Noir Con‘s online journal –Retreats From Oblivion– have published a slice of my Brit Grit called No One Is Innocent.
‘Marjorie shuffled through the door to the snug and switched on the lights. She pressed a button and the dusty Wurlitzer jukebox burst to life. Jane Morgan belted out ‘The Day The Rains Came.’ In French.‘
Lawrence 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.
Buy the trade paperback from the Down & Out Bookstore and receive a FREE digital download of the book!
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 Rapist, The Bitch, Just Like That and others
“Brazill is brilliant, a unique voice which stands out from the crowd.” —Keith Nixon, author of the Solomon Gray books
‘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.
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.
Seth Lynch’s cracking debut novel has recently been republished by Farhenheit Press and has been given a new title, as well as a tasty new cover.
A CITIZEN OF NOWHERE is part historical detective story and part character study reminiscent of Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge,
It is richly cinematic and completely enthralling, with a great sense of time and place, as well as a great deal of wry humour.
Lionel Kaspar quits his safe-but-dull health department job and bullshits his way into a journalist’s position at a local newspaper. However, Kaspar soon realises that it’s much easier – and more profitable- to just make up stories rather than do any actual reporting.
Chris Rhatigan’s Squeeze is just great. Lionel Kaspar is one of the sleaziest and most amoral fictional creations of recent times and easily one of of the most enjoyable. Imagine Melville’s Bartleby crossed with Henry Chinaski and Tom Ripley and you’re halfway there.
Squeeze is smart, askew, laugh out loud funny, and, of course, not for those of a delicate sensibility.
I’m more than somewhat chuffed that ALL DUE RESPECT will be publishing my novella LAST YEAR’S MAN in June 2018. I’ll tell you more about that anon but for now you can take a gander at ALL DUE RESPECT’s current publishing schedule.
Outlaws by Matt Phillips (Dec. 15 2017)
Street Whispers by Liam Sweeny (Feb. 2018)
Dead Guy in the Bathtub by Paul Greenberg (March 2018)
Sunk Costs by Preston Lang (May 2018)
Last Year’s Man by Paul D. Brazill (June 2018)
A Taste of Shotgun by Chris Orlet (July 2018)
Repetition Kills You by Tom Leins (September 2018)
Welcome to HolyHell by Math Bird (October 2018)
Gravy Train by Tess Makovesky (November 2018)
For a country with such a relatively low crime rate, crime fiction is more than somewhat popular in Poland. Polish television is as cluttered with corpses as its British and US counterparts and if you walk into Empik, or any of the country’s many book shops, you immediately spot the kryminał and sensacja sections. The shelves are choc-full of police procedurals, cozies, thrillers, and their various hybrids. There are lots of books by foreign authors there, of course, especially the ubiquitous Nordic noirs. But there’s plenty of home-grown talent, too. Most of whom have yet to be translated into English – though not for long, I suspect.
Here are a few shots of Polski Noir to give you a taster:
Katarzyna Bonda is a journalist and scriptwriter whose novels have all become best-sellers in Poland. Her books include the Hubert Meyer trilogy (The Case of Nina Frank, Only the Dead Don’t Lie, The Florist), the true crime books Polish Murderesses, and An Imperfect Crime, as well as a textbook entitled The Writing Machine. However, her most successful novel series stars the female profiler Sasza Załuska: Girl at Midnight, The White Mercedes, and Lanterns. Girl at Midnight received the Audience Award at the 2015 International Crime Festival, while The White Mercedes won the 2015 Empik Bestseller Award. Foreign rights to the books have been purchased by the likes of Hodder & Stoughton and Random House.
S. M. Borowiecky has been compared to Dan Brown, James Patterson, Paula Hawkins and Stephen King. She followed up her bestselling debut Ani Żadnej Rzeczy (Or Anything) with Która Jego Jest (Who is he?), which has also been a great success.
Mary Sue Ann was born in a small town in Silesia. In the dark evenings she writes dark novels. Zabójcza podświadomość (The Murderous Subconscious) is a paranormal crime novel. The action takes places in Los Angeles where a serial killer targets woman who are in advanced stages of pregnancy. Real estate agent Laura Kovalsky one day receives a strange phone call that shakes her stable world. Will a little boy with paranormal abilities be able to help Laura, the police and the FBI catch the killer?
Jacek Ostrowski AKA Jack Sharp is a Polish writer who specializes in dark fantasy noir with a strong gothic atmosphere.
His best known books are Posiadlosc w Portovenere (The Mansion In Portovenere), UT, Transplantacja (Transplantation) and Mezczyzna z tatuazem (The Man With The Tattoo).
His most recent novel Ostatnia wizyta (The Very Last Visit) is based on the true story of an unsolved kidnapping that took place in communist Poland.
It shouldn’t be long before all of these authors are translated in English so keep a beady, bloodshot eye out for them.
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. A Case Of Noir is a strong shot of blackly comic international noir from Paul D. Brazill.
The legendary Will ‘The Thrill’ Viharo interviews me over at Digital Media Ghost. I talk about genre hybrids, noir and more.
