#Noirvember: A Case Of Noir

Have you ever walked out of the door and wanted to keep on walking? To get into your car and just drive, drive, drive? Or maybe wander down to the train station and get the next train to …well, anywhere? Anywhere but …here, of course. Because life is elsewhere. Real life is always somewhere else, isn’t it?
 
Luke Case – the hapless protagonist of A Case Of Noir – moves from city to city because he has to, though. He’s a man on the run, on the lam.
 
The five chapters of A Case Of Noir are as follows:
 
Red Esperanto (Warsaw)
Death On A Hot Afternoon (Madrid)
The Kelly Affair (Granada)
The Big Rain (Toulouse)
One Of Those Days In England (Cambridge)
And you can grab it here (US) or here (UK) and a few other joints too.
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Short, Sharp Interview: K A Laity

PDB: What’s going on?

THE BLOOD RED EXPERIMENT! A new magazine that serialises neo-giallo novellas by me, Richard Godwin, Tom Leins, Kevin Berg, Mark Cooper, Jack Bates and James Shaffer, brought together by the combined efforts of Jason ‘Pulp Metal Magazine’ Michel and Craig ‘Near to the Knuckle’ Douglas. My novella is Madonna of the Wasps (swiped that title, of course from Mr Hitchcock) which features an ancient knife, weird rituals and some art students.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

I used to always; I’ve been so manic lately, jumping from one project to another that I never seem to settle on anything unless it’s something in the background like BBC Radio 3. But I have some concentrated writing time coming up and the soundtrack will be very folk horror oriented.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

You do [laughs]. Also lots of things. Georgette Heyer, Peter Cook, Kathy Burke. I introduced a friend to the Four Yorkshiremen sketch the other day and she was delighted.

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

Cheap Mexican food [the kind you can only get in L.A.] and gallons of tea.

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

Everywhere: I’d want a free pass to any hotel anywhere so I could mix it up and travel around and not have to ever clean or cook or do anything but idle and write.

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

Pfft. If I want to do something I make plans to do it. Life is short. Don’t assume there’ll be enough of it.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Looks like The Tower. Better draw again… Actually I have an essay on grifters and Chaucer coming out in November. I am trying to draw together a collection of women’s travel writing which has had to be done in odd moments because for some reason I decided to do too much this semester despite promising myself I wouldn’t, so I’m an idiot.

PDB: Anything else?

Everybody should be reading RESPECTABLE HORROR in fact all Fox Spirit Books titles! I have a new fairy tale novel MANGLED coming out next year from them and I know that Mr Graham Wynd will have a novella + short stories called LOVE IS A GRIFT out sometime in 2018, too. Oh, and I don’t know when but at some point my comic novel HIRE IDIOTS. And probably other things that I’ve forgotten because I have a head like a sieve lately.

kalaityBio: KA. Laityis the award-winning author of How to Be Dull,White RabbitDream Book, A Cut-Throat BusinessLush Situation, Owl Stretching, Unquiet Dreams, Chastity Flameand Pelzmantel, as well as editor of Respectable Horror, Weird Noir, Noir Carnival and Drag Noir. She also writes historical fiction as Kit Marlowe and crime as Graham Wynd.

The Blood Red Experiment (Series Book 1)

James Newman Reviews Big City Blues

Big City Blues

Big City Blues

And says:

‘Brazill has a way with words and, yeah, he uses them here wisely. The character building is solid in all his books, the locations are real enough to touch and smell, and the humor is omnipresent. This man’s books are laugh-aloud hilarious simply because Brazill is a wickedly smart humorous writer who never misses a trick. Great stuff. Read it. Spread it. Enjoy the infection.’

