Category Archives: martin Stanley

Martin Stanley Reviews Kill Me Quick!

kill me quick cover
Kill Me Quick

Over at Amazon.co.uk, Martin Stanley reviews Kill Me Quick!

‘5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining crime caper
By M Stanley on 6 Feb. 2017

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

You can always rely on Paul Brazill for a nifty turn of phrase, a superb one-liner, or a nice piece of description. He also delivers cool plots and memorable characters and Kill Me Quick is no exception. When an aging two-hit wonder musician gets his hand busted in London he returns to a seedy town on the northeast coast (basically Hartlepool in everything but name) and gets caught up in all manner of nefarious hijinks. It’s short tale with plenty of meat on its bones and more entertainment per page than many writers in an entire book. If you haven’t read Brazill yet then what the hell are you waiting for. A cracking comic thriller from a master of the form.’

Recommended Reads: January 2017

a-funny-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-billingham-forumA Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Billingham Forum – Martin Stanley

The Stanton Brothers are back and they have a plan to rip-off a drug deal that takes place at Billingham Forum. But,as ever,  things soon spiral violently out of control. Martin Stanley’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Billingham Forum is simply fantastic. A violent and funny masterclass in Brit Grit crime fiction that is full of sharp dialogue and great characters.

The Death Of Tarpons by Les Edgeron

Cory returns to the small town he grew up in and digs through the ashes of his past. Les Edgerton’s The Death Of Tarpons is a brilliantly written, vividly evocative, and very moving coming-of- age story with a razor-sharp edge.the-death-of-tarpons

church-of-wireChurch Of Wire by Andrew Hook

Mordent is a private detective on the trail of a serial killer whose victims are the survivors of attacks from other serial killers. His investigation eventually leads him to a strange religious cult known as The Church Of Wire. Andrew Hook’s Church Of Wire is a quirky, clever and vividly cinematic twist on the PI tale that would make a great HBO television series.

Shine On, Marquee Moon – Zoe Howe shine-on-marquee-moon

Sylvie works for Concierge, former New Romantic superstars who are in the middle of a career comeback. She is also engaged to one of the band, moody Nick. However things swiftly turn pear-shaped when Sylvie starts to suspect that Nick’s mansion is haunted.  Zoe Howe’s Shine On, Marquee Moon is a freewheeling blend of romantic comedy, French farce and musical satire that is choc-full of laugh out loud moments.

Have A Brit Grit Christmas!

martinaI asked a bunch of Brit Grit writers about their favourite Christmas book, film and song, and this is what they said:

Martina Cole:

Well my favourite Christmas book has to be John Updike and Edward Gorey’s ‘The Twelve Terrors of Christmas.’ Film has to be Lon Chaney as The Wolfman. I love old horrors especially at Christmas! And song has to be ‘Fairytale of New York’ as I adore The Pogues and Kirsty! (I remember when they were called Pogue Mahone! Kiss my arse in Gaelic!)

Lesley Welsh:

I’m going to be really tedious and say ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.‘ Still gets to me every time. Music-wise, Jona Lewie and ‘Stop The Cavalry’. Christmas book? That’s a difficult one, I never much liked Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ and don’t really recall others specifically about that time of year as I would probably have avoided them like the proverbial. So can I have a play instead? For which I nominate Steven Berkoff’s one-man short play ‘Harry’s Christmas‘. Devastating.

Douglas Skelton: 

The book has to ‘A Christmas Carol,’ obvious I know but it’s the only actual Christmas book I can remember reading! I know when I see other choices I’ll kick myself (so if you have any suggestions, let me know) For film I’d have to go with ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, although ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ comes a close second. And song – there are so many – but ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ has the right blend of sweetness and melancholy for me.

HIT THE NORTH! NICK QUANTRILL INTERVIEW!Nick Quantrill:

Book I can’t really look beyond Dickens with ‘A Christmas Carol’, though you can’t beat a winter’s evening in the warmth with a book from a favourite author. Film Being a cynical and hardboiled crime writer is fine for 364 days of the year, but the remaining day has to be reserved to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Song, all of Kate Rusby’s “While Mortals Sleep” is great and the use of a brass band gives it that distinctive Yorkshire feel that warms me.

