February 21, 2018
“The bar had the smell of a soggy nun”
“A storm had gouged open the battered and bruised sky”
“A wiry old duffer sat nursing a half-pint of Guinness and reading a battered copy of Ivanhoe, pausing occasionally to sniff the pages”
“There comes a time in every man’s life when he knows he will never be The Fonz”.
I loved this book. It captures the cold damp violent sleaze of London that makes us love that city. I miss drinking pints in those pubs. The dialogue is true and fresh and the characters are interesting and surprising. I think of this as a London underworld novel, with emphasis on the ‘world’. There is such a rich cast of characters that you will feel like you are getting a glimpse of the rough world that most of us (thankfully) don’t see in the real world. You won’t regret reading this “Cold London Blues”
Bill Derringer is an Iraq war veteran who is having trouble making ends meet. When he and his wife Edie take their two kids to visit Edie’s Aunt Ida, she turns out to be a lot more than Bill had bargained for and things soon spiral wildly out of control.
Jonathan Woods’ ‘Kiss The Devil Goodnight‘ is a lethal cocktail of pulp fiction and Beat poetry. It’s vibrant, violent and vivid. Lyrical and and lurid. Fast moving and funny. ‘Kiss The Devil Goodnight’ is chock-full of great lines and powerful imagery, and is certainly not for those of a delicate sensibility. I loved it.
Johnny Piper is raised and home-schooled by his strong and smart mother until his father returns home from the Korean War and things go awry.
Johnny is eventually sent off to fight in the Vietnam War leaving his boozing, gambling father to dig the family deeper into the mire.
James Shaffer’s Back To The World is his debut novella and it is as richly written as it is short and sharp, like a cross between Tobias Wolff and Jim Thompson.
PDB: What’s going on?
You got me.
PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?
Always. Mostly classic jazz and moody film scores. Currently both soundtrack albums for “Twin Peaks: the Return.”
PDB: What makes you laugh?
PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?
Sex. Clears your sinuses. Brush your teeth first.
PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’m already here (Seattle).
PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?
Apparently my bucket had a hole in it, so my list got lost somewhere along the way.
PDB: What’s on the cards?
More gambling-on-dreams debt.
PDB: Anything else?
Bio: Will “the Thrill” Viharo is a pulp fiction author, B movie beatnik, lounge lizard at large, cat daddy, dog walker, and lucky husband. Swing by his cyber-pad anytime for a TMI cocktail.
B R Stateham’s Smitty is back and he’s out to avenge the death of a cop. A Dish Served Cold is a classic slice of hardboiled -pulp-noir, tinged with the supernatural.
Another knockout from Near To The Knuckle.
Small Crimes is a sharp, short slice of noir based on David Zeltserman’s classic cult novel. A low-key, quirky crime film that is packed with great nuanced performances. Tightly directed with a gripping screenplay that smartly straddles the razors edge of noir and absurdity. Rich characters with a marvellously self-deluded and engaging protagonist. Small Crimes is brilliant, black comedy of errors that ticked all the boxes for me. I loved it.
Jose opened the waiting room door. Six men, wearing grey suits identical to his, were sat staring straight ahead. Their hands were palm down on their knees. Jose walked in and took a seat next to the reception desk. He put his hands on his knees and sniffed. He sniffed again.
‘Would you like a tissue?’ said Margot the receptionist, offering a box of lemon-scented handkerchiefs.
‘No thank you,’ said Jose, without looking at her. ‘It’s the bleach. I smell bleach.’
One of the men looked at his hands and sniffed them. Margot sighed and took out her iPhone. She put in her ear plugs, hoping to drown out the sniffing sounds with The Saints’ ‘Swing For The Crime.’
Fifteen minutes later, the red telephone on Margo’s desk flashed. She picked up the receiver and put it to her ear. She listened, nodding occasionally.
‘Of course, Mr Tipple,’ she said.
She hung up and cleared her throat.
The men all leaned forward and stared at Margot.
‘Jose please go through,’ she said.
The shadow of a smirk briefly crossed Jose’s face.
He got up and walked through a door marked The Director.
Mr Tipple’s office was dark. He sat behind his mahogany desk breathing heavily. Behind him was a large window. Its blinds were pulled down. Tipple switched on an Anglepoise lamp. He was well dressed, as always, and held a gold fountain pen in his hand.