Col’s Criminal Library Reviews Big City Blues

Big City Blues

Big City Blues

And says:

‘A bit of what we had in store………. coppers with a penchant for karaoke, criminal families, a Polish policewoman on secondment to the UK, a serial killer called Marjorie Razorblades, an American alcoholic and his irritated wife, prostitutes, death by knitting needle, death by baseball bat, dual settings of London and New York, with a bit of time in Cambridge and Madrid, a few jokes that were old when Noah was a boy, some hat-tips to some bands from yonder-year….Buzzcocks, Penetration, Magazine, The Fall. (Nostalgia rules.) And lots more beside.’

Read the rest here. 

Short, Sharp Interview: L A Sykes

Lee Sykes Noir Medley

PDB: What’s going on?

 

Sorting out some manuscripts and working on some more short fiction.

Also, Near To The Knuckle are putting out the full collection of my short stories and flash fiction in a volume entitled Noir Medley.

 

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

 

No, the quieter the better these days. So I can earwig on the voices.

 

PDB: What makes you laugh?

 

Can’t go wrong with the old classics: Only Fools, Blackadder. I’m partial to satire, word play and things of that nature.

 

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

 

A pint of water and a hot shower followed by a fry up. Before that some deep breathing to stave off the panic as the flashbacks of the night before creep into conscious awareness.

 

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

 

I suppose I should be ambitious and say a platinum palace in the Antarctic, but to be honest I’d be happy enough up the Lake District.

 

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

 

I haven’t considered a bucket list as I’m still conniving to cheat Death.

 

PDB: What’s on the cards?

 

Like I mentioned, Noir Medley, thirty six stories in one volume coming soon from Near To The Knuckle.

Also, the novella The Hard Cold Shoulder is being republished by the same crew later in the year. Another collection of short stories is in the works and some longer projects are being drafted.

 

PDB: Anything else?

 

Just a big thanks for having me. Cheers.

 

Bio: LA Sykes is a writer from Atherton, Greater Manchester, UK. He’s been up at the likes of Blink Ink, Shotgun Honey, Nightmare Illustrated, Spelk Fiction, podcasted at Dark Dreams and Blackout City and has a story in Dog Horn Press’ punkPunk! Anthology co-written with Mark Slade. He’s the author of Noir Medley: collected fiction volume 1 and the novella The Hard Cold Shoulder coming soon from Near To The Knuckle publishing and has other works lined up in the not so distant future.

99p eBooks!

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N2TK

My NEAR TO THE KNUCKLE novellas are now only 99p each!

TOO MANY CROOKS

Too Many Crooks is a blackly comic Brit Grit romp from the author of Guns Of Brixton and Kill Me Quick! When high-class fence Leslie Hawkins meets Peter Rhatigan in a sleazy London pub, he offers her the chance to get her hands on the Totenkopfring, a legendary piece of World War Two memorabilia. However, after a violent encounter with a member of a biker gang, things soon spiral wildly and dangerously out of control. Meanwhile in Poland, Dr Anna Nowak finds an amnesiac Englishman half-dead in the snow…

A CASE OF NOIR

In snow smothered Warsaw, Luke Case, a boozy English hack with a dark secret, starts a dangerous affair with a gangster’s wife. Case escapes to the sweltering Spanish heat where he meets a colourful cast of characters, including a mysterious torch singer and a former East End villain with a criminal business proposition. While in stormy Toulouse, he encounters a blast from the past that is positively seismic which forces him to return to England and confront his past.

BIG CITY BLUES

London Detective Sergeant Ronnie Burke and Polish cop Jola Lach are on the trail of a serial killer, and New York private eye Solitaire is sent to Spain to track down a missing rich kid. See how their lives intertwine in Big City Blues. British coppers, an American private eye, London gangsters, international spies, and a serial killer known as The Black Crow all collide violently and hilariously in Big City Blues, another fast-moving and funny Brit Grit novella from Paul D. Brazill.

 

And you can still also grab 13 SHOTS OF NOIR and KILL ME QUICK! for less than a quid, too!

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: Portrait Of An Assassin by Richard Godwin

18193320_10213098319995219_4819326852453550096_oJack is a successful international hit-man who is usually  employed by the Sicilian Mafia.

