Category Archives: Music

Small Time Crimes’ Soundtrack at Toe Six Press

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Well, I’ve certainly lifted plenty of story and book titles from songs over the years. Small Time Crimes, my new collection, has more than a few yarns with titles nicked from songs I like.

Over at Toe Six Press, I talk about those songs.

Chelsea Girls

I suspect most people would think that the title Chelsea Girls was pilfered from the 1967 Andy Warhol film and perhaps, indirectly, that’s true. It is, in fact, named after art rockers Simple Minds’ second single. I liked their first single, ‘Life In A Day and ‘Chelsea Girls’ too.  I saw them live around the same time -1979 – at Middlesbrough Rock Garden and always associate the gig with beer and marmite.

In The Devil’s Name

The shadow of the shadow of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band hangs over this yarn. SAHB recorded a song about the Scottish witch Isobel Goudie and the pub in the story is called The Swampsnake. SAHB were one of my favourite bands in pre-punk times.’

If you fancy, you can read the rest here.

Graham Wynd Reviews Last Year’s Man

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And says:

‘From blood-soaked shenanigans to effortlessly clever banter, there’s everything you’d expect and more. The motif of the hitman haunted by his past gets a fresh angle as disgraced Tommy Bennett returns to Seatown, the northern coastal city where his past awaits him. A wild mix of musical and pop culture references come at you thick and fast. I was chortling by the end of the first page.’

Read the rest of the review here.

Recommended Read: Untethered by John Bowie

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John, the protagonist of Untethered, is a man with a dark and secret past who is living a new life under witness protection.  As he sits alone in his flat, drinking and writing in his journal, John becomes embroiled in the search for a missing neighbour.

John Bowie’s ’90s set Untethered is a violent and inense read. Lyrical, moody, funny and as gritty as hell, Untethered is like a British blend of Jim Thompson and Nelson Algren.

Kill Me Quick is BACK TO LIFE!

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My seaside noir KILL ME QUICK has been rebooted and suited by the folks at Fahrenheit 13 and Farhrenheit Press, and you can pick it up at a discount price if you buy it direct from the publishers.

The eBook is less than a quid and the paperback is less than a fiver!

Can’t fall off!

Get the eBook here and the paperback here.

Or you can grab it from the Amazons, if you’re that way inclined.

‘We’re all lying in the gutter, but some of us are staring at the spaces between the stars… 

Seatown may not have a lot going for it – apart from the Roy Orbison lookalikes and Super Seventies Special every Thursday night, of course – but it is at least the place Mark Hammonds calls home. And after a decade away, it’s the place he returns to when he has nowhere else to go.

From dead bikers to dodgy drug deals, from one downbeat bar to another, from strippers to gangsters and back again: the luckless former musician bounces from one misdeed to the next along with a litany of old acquaintances, almost as though he never left. And if only he can shake off everybody who wants to kill, maim or otherwise hurt him, maybe he could even think about staying.

After all, there’s no place like home, eh?

“Gritty, fast-paced and hilarious. The dialogue is full of sharp one liners and insightful asides, and the characters are all larger than life. An absurd story told with such finesse that even the most over-the-top scenes feel real. My guess is you’ll read it in one sitting.” – SW Lauden (author of Bad Citizen Corporation andCrosswise)

“Dark and delicious… With ‘Kill Me Quick!’ the author has provided yet another delicious plate of cool cynicism, peppered with spicy dialogue and an inky black-humour sauce. Paul D. Brazill’s Seatown backdrop is luridly drawn; the characters are a blend of hopeless, scary and hilarious, while the verbal exchanges are as sharp and dry as glass of Northumberland moonshine on the rocks. The gritty darkness of the north-east has never been so much fun. Fabulous.” – Dominic Milne (author of Act of Contrition)

“Fahrenheit 13 have done an excellent job in assembling top quality novellas in this series and Paul Brazill’s offering is no exception. They say home is where the heart is….if you’re a character in a novella by Paul D. Brazill that heart will probably soon be removed and by a gangster with vicious intent! As always with this author’s stories it’s entertaining, witty and always a fun read. A great crime caper that is a steal at the price. Five stars.” – Darren Sant (author of Dark Voices and various Radgepacket tales from the legendary Byker Books)

“A smart and insane ride through the underbelly of crime. Told with his characteristic punch, this is as gritty and as hard boiled as it gets and Brazill is a master at it. By turn humorous and captivating this will keep you guessing. A Noir novel textured with local culture and razor sharp dialogue. Highly Recommended.” – Richard Godwin (author of Wrong Crowd and Confessions of a Hitman)

“This novella is a crazy crime jukebox that takes in everything from crooners to croakers without missing a beat…. Get it. If you have anything like a sense of humour and a heart as black as the inside of a body bag, you’ll love it. Besides, best corpse disposal trick ever.” – Graham Wynd (author of Extricate and Satan’s Sorority)

“The story winds tight as Hammond’s life unravels. Brazill uses his trademark wordplay and humour to add extra layers to the experience and manages to draw out laughs from the most uncomfortable situations. There’s also a vast soundtrack…. If I were to select a song to sum up this novella, Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll would be my pick and, if they’re elements you enjoy in your noir, this is the book for you. Terrific fun.” – Nigel Bird (author of Southsiders and Dirty Old Town & Other Stories)

“An oddball crime book with pitch black humor and wordplay while the out of luck lowlifes run from one unlucky event to the next. Everything is delivered with that dry kind of understatement only the Brits have mastered… where even the strangest situations are funny even they are not funny at all.” – Miranda (booklikes.com)’

I’m Interviewed by Mark Ramsden

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Ace transgressive fiction  writer Mark Ramsden has some nice things to say about my writing and then we have a little natter:

‘In the mid 20th century there were light-hearted crime novels about decent chaps with a taste for adventure. The Saint. The Toff. Perhaps, like Paul Temple, they had a cockney manservant and lived in Mayfair. Mr Brazill’s comedic capers are generally set somewhere less salubrious. Perhaps a grim seaside town, where laconic losers drink super strength lager, which might be stored in their pockets for later – not much later at all.

Instead of a search for the Maltese Falcon a vile gangster wants to know which of his girls are offering, against his wishes, a ‘full service’.
The one liners come thick and fast. ‘”I’m as honest as the day is long”. If you live in Iceland.’
‘The silence dragged like a BNP voter’s knuckles.’
There’s nifty descriptions: ‘He had salt and pepper hair that erred on the side of Saxa, and his face had that scrubbed-by-a-Brillo Pad look favoured by football mangers like Sir Alex Ferguson.’
It’s realistically sleazy and gritty but with enough humour so you don’t need to drown your sorrows – unlike Paul’s protagonists.
Like his Too Many Crooks there’s a sly metafictional flavour but it’s gentle and playful. It won’t strip the enamel off your teeth, like some of the beverages consumed herein.
In short, an original homebrew with a kick. Well worth sampling.

MR  Your earliest influence, writers you most admire? 

PB   Well, I wasn’t a book person as a kid so the first writers I noticed were comic writers like Stan Lee, Steve Gerber, and music writers like Jane Suck and Paul Morley. Monty Smith’s film stuff for the New Musical Express was essential reading. After that, the ‘grown up’ books were by Dorothy Parker, Graham Greene, Kurt Vonnegut and Elmore Leonard – the latter due to an NME article by Charles Shaar Murray.’

Read the rest here.