Alison Day was a mousy woman who had barely been scuffed by the wear and tear of life until the day she met Lulu, the effect of which was like lightning hitting a plane. The Autumn night draped itself over the city, and the moon bit into the sky as Alison rushed home from her usual Wednesday evening yoga class. She felt edgy and fumbled for her keys as she heard the click, click, click of high heels on the wet pavement. She turned. On the corner of the street, beneath a blinking street lamp, a woman was smoking a cigarette. Her silhouette seemed to appear and disappear like warm breath on a cold window pane.
The woman was tall and, like Alison, in her early thirties with wan looking skin, a slash of red lipstick across her full lips and her black hair cut into a Louise Brooks bob. She was wearing a red PVC raincoat and shiny black stiletto heels and Alison suddenly felt very dowdy with her green cagoule, Gap jeans and mousy, unkempt hair.
The woman slowly sauntered towards Alison-and in a muddy foreign accent, said:
‘Keep looking at people like that and you’ll be in for a good tongue lashing.’
And then she collapsed in heap at Alison’s’ feet.
* * *
‘Would you like a cup of tea?” said Alison, “I have …’
‘Something stronger, maybe?’ purred the woman as she sat up from the sofa.
Alison rummaged in a cupboard and found an unopened bottle of absinthe.
‘How about this?’ she said.
The woman smiled and lit a Gauloises cigarette.
‘My name is Lulu,’ she said, filling two shot glasses with absinthe. ‘Drink with me, eh?’
As the night hurtled on, Alison got drunk and in the process told Lulu her life story, such as it was. Lulu seemed fascinated by Alison’s idyllic, picture postcard childhood in Yorkshire and her job at Bermondsey Library. Lulu revealed little about herself, however, except that she had come from Bucharest shortly before the revolution and that she was married to a nightclub owner called Nicholas.
‘You know,’ said Alison ‘I hardly ever drink. My friends say that I can get drunk on the sniff of a barmaid’s apron.’ She giggled. ‘This is the first time I’ve drunk absinthe.’
‘They say it makes the heart grow fonder,’ said Lulu, licking the rim of the glass and holding Alison’s gaze.
At some point during the night Alison woke up in bed, in a cold sweat, with no recollection of getting there. Lulu, naked, was smoking and gazing out of the bedroom window. The tip of her cigarette glowed bright red and then faded to black.
In the morning, as slivers of sun sliced through the blinds, Alison awoke and saw that Lulu was gone. Memories of the night before fizzed like champagne bubbles as, on the bed, she saw a business card for Vamps Gentleman’s Club in Shoreditch. Written in red lipstick, was a phone number.
Vamps was suffocating in black leather and red velvet. It was cluttered with noisy groups of brash City Boys and semi-naked young women who wandered around with beer glasses full of money. The DJ played ‘Goldfinger’ as a statuesque blond, wearing only a pair of angels’ wings, crawled up and down a glistening pole.
Alison sat on a large black sofa next to Lulu, who was dressed in a red leather nun’s habit with a gold pentagram dangling from a chain around her neck. Tearing the label from her beer bottle she moved in close to hear Lulu speak.
‘I suppose marriage to Nicholas was a marriage of convenience.’ Lulu said. ‘I wanted to stay legally in England and he wanted…well, a pet. He promised me a job in a West End nightclub and I ended up here. But the worse thing is, he makes me have sex with other dancers. His business partners.’
She downed her drink in one.
‘Can’t you leave him?’ said Alison, red faced.
‘If I leave him, I’ll be deported and that will be that’, she said. Alison blanched.
As Autumn trudged on into Winter, Alison and Lulu’s meetings became more frequent and murderous thoughts hovered over them like a hawk ready to strike its prey until one night Lulu eventually said, ‘Okay. Let’s kill him.’
‘You see, ninety nine percent of the human race are just here to make up the numbers,’ said Nicholas, in a voice stained with nicotine and brimmed with brandy. He was an elegant, handsome man in his sixties. He indifferently smoked a large cigar, the smoke rings floating above his head like a halo or a crown of thorns.
‘They’re just cannon fodder. Don’t you agree?’
Alison couldn’t agree or disagree. She couldn’t say a thing and she couldn’t move.
The plan had been simple enough. She was to go to Vamps on New Years Eve and ask about work as dancer. When the place closed she’d accept Nicholas’s inevitable invitation to go to his office for a night cap with him and Lulu. They were to poison him and dump his body in the Thames along with the drunks who tottered into the river’s dank and dirty water at this time of year.
But after the first couple of drinks she realised that she was paralysed. In the oak and leather armchair she was like an insect trapped in amber. The clock struck twelve and the room was lit up by exploding fireworks. Lulu and Nicholas’ eyes glowed bright red and then faded to black.
‘Happy New Year, my sweet,’ said Lulu. ‘I hope you like your present.’
‘I’m sure I will, darling,’ said Nicholas, ‘I know how difficult it is to find fresh meat in these decadent times’. He chuckled and seemed to float from his chair.
As Nicholas sank his fangs deep into her neck, Alison felt pain greater than she had ever felt before. She wanted to cry, to scream, to tear herself apart but she could do nothing except listen to the sound of fireworks and Lulu’s cruel, cruel laughter.
(c) Paul D. Brazill