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 international noir from Paul D. Brazill.
You can grab it from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and any other Amazon that takes your fancy. The paperback is on its way.
One of the things I did during my brief jaunt to The Big Apple in 2001 was to walk from Times Square- where I was staying – and down Broadway to place my hand on the Brill Building. And I did. It was a hot summers day and I burnt my hand.
It’s a fantastic looking building, of course, but that wasn’t the reason for my pilgrimage.
You see, not a lot of people know this- not even Michael Caine – but once upon a time, I wanted to be a songwriter. Indeed, after the band Oceans 11 split up in the mid ‘80s, me and guitarist Peter Ord decided to write songs together. Like Bacharach and David. Goffin and King, Fagan and Becker. But, of course, nothing came of it.
In the 1960s the Brill Building, though, was a hit factory that housed some great songwriters. Including the ones that I mentioned above plus Paul Simon, Laura Nyro and more.
And Allison Anders’ wonderful Grace Of My Heart is the story of that era, that great period of musical creativity. Well, it’s a fictional amalgam of a couple of people’s stories-mainly Carole King, I think – and it’s a gem.
Music is by Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Burt Bacharach and others and it’s a smashing story, very well told, with fine performances from Ileana Douglas, John Turturro, Matt Dillon and others.
When London based Polish private eye Janusz Kiszka’s close friend is violently murdered, he decides to track down those responsible. Meanwhile, Detective Natalie Kershaw is trying to find out the identity of an apparent suicide victim. As in Lipska’s previous novel, Where The Devil Can’t Go, their investigations collide.
The second Kiszka & Kershaw crime thriller is even better than the first. The plotting is as tight as a snare drum, the characters are realistic and likable, the dialogue is sharp. Gripping, gritty but never grim, Death Can’t Take A Joke is also very funny, the humour coming naturally from the well-drawn characters’ interactions.
Aidan Snow, a retired SAS trooper who is now teaching English in Kiev, is hauled back into action to confront Bull, the man who almost killed him in Poland 10 years earlier.
Alex Shaw’s Cold Bloodis an immensely enjoyable and tightly written international spy thriller. The story moves from character to character and place to place with ease, and the glimpses of ex-pat life in Kiev are particularly enjoyable. Snow is a very likable action hero and Bull is a terrific bad guy. Smashing stuff.