Luca Veste:

Book – ‘The Grinch who Stole Christmas’ by Dr Seuss Film – ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’. Song – ‘White Wine in the Sun’ by Tim Minchin

Matt Hilton:

The Spy Who Came For Christmas” by David Morrell, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Silent Night” by Bing Crosby

Mark West:

Favourite book –‘The Mystery Of The Invisible Dog’ (it takes place between Christmas and New Year. Favourite film – either ‘Scrooged’ or ‘Die Hard’. Favourite song – ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ by Slade.

Alex Shaw:

Book: ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Film: ‘Die Hard.’ Song: ‘Feed The World.’

Sheila_Quigley-320x320Sheila Quigley:

‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’  – I can’t count how many times I’ve seen it – ‘White Christmas.’

Sarah Hilary:

‘The Long Shadow’ by Celia Fremlin. ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ (Cary Grant, David Niven).’The World of Winter’ by Bing Crosby

Ian Ayris:

Here we go: Christmas Book – ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charlie Dickens, Christmas Film – ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, Christmas Song – ‘White Christmas’ – SLF.

Richard Godwin:

Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Deep Throat’, Frank Zappa’s ‘Bobby Brown.’

Martin Stanley:

Okay, right now, off the top of my head: my favourites are Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Bad Santa’, and The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’.

jason 2016.Jason Michel

Book/ story – ‘A Christmas Carol’, Film – gotta be a Bond, not traditional, of course, but the nostalgia of a Christmas evening Bond flick, Song – I would say Slade then again, I have a tradition of listening to Frank Sinatra at Christmas.

Graham Wynd:

Um…’Little Women’, ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’, and oh, everyday a different answer so….Darlene Love, ‘Christmas Baby Please Come Home’. Best Xmas LP ‘A John Waters Xmas’.

Ryan Bracha:

‘The Little Matchgirl’ by HC Anderson for book, or ‘Mog’s Christmas’. The best and most underrated Christmas film ever is ‘Scrooged’. Song has to be ‘Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M’. Tune.

Betsy Reavley:

Oh easy, Charles Dicken’s ‘Christmas Carol’, ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ – Elvis Presley and film would have to be ‘Home Alone’.

nigelbirdNigel Bird:

Run Run Rudolph’ by Chuck Berry, ‘Diner’ (Barry Levinson) and ‘The Christmas Star’ (it’s a short story, so I hope that counts) by Mina Lewiton.

Graham Smith:

Can’t think of an Xmas book but ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Fairytale of New York.’

Paul Heatley:

My favourite book is ‘Sausagey Santa’ by Carlton Mellick III, song is ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ by Slade, but film is a toss up between ‘The Santa Clause,’ ‘Elf,’ and Ron Howard’s ‘The Grinch’ – I like the garishly colourful and OTT ones!

Tess Makovesky

I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas on the planet.  I quite like some of the old traditions, but hate the modern, consumer-driven, hyped-to-hell-and-back, be-perfect-or-else-you’ve-failed version, which tends to bring me out in a severe case of Bah Humbug.  So my choices of reading, watching and listening matter over the festive period tend to reflect this.

Favourite Christmas song: there’s a special mention for Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ which brings back happy memories of school Christmas parties.  But the winner, hands down, is ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty McCall.  Any Christmas song that includes lyrics like You scumbag, you maggot, You lousy old faggot gets my vote every time, and the harmonies (even with lead singer Shane McGowan apparently on such a massive bender he could barely stand up during recording) are amazing.

Favourite Christmas movie: I can’t really handle all those mushy-gushy sanctimonious ‘isn’t family wonderful’ type movies that you’re supposed to like at Christmas.  But Home Alone won me over the first time I saw it.  It has just the right blend of mischief, quirkiness, and sheer evil joy, from parents forgetting one of their own children, to Macauley Culkin’s 8 year old dreaming up ever nastier ways to keep the burglars out of the family home.  Great fun!

