In the 1978 TV series OUT, poker-faced Tom Bell plays Frank Ross, a gangster who is sent to prison for robbery after someone grasses him up. Eight years later, Ross leaves the slammer and is confronted with a London that has changed and people that have changed.
Instead of stitching back together his relationships, however, Frank is focused on tracking down whoever stitched him up. OUT – written by the late Trevor Preston – is great, gritty stuff and it’s a real period piece too- no mobile phones!
There are some great performances, particularly from Bell and Brian Cox as the psychopathic gangster McGrath, but there are loads of top turns from the likes of John Junkin, Victoria Fairbrother, and Peter Blake.
There’s also a very cool credit sequence with a cracking George Fenton theme tune.
And you can watch OUT for nowt on You Tube, if you’re that way inclined.
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.
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.
THE LAST LAUGH: CRIME STORIES by Paul D. Brazill — Published by All Due Respect, an imprint of Down & Out Books (February 2018)
• Trade Paperback — $13.95 (includes FREE digital formats!)
• eBook Formats — $5.99 SUMMER 2018 PROMOTION: $2.99
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From France, to Spain, to the northeast of England, hit men, gangsters, corrupt cops, drunks, punks, and petty thieves all tumble toward the abyss. The stories in The Last Laugh are vivid and violent slices of Brit Grit and international noir, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to cut your throat.
The Last Laugh is a violent and blackly comic look at life through a shot glass darkly.
Praise for THE LAST LAUGH:
“If you took Ken Bruen’s candor, the best of Elmore Leonard’s dialogues, sprinkled in some Irvine Welsh, and dragged it all through the dirtiest ditch in South London, the result will be something akin to Brazill’s writing.” —Gabino Iglesias, author of Zero Saints and Gutmouth
“A broad range of cultural strands come together in the melting pot and form a delicious stew of criminal adventure… The observations are sharp and the characters create small nuclear explosions as they collide with each other.” —Nigel Bird, author of Southsiders
“Brazill isn’t just a writer; he’s a poet and you can take any of his stories and write a master’s thesis on just the language employed.” —Les Edgerton, author of The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping
Over at his Dirty Books blog, Tom Leins, the grittiest of all Brit Grit writers, says:
‘The rumpled, world-weary triggerman – with a long memory, and an even longer list of health complaints – is a perfect conduit for Brazill’s quirky storytelling style, and the story itself (think Get Carter played for laughs) allows him to play to his strengths. For an expatriate writer, Brazill’s knack for writing about small town English grotesques is pretty damned impressive, and unlike the hapless Bennett, this book is slim and spritely!’
Read the rest of the review HERE!
Over at Amazon.co.uk, Mark Hewitt says:
And Graham says:
‘Raymond Chandler advised struggling writers, “When in doubt…have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand” and the story would work itself out. I’d say the Brazill corollary is, ‘When in doubt have a man head to a pub.’ While many of his characters try to reform their ways both bibulous and violent, these hard-bitten by life folk generally find they picked the wrong week to give up their vices.
Or is the WC Fields rule? Never give a sucker an even break — and even the most well-intentioned characters here find themselves driven to desperate acts of violence. Most of them don’t have good intentions though: they’ve got axes to grind and long-nursed resentments to avenge and it’s no surprised to find everything going pear-shaped like life had been formed in a pear-shaped mold.
And it’s all hilarious, brutally so. These are not genteel stories. They’re laugh out loud, bitter wincing fun. If you have a black heart and even blacker humour. Some quotes because Mr B is eminently quotable with a boatload of absurdities, musical swipes and clever allusions:
Yeah, and I used to like Benny Liens. He used to be my best mate. My mucker. My partner in crime. Until he screwed my missus, that is. I sharp went off him then, I can tell you. Which is why I killed the fucker.
They used to say he had more tarts than Mr Kipling. He looked as rough as toast now, though. Hair like straw, face like a blackcurrant crumble, wearing a shabby grey shell–suit. The booze and the divorces had certainly taken their toll on George.