When he finds himself deep in the murky waters of the British government, things spiral violently out of control.

Richard Godwin’s Portrait Of An Assasin  is full-on, hardboiled, pulp action and cracking fun it is too!

The Last Shot at Near To The Knuckle

near to the knuckleI have a new yarn up at Near To The Knuckle. It’s called The Last Shot.

I was ten minutes late. Chunky Baines stood in the crisp factory doorway with his hands on his hips or at least where his hips used to be. He was wearing a grubby string vest, stained tracksuit bottoms and a pair of worn tartan slippers, despite the fact that it was pissing down with rain. He chomped on a bar of chocolate.
I jogged up to him, sweating like a pig.
‘You’re late,’ said Chunky, grinning.
‘No shit Sherlock,’ I said.
‘Yes, I know Sherlock’s shit,’ said Chunky. ‘But Wilson’s been looking for you. He knows you’re late.’

Read the rest here.

CLIP: BIG CITY BLUES

Big City Blues

Big City Blues

London Detective Sergeant Ronnie Burke and Polish cop Jola Lach are on the trail of a serial killer, and New York private eye Solitaire is sent to Spain to track down a missing rich kid. See how their lives intertwine in Big City Blues. British coppers, an American private eye, London gangsters, international spies, and a serial killer known as The Black Crow all collide violently and hilariously in Big City Blues, another fast-moving and funny Brit Grit novella from Paul D. Brazill.

And here’s a CLIP!

New York, USA.

The waiting room was filled with the sound of muzak – sleepy synthesizers and yawning saxophones. The pastel walls were covered with generic abstract paintings – all splashes, dots and sharp lines – that were probably worth a fortune.  The view from the window was terrific, despite the sky being granite grey.  The Manhattan skyline was everything it was supposed to be.

Lisi Solitaire checked her reflection in the mirror that hung on the back of the door, knowing that you didn’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Especially with big shot clients like the one she was about to meet. She was pleased with what she saw. She thought she looked as sharp as a razor. Dressed  all in black with thick black framed glasses and her head recently shaven she thought he looked more like a successful New York psychiatrist than a struggling private eye, even if her designer threads were all knock offs.

She picked up a magazine from the mahogany coffee table and flicked through it. She was reading an article about whether or not Superman was a scab – how the man of steel’s habit of working for free was reducing the salaries of hard – working cops and firemen- when she heard the cough.

The night before, she’d been playing the celebrity lookalike game with her roommate Dana, who was a dead ringer for ‘Father Of The Bride’ era Martin Short. Solitaire herself, it had been decided, was like ‘Alien 3’ era Sigourney Weaver. When she looked up she saw a more than passable Lauren Bacall lookalike standing in the doorway to her office. Doctor Katherine Howard was elegant, tall and beautiful.  Her raven black hair was tied back and her half-moon glasses hung from a chain around her neck. Solitaire guessed that Doctor Howard’s designer clothes were all bona fide. Unlike Solitaire, she was a genuinely successful New York psychiatrist and she could afford the real deal.

‘Ms Solitaire?’ she said in a husky voice that fit the way she looked perfectly.

‘That’s me,’ she said. ‘The only game in town.’

She winked.

‘Well, I don’t know about that but it certainly seems there aren’t too many female private detectives about these days, I’ll admit,’ said Katherine, with a warm smile.

Katherine held out a perfectly manicured hand.

‘Katherine Howard,’ she said. They shook. ‘Do I call you Antoinette or just Lisi?’

‘Call me anything you like but don’t call me early.’

She winked. Katherine smiled weakly.

Solitaire cringed.

‘Sorry, lame line. Most people call me Solitaire,’ she said.

‘Come into my office,’ said Katherine.

This certainly wasn’t the first time that Solitaire had been in a headshrinker’s office. Far from it.  In the past, though, the rooms’ design had been anonymous, minimal, Spartan. Devoid of any trace of personality. Much like most of the shrinks she’d encountered, truth be told. But Katherine Howard’s office was different, which led her to believe she was different from those other psychiatrists, too.