Favourite Christmas book: this one really had me stumped.  I wasn’t sure if there were any specific Christmas books, and when I googled, I’d never read most of them and wasn’t keen on the rest.  However, my favourite as a kid was probably ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C S Lewis for the sheer magic and inventiveness of the story.  Although these days, I probably have more sympathy with the Wicked Witch than I ought to.  Imagine: always winter but never Christmas.  I can think of worse things…!

HAVE A BRIT GRIT CHRISTMAS!

Recommended Reads: Zandri, Milne, Stanley, Jaggers.

The Guilty – Vincent Zandri

the guiltyJack Marconi is a former prison warden turned private eye. In The Guilty – the third book in a hugely successful series – Marconi is hired by a successful architect and asked to investigate the rich playboy who is accused of  attempting to murder his daughter. Vincent Zandri’s The Guilty is a gripping combination of old-school hardboiled detective yarn and a ‘80s high-octane action movie. Immensely enjoyable.

Act of Madness – Dominic Milne.

act of madnessRogue cop Detective Sergeant Eddie Kane is back, and then some.  The body of a child and a headless corpse are both found floating in one of north London’s canals within weeks of each other. The Albanian mafia are shipping hopeful young men and women into London with the promise of a better life. Meanwhile, Eddie Kane is investigating an internet porn scam and is sent on a special undercover assignment at an acting school. The various story strands soon interweave, however, in a brilliant and brutal slice of crime fiction that digs deep below the surface of London life.

The Curious Case of the Missing Moolah – Martin Stanley

The Curious Case of the Missing MoolahThe Stanton Brothers are in trouble after Eric Stanton is robbed and ten grand of his boss’ money is stolen from him. As they attempt to track down the robbers, and the money, things only get worse, of course. Martin Stanley once again gives us a perfect example of Brit Grit, full of violence, humour, great characters, realistic dialogue and a fantastic sense of place.

Down In The Devil Hole – David Jaggers

down in the devil holeIn this brilliant collection of interconnected short stories, David Jaggers casts a beady eye over the broken, brutal lives of the citizens of Bronson, Kentucky as a storm approaches.  Each story is a sharp slice of the hard life and the sum of the parts is even greater than the whole. Down In The Devil Hole is powerful stuff, like a combination of Donald Ray Pollock’s Knockemstiff and Jim Thompson’s The Kill Off. Highly recommended.

 

 

A Man Of Sophisticated Tastes in 12 Mad Men

12 mad men

My yarn A MAN OF SOPHISTICATED TASTES kicks off this innovative anthology edited by Ryan Bracha.

The phenomenally talented writers involved in this innovative and ambitious project are:

Paul D Brazill (Guns of Brixton, A Case of Noir) Gerard Brennan (Fireproof, Wee Rockets) Les Edgerton (The Bitch, The Rapist) Craig Furchtenicht (Dimebag Bandits, Night Speed Zero) Richard Godwin (Mr Glamour, Apostle Rising) Allen Miles (18 Days, This is How You Disappear) Keith Nixon (The Fix, The Eagle’s Shadow) Darren Sant (Tales From The Longcroft, The Bank Manager and The Bum) Gareth Spark (Black Rain, Shotgun Honey) Martin Stanley (The Gamblers, The Hunters) Mark Wilson (dEaDINBURGH, Head Boy) And narrated by Ryan Bracha (Paul Carter is a Dead Man, Strangers are Just Friends You Haven’t Killed Yet)

The Blurb: At St. David’s asylum for the criminally insane there are twelve residents. They call us that. Not inmates. We all have a favourite colour. A favourite member of staff. A favourite method of receiving torture for the purposes of science. We all have our reasons for being here. Our stories. Our tales. Why don’t you come and hear them? Twelve Mad Men is a groundbreaking literary collaboration. A novel which has a series of stories woven into the narrative, and featuring the finest independent authors from across the globe. The number one best selling author of Strangers Are Just Friends You Haven’t Killed Yet and Paul Carter is a Dead Man, Ryan Bracha, voices the narrator as he embarks upon his first shift as a night guard at St. David’s, and as he meets the residents there, it soon becomes apparent that there’s something very wrong in the water..