‘Please take a seat, Jose,’ said Mr Tipple. ‘I’ll be two ticks.’
Jose sat and waited until Mr Tipple had finished signing a wad of papers. He pressed a button on his desk and Margot came into the room and collected the documents.
Tipple waited until Margot left and nodded at Jose.
‘The thing is,’ said Mr Tipple. ‘The thing is …’
He leaned across the desk and looked Jose in the eye.
‘The thing is, Jose, we have to let you go,’ said Mr Tipple.
He smiled, looking uncomfortable.
Jose blinked and said.
‘Please take this to Col in supplies and he will arrange everything connected with your … departure.’
Jose took the slip of yellow paper from The Director and stood. As he went to open the door, he turned and looked at Mr Tipple.
‘Thank you, sir,’ he said.
Mr Tipple nodded.
‘Good luck, Jose,’ he said.
Col’s office was small and cramped. It was stuffed with metal filing cabinets and cardboard boxes. Col was big and ginger. He smelt of Cuban cigars although no one in The Company was allowed to smoke.
Jose gave the slip of paper to Col who rubber stamped it and put it in a filing cabinet. He took a small wooden box from another cabinet and handed it to Jose.
‘Check this and sign it,’ said Col.
Jose opened the box. He took out the Glock, inspected it and put it back in the box.
‘It’s fine,’ he said.
Col gave him a sheet of pink paper. Jose signed it and gave it back to Col, who stamped it and filed it away.
‘Is this your first field trip?’ said Col.
‘Well, keep an eye on those expenses, eh?’ said Col. ‘We’re not made of money.’
Noelle’s Bistro was dark and red. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons leaked from a small CD player. An old married couple sat near the window, holding hands and watching the rain soaked street outside. A skinny business man maniacally tapped at his iPhone.
Jose sat at a small table near the door. He had finished his spaghetti carbonara and was halfway through a glass of Maison Surrenne Cognac when Sir David came in, shaking his black umbrella and spraying the room with autumn rain. As the petit waitress fussed around him, Jose went to the toilet. Five minutes later he came back out and shot everyone in the room. Twice, just to be on the safe side.
As he left the bistro, he picked up his blood splattered bill from his table and put it in his wallet. He’d need that for his expenses claim.
© Paul D. Brazill.
Juri says: ‘Ajokortti helvettiin (“License to Hell”, according to the short story the title was taken from), is a collection of flash fiction stories I published in my short-lived Ässä magazine (plus three new stories from Rob Hart, Stephen D. Rogers and Anthony Neil Smith).’
There are also stories from the likes of Joe R. Lansdale, Patrica Abbott, Ray Banks, Keith Rawson, and even me!
Nick is a small-town, small-time dope dealer who is haunted by the death of his wife. One night at his local bar, he helps out a local gangster’s girlfriend and finds himself dragged into a world of violence.
CS DeWildt’s Kill Em With Kindness is a classic modern noir. Brutal, cruel, blackly funny, and even moving at times, Kill Em With Kindness grabs you by the lapels from the very start and drags you on a twisted journey through a small town’s circles of hell.
When hardboiled private eye Roy Scherer inherits an unwanted side-kick, in the nerdy form of Suzie Miller, they soon embark on a series of wild, way out and weird adventures.
Andrez Bergen’s Small Change is an interconnected collection of short stories and vignettes that smartly mixes up Raymond Chandler with Jim Jarmusch and Scooby Doo.
Small Change is sharp, witty and a hell of a lot of fun.
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?
Praise for Paul D. Brazill:
“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)
“Visceral, foul-mouthed and blisteringly funny, Paul D Brazill creates a sleazy underworld inhabited by dodgy London geezers, Geordie hard men and the occasional shark. Highly recommended.” – Lesley Ann Sharrock (author of The Seventh Magpie)
“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)
“Unashamedly entertains you while sticking two fingers right up in your stupid face.” – Ryan Bracha (author of Strangers Are just Friends You Haven’t Killed Yet)
“The brilliantly named characters, crackling dialogue and dark humour jump out.” – Keith Nixon (author of The Fix and I’m Dead Again)
Number Thirteen Press is publishing 13 crime novellas by 13 top crime authors, from November 2014.