On one wall was a large print of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and on another a number of framed vinyl album covers – Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bessie Smith, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Edith Piaf. There were photographs of Katherine Howard socialising with various celebrities- Al Martino, David Bowie, George Clooney, OJ Simpson. There was a wall length shelf of vinyl albums and book case containing the works of Albert Camus, Dostoevsky and Graham Greene, amongst others. Solitaire realised that this was more of a masculine office than she’d expected.

‘Take a seat please,’ said Katherine.

Solitaire sat in a leather armchair.

‘Nice room,’ said Solitaire. ‘Not what I expected. Not a typical psychiatrist’s office.’

‘Oh, I don’t see my patients here,’ she said. ‘This is my sanctum sanctorum. My dojo. My home away from home. Would you like coffee or tea?’

‘Espresso would be great.’

She went over to a machine and made two death black espressos. Gave one to Solitaire and sat on the edge of the desk.

‘So what can help you with, doctor?’ said Solitaire.

‘Call me Katherine. It’s nothing complicated, really. I just want you to find my husband.’

‘How long has he been missing?’

‘Oh, only a few days.  It seems Howard has gone on one of his drinking binges – he does this every now and again- and I need him back here to sign some important papers.’

She handed Solitaire a piece of paper.

‘These are his regular boozing haunts. He’s sure to be at one of them,’ she said.

Solitaire looked at the list.

‘I’m not one to turn down work but why can’t you go? Doesn’t seem that difficult a task, since you pretty much know where he’ll be.’

‘I’m a recovering alcoholic, Mr Solitaire. It would be too much temptation. Especially under such stressful circumstances.’

‘Do you expect it to be stressful?’

‘For sure. You’ll need to use your brain as well as your brawn to drag Howard out of there. You know what, he’s like, right?’

‘Well …’

‘I’m sure my husband’s reputation has preceded him.’

Solitaire smiled.

‘For sure. He’s a crime fiction writer and a pretty successful one, too. Writers operate by different rules to the rest of us, I expect,’ said Solitaire.

‘Maybe. Or maybe it’s just an excuse for self-indulgence,’ said Katherine.

‘You’d know better than me,’ said Solitaire.

‘Oh, yes,’ said Katherine. ‘So, can I ask you about your name? It’s a tad unusual.’

‘Yes, it’s my real name and yes, before you ask, I am related to Antoine Solitaire.  I’m his daughter, for my sins. Which are not as many and as varied as his, of course.’

‘Antoine Solitaire.  Well, there was a man who operated by a different set of rules to the rest of us.’

‘He certainly did. For better or for worse.’

‘How long is it since he went missing?’

‘Five years, now.’

‘Do you have any leads on the case?’

‘Nope. There’s not a lot the cops can do short of digging up half of Brooklyn.’

‘Is your mother still alive?’

‘Sure is. She’s alive and kicking ass. Literally. She runs an actual dojo Downtown.’

‘Really?’ said Katherine.

‘Yes. She’s working with some has-been action movie star. Teaching the five fingers of death to the local geriatrics.’

Katherine walked over to the window and black clouds spread like a cancer across the skyline.

‘It’s certainly a life of surprises,’ she said.

‘Sure is.’

Solitaire finished her coffee got to her feet.

‘Well, I’d best get going.  I’ve got a long bar crawl ahead of me by the looks of it,’ she said as she looked at the slip of paper that Katherine had given her.

‘It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it,’ she said. ‘I’ll phone you as soon as I’ve found him.’

Katherine nodded.

‘By the way, Howard is a pussycat, even when he’s drunk, but if he’s with Bertie, you’d better be careful.’

‘That wouldn’t be Bertie The Bolt would it?’

‘It would, I’m afraid.’

And so am I, thought Solitaire.

Grab Big City Blues from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and any other Amazon.