Top Tips: Recommended Reads.

tfcThe Final Countdown  – Sheila Quigley.

The final part of Sheila Quigley’s page turning Holy Island Trilogy is a knockout. This high-octane thriller is the third to feature DI Mike Yorke, a decent but bull-headed copper who, along with a psychic street-waif known as Smiler, is embroiled in a bizarre murder case that involves kidnapped kids, a drugs factory, and ‘the families’ – a sinister group that control the world. The story twists and turns like a corkscrew and races along at a breathless pace towards a dramatic conclusion but is also chock full of  the sort of down-to-earth characters, gritty realism and  humour that we’ve come to expect from Sheila Quigley – the Queen of Brit Grit.

Cutter’s Deal – Julie Morrigan.

Fifteen-year-old Jack and sixteen-year-old Livvy are good kids from a good family. Their dad has been made redundant and their mother has an accident which means that Livvy has to help her out with her cleaning job. One of the clients is Gordon Cutter, as nasty piece of work with ambitions of expanding his criminal empire. Unfortunately, Cutter takes a shine to Livvy which leads her and her family into very, very dark places. Morrigan cleverly switches POV from Cutter to Jack and then to Livvy contrasting the naivety of the teenagers with Cutter’s manipulative malevolence. Cutter’s Deal is simply a brilliant, heart-in-mouth slice of social-realist crime fiction. The real deal.

Bone Breakers – Martin Stanley.

Arrogant Teeside drug dealer Terry thinks he’s a big shot but he doesn’t realise that Mark Kandinsky and the Stanton brothers are out to rob him blind. Although, things don’t exactly  go to plan, of course. Bone Breakers is another fantastic slice of funny, fast-moving and hard-hitting crime fiction from Martin Stanley who cleverly uses multiple POVs in a way that is reminiscent of Elmore Leonard and mixes humour with grit just as smartly.

Top Tips: Recommended Reads

So, what have I been reading of late? Well, I’ll tell you…

wolf-ticketsWolf Tickets by Ray Banks

Things aren’t exactly tickety-boo for the aging hard man Cobb. He’s feeling his age, living in a dump of a flat, reduced to drinking gut-rot whiskey and shoplifting from charity shops.

Then he gets a phone call from an old army mate, Farrell, who has just been ripped off  – money and drugs-  by his girlfriend, Nora. He asks Cobb for help tracking Nora down and things soon spiral violently out of control.

Ray Bank’s gritty and funny slice of British lowlife is a smart study of the limits of friendship, full of twists and turns and brilliantly realistic and absurd dialogue.

The Gamblers by Martin Stanley

Kandisky is a loser. A deadbeat student who is addicted to porn and gambling. He also owes Priest, a gangster, a wad of money and is given a few days to get it together – or else.

Liam is a drug dealer who finds out his long-time friend Omar has been ripping him off, not realising that Omar has been working on getting an even bigger piece of Liam’s pie.

The Gamblers is a hard-core crime story, set in Bristol of all places, which captures the spirit of Ted Lewis and brings us BANG up to date with a  cleverly woven, hard-hitting,  multi – character story  of betrayal.

A Moment Of Wrong Thinking by Lawrence Block

A sharp, short story from Lawrence Block that has Matt Scudder going to dinner and hearing about a man who has shot himself in front of his family. This causes him to reflect on a similar case from his days as a policeman.  Perfectly pitched plot, dialogue and characterisation.

The Blues Detective by Andrew Peters

Otis King is a Welsh blues guitarist living in Memphis and working as a private detective. Otis regularly encounters a veritable cornucopia of colourful and lurid characters such as Louie the Falcon, Uncle Gryff, Suki Goodlay, Koko Brown, and meets gangsters, musicians, doughnut munching cops and a politician’s widow who moonlights as a topless wrestler known as The Masked Mistress.  He tracks down missing husbands, missing guitars, missing harmonicas, missing cats. And more.

These Runyonesque yarns and shaggy dog stories are all cracking fun, frequently hilarious and choc-full of laugh-out-loud lines.