“I met him on a Monday and although my heart didn’t stand still, per say, it certainly skipped a beat or two, I can tell you,” said Martyna.
In the beginning was the sound. The light came later. The sound was a horrifying wail that skewered its way deep into my unconscious brain, until I awoke, drowning in sweat, my heart smashing through my ribcage, my head about to burst.
Truth be told, my most vivid and powerful memories of childhood were always in black and white. The monochrome serials that were shown at the Saturday morning Kidz Klub at the local Odeon cinema, and the Hollywood films on afternoon television, when I was throwing a sickie from school. It all seemed so much more vibrant than anything that real life could come up with. As you would expect of someone who grew up living more fully in his imagination than in the day–to–day, adulthood proved to be a series of disappointments and non–events.
“Hope is the real opium of the masses, Peter.”
I could go on and quote the whole damn book, but just buy it for yourself already. Five stars, shining accolades, Ladybird cover, the Kingsley Amis hungover prose award etc etc. Do yourself a favour.’
Over at Amazon.co.uk, Mark Hammonds says:
‘Mr Brazill has honed his craft in this collection of tales, some old, some new, to that of the short, sharp, smart uppercut. Rapid reversals of fortune have always been his stock in trade, but here they’ll give you whiplash. The trademark roguery is there and the one-liners come rattling at you as always, but mixed in is some real concentrated dark stuff.
His characters inhabit a morally polluted world and they know it. Life is one long, strange trip to a dodgy pub, slathered in rancid glamour and vomit, where it’s alway close to last orders. From the conniving to the exhausted, from the straight-up malevolent to the merely lost and bemused, they may whine and grizzle about their fates, but can only sigh and shrug it off, expecting no better. All that separates the one from the other are the temporary, flickering dispensations of luck.
Occasionally, you might see one or two attempt to live a better life. Their resolutions, count on it, are stillborn. And you smile. Not in this world, kid. Failure is all, and everyone falls sooner or later (spoiler alert: sooner), though some are falling and laughing. Without exception it all goes tilt, game over, and Charon’s yer man. And to forget this, they drink. And drink until it kills them, which is usually slowly.
Yet Brazill stitches these tales together with verve and glee, with so many tickles and bitchslaps that you go from story to story like a kid with Smarties, woofing them down til they’re gone and all you wish is that there were more. As the old punchline goes, it’s a treat, its a treat. And it is. Buy it, read it, tell your friends.’
Pulp Metal Magazine is shutting up shop, at least for the time being. And my contribution to its funeral is a little yarn called Because The Night.
‘Mark Finney’s footsteps echoed as he walked across the rusty, metal railway bridge. A steely fog was spreading itself across the town and he could no longer see the trains creeping slowly below him. He walked carefully down the steps and paused at the bottom. Smudges of streetlamps trailed off into the distance down Lothian Road. Finney headed off along the cobbled street, past the rows of partially demolished terraced houses that looked like broken teeth. ‘
Read the rest here.
Over at Goodreads top pulp writer Todd Morr says:
‘Brazil keeps the pace moving providing Plenty of action, dark humor and sharp dialog in this stark tale of an aging hitman forced to go back to his hometown after he runs into trouble. Of course, his old stomping ground are not exactly trouble free. Perfect quick read for an afternoon.‘
And Georg in Austria says:
‘While reading books by Paul Brazill, I want to listen to a soundtrack of all the songs that are mentioned. Also I would like to drink along with the main characters, but sadly I would pass out around page 7… ‘
Hit-men, con men, jewel thieves, career criminals, killers, crooks and cannibals. They all congregate between the pages of Paul D. Brazill’s Small Time Crimes – a brutal and blackly comic collection of short stories and flash fiction that views the world at its most askew.
‘Paul D. Brazill’s “Small Time Crimes” boils from the same rough vein that produced such classics as “Sexy Beast” and “Get Carter,” but it’s a nasty splash of British noir all its own’
‘a hard-hitting, fast paced, and darkly comic collection of short tales that go down as easy as your favorite ale!’