘bad penny’ someone always turns up.

‘Echoes of Doubt’ now finished is another spin off from The Blue Woods trilogy where the Private Investigator Bart Bridges has entered the Witness Protection Programme and become Cyrus Bartholomew, the clock maker, in a small seaside town called Wainthorpe-pat's bookson-sea. After two years he has settled into his new life of routine and habit only to have his serene world challenged when his elderly next door neighbour at The Art Gallery is found violently murdered whilst he slept. This leads him to wonder if perhaps the murderer has mistaken The Art Gallery for his shop, and his past caught up with him.

The trouble with his clock shop, Time and Tide, is that strange things happen which he doesn’t always have an explanation for. He meets and teams up with Jayson Vingoe, the CSI in the case who begins to realise that Cyrus isn’t all he seems. When a further murder occurs the investigations show a widespread southern syndicate of drugs and human trafficking which makes Cyrus even more nervous having escaped from something similar.

This is currently being edited and the book is due out sometime towards the end of 2017.

Check out Pat McDonald’s Amazon page.

 

Guest Blog: Conflict by Chris Rhatigan

Rhatigan-photo-200x300One Thing Every Reader Wants to See

A manuscript arrives in the All Due Respect inbox. It sits there for some time.

Might be a day, might be a week, might be an hour.

At some point, usually in the morning with a thermos of coffee, I open the manuscript.

There’s one thing I’m looking for from the first sentence.

I’m looking for conflict.

You may have heard this a hundred times, but there’s a reason for that: It’s easy to forget about conflict. You might focus on any number of other things—the details of setting or how to make your protagonist more likable.

But I can tell you that editors are always looking for conflict. So are literary agents, publishers, and just average readers.

You may have a 300-page manuscript with a dynamite ending, but if you don’t establish conflict in the first 20 pages, your manuscript is unlikely to make the cut.

Open any book on the shelves of your local bookstore and you’re likely to see conflict in the first paragraph, if not the first sentence. Take this opening sentence from Lee Child’s The Hard Way:

“Jack Reacher ordered espresso, double, no peel, no cube, no china, and before it arrived at his table he saw a man’s life change forever.”

The reader knows from the first moment what this book will be about. The implied question—who is this man whose life has changed forever and how will Reacher become involved?—pushes the reader forward.

adrThe conflict in the first few pages need not be the core of your novel’s plot. For example, one of the first novels our press published was Uncle Dust by Rob Pierce. The novel begins with Dust, a bank robber, discovering he is missing two hundred dollars. Dust goes on a mission to find the money, roughly interrogating his girlfriend and her kid.

The protagonist wants something and other characters are in his way. It doesn’t matter that it’s a small amount; he will not stand losing the money. This is a small conflict setting up a larger conflict that also tells the reader a bit about Dust’s character.

It’s possible an editor or agent will continue reading past page 20 if you have an engaging voice or a fascinating character.

It’s much more likely they will continue reading because you’ve established conflict.

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance editor and co-publisher of All Due Respect Books.