Rhondda  Noir  and  Other Perversions  by Gary M. Dobbs

Gary Dobbs is a bloody talented and versatile writer of westerns, horror, police procedurals and even cozies. With this hard-hitting Welsh Grit short story collection he shows how adept he is at full-on, hard-boiled crime fiction.

Rhondda  Lovebite  – what happens after a  successful  post office robbery.

Loose Ends – a man in the wrong place at the wrong time during an afternoon drinking session.

The Man With The Sun in His Eyes – a hit-man flees a murder only to be followed by a mysterious black car.

Rhondda Noir- a security van robbery goes wrong when one of the gang needs to go for a slash.

The Death Match (Dead Man 13) by Christa Faust, Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin.

The latest adventure in Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin’s exciting  cliff-hanger horror /thriller serial, The Dead Man,  is another beaut.

The hero of the series is Matthew Cahill, an ordinary man who was buried alive after an avalanche and is miraculously brought back to life with a terrifying supernatural gift. He travels across America trying to find an answer to his miraculous rebirth and confronting the evil created by the mysterious Mr Dark.

As well as the creators, The Dead Man series has had some great stories from the likes of Harry Shannon and James Reasoner.

The inimitable Christa Faust takes the reins with The Death Match, as Cahill investigates the strange death of a dock worker and ends up involved in the murky world of underground female cage fighting.

Smashing two-fisted, hard-hitting, pulp action.

Cracking stuff !!!  Get stuck in there!

BITS N BOBS.

cropped-cropped6.jpgRUNAROUND … NOW!

I’m interviewed over at MORGEN BAILEY’S BLOG MARTIN STANLEY reviews 13 SHOTS OF NOIR and DEATH ON A HOT AFTERNOONCHRIS LEEK  reviews DEATH ON A HOT AFTERNOON over at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINEANDREW PETERS  gives DEATH ON A HOT AFTERNOON  a 5 star review at  GOODREADS … my latest BRIT GRIT ALLEY column is also over at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINEZOE SHARP talks about money at THE HARDBOILED COLLECTIVE…

Short, Sharp Interview: Martin Stanley

MartinStanleyPDB: Can you pitch THE GREATEST SHOW IN TOWN in 25 words or less?

A collection of eleven rather dark and sweary shorts, of which your mother probably wouldn’t approve.

PDB: Which tunes, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

Films that have floated my boat recently have included Looper, Argo and Killing Them Softly.

I recently re-read Paul Cain’s Seven Slayers, which is brilliant, and your own 13 Shots of Noir rather tickled my fancy.

Justified and Boardwalk Empire are great and even Dexter, which has been floundering since series 4, returned to form. I’ve heard no music that floats my boat recently, though that might be because I live in a sound-bubble of Buzzcocks, Led Zep, and Eddy Current Suppression Ring

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

Sometimes. Depends on the situation and genre. If I’m reading horror, sci-fi, literary fiction or classics then I read objectively, but if I’m reading crime fiction then I will read with one eye on why something works.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

I have written screenplays in the past, but they were mostly rubbish. They did help to sharpen my dialogue though. If somebody asked me to write them a screenplay I would certainly go back to it, but I’m more interested in writing fiction and tellingGreatestShowInTownCover.indd stories that way

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

It obviously depends on the story, but a lot of research went into The Gamblers; The Hunters was lighter on research, but I still had to fact check a few things; the shorts in The Greatest Show had a few things fact checked, too. I like to make sure things are accurate, but I try not to let research get in the way of a good story.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you?

If it wasn’t for Twitter and Facebook I wouldn’t have come into contact with a lot of great writers and discovered their work. So very important, I’d say – Twitter especially.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2013?

Finishing the sequel to The Hunters (The Glasgow Grin), editing and publishing another Stanton brothers novella called Bone Breakers, finishing a revenge novella called Cry Tomorrow, and probably another collection of shorts called Laughter in the Dark.

BIO: Martin Stanley is the author of three crime books The Gamblers, The Hunters and The Greatest Show in Town, a collection of shorts.