Category Archives: pulp fiction

#FRIDAY FLASH: The Company Man

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.

‘I understand,’

‘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.

‘It is.’

‘Well, keep an eye on those expenses, eh?’ said Col. ‘We’re not made of money.’

He winked.

***

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.

 

AJOKORTTI HELVETTIIN

finnish-anthoOut now,  AJOKORTTI HELVETTIIN is a Finnish language crime fiction/ flash fiction anthology  edited by Juri Nummelin, of the acclaimed Pulpetti blog.

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!

Get it here!

Recommended Read: Kill Em With Kindness by CS DeWildt

kill em with kindnessNick 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.

Recommended Read: Small Change by Andrez Bergen

small changeWhen 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.

Out Now! Kill Me Quick! by Paul D. Brazill

kill me quick coverWe’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.

Get Kill Me Quick! from Amazon.co.uk  or Amazon.com or any other Amazon.

Recommended Read: Cars and Girls by Various Artists

cars and girlsCars and Girls is a brutal pulp fiction anthology featuring, well,  cars, girls and a hell of a lot more.

The first story, Zoe Spencer’s 500, is a tight, hard-boiled revenge yarn reminiscent of the early Matt Helm books.  Tee Tyson’s Roadrunner is the story of Holly Hellbound, fresh out of the slammer with unfinished business to sort out. Madeline Harvey’s Barracuda has a small-town waitress taking revenge on behalf of her younger sister. Evangeline Jennings’ remarkable Crown Victoria is a classic lovers-on-the run story with a twist of the blackest noir.

Every story in Cars and Girls is a sharp, hard gem. Violent, lurid and sometimes touching, Cars and Girls is highly recommended.

Pre-order Kill Me Quick! by Paul D. Brazill

kill me quick coverKill Me Quick! is out on 13 December. Pre-order the eBook from Amazon or Amazon.co.uk. The paperback will be available soon.

Here’s the blurb:

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 the next, 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.

Recommended Read: Striptease In Noir by Jimmy Vargas

jimmy-vargas-striptease-in-noir-book-cover-c-jimmy-vargas-2015v2aWhen songwriter Jay inherits an ill-fated burlesque club in 1940s Los Angeles, his wild life gets even wilder and wilder.

Jimmy Vargas’ breathless and beautevil Striptease In Noir is a lethal cocktail of crime and the occult, jazz and burlesque, rich and playful prose, vivid and lurid imagery, James Ellroy, Barry Gifford, Kenneth Anger and more!

Recommended Read: 21 TALES BY DAVE ZELTSERMAN

21tales_200Can you imagine getting drunk with Jim Thompson, O Henry and Roald Dahl? Can you imagine the rush, the laughs and the chills?

Well, yes or no, sit yourself down, hell, lie down if you want to, and knock back a couple of shots of the dark stuff, the strong stuff, courtesy of Mr Dave Zeltserman.

21 Tales is a classy pulp collection which reads like a beaut of an anthology , although all twenty one stories were written by one man.

If you’re familiar with Dave Zeltserman brilliant crime novels- like Killer or Small Crimes- or his horror novels- like Blood Crimes– you’ll know that Zeltserman is a master noir story teller.

With 21 Tales he gives us a veritable cornucopia of stories that were written between 1992 and 2006. There is crime, suspense, sci-fi, horror and myriad cross pollinations of those genres.

21 Tales is a lethal –Molotov – cocktail that won’t give you a hangover but could give nightmares.

Short, Sharp Interview: Jimmy Vargas

jimmy-vargas-striptease-in-noir-book-cover-c-jimmy-vargas-2015v2aPDB: What’s going on now?

JIMMY VARGAS: At present I’m lining up an American tour for late 2016 with my crime jazz combo the BLACK DAHLIAS. Also putting the finishing touches to the sequel to SIN called STRIPTEASIA BLUES.

PDB: How did you research your latest book…STRIPTEASE IN NOIR ?

JIMMY VARGAS: I lived it. The rest was just turning the sawdust and blood back into legible ink. Kind of like Jesus and his water to wine schtick.

Writing is about transmutation.

You live it, You bleed it. You write it.

My writing is purge, confessional of a past life. I’m inhabiting the zones of 1947 and 2015. It’s not merely a matter of me going back, they are two parallel universes, that I just sand dance between. I’m an Astral Bojangles. The back streets of Hollywood is one big gazeeka box, that I mambo through, for ‘research’. My present book STRIPTEASE IN NOIR deals with Burlesque, Crime and the Occult. The Holy Trinity that bedevils my gimcrack life.

PDB: Which of your publications is the most successful?

JIMMY VARGAS: “Hmnn, success is relative, but all my relatives are dead, so that’s a tricky question!!!…..Had a major hiccup with the launch of my SHADOW BRIDE series about the BLACK DAHLIA avatar in 2011. The literary machine that I used to release it, sprang a gasket problem, and they have very generously granted me back the rights, so I can re-broadcast it as an extended E Book with 20 new chapters in Mid 2017. Sales wise? That aforementioned book, racked up a modest reception, which gave me the moxie, money and muscle to issue this new tome SIN. Out now on BEAR MANOR Media.

PDB: What’s your favourite film of 2015?

FILM(S)….BLACK MASS…with JOHNNY DEPP, and THE KRAYS with TOM HARDY, an exceptional British actor.

PDB : Your favourite book:

JIMMY VARGAS: James Ellroy…’PERFIDIA’,

PDB: Your favourite song?:

JIMMY VARGAS: An old 40’s number sung by Jo Stafford called HAUNTED HEART. That one’s playing at my next funeral. This time its a big production. No more San Pedro Harbor exits for this little black duck.

TELEVISION PROGRAM OF 2015 ? :

I haven’t watched TV since 1991. However there’s a couple of shows I’ve seen via Netflix and web. VEGAS with Michael Chiklis and Dennis Quaid. Its mob, cowboys and feathered showgirls with pistol whipping dialogue. My private fetish served up in glorious kino color. There’s EDDIE BURNS’ ‘PUBLIC MORALS’ about Irish vice cops in New York in the 60s which I’m really wallowing in. Burns is a journeyman actor and writer.

JIMMY VARGAS 'SIN' PublicityPDB: IS LOCATION IMPORTANT FOR YOUR WRITING?

JIMMY VARGAS : To quote another great Noir writer Ellroy (whom incidentally I toured with in ‘1996), it’s always about time and place.

I’m English born, but my culture is American. Los Angeles and San Francisco are the boneyards where my former self roamed, and where the ghost triggers and tarts of the 40’s still rubber lip me, trading tales and lies over poor boy tokay and Lucky Strike Cigarettes in bombed out grindhouses of Main. That’s my tribe that’s my domain.

PDB: What’s next?

JIMMY VARGAS: I’m going back into music studio to cut some additional tracks for the European release of the BLACK DAHLIAS’ LUST ANGELES album (there’s a book of mine with that title too, which I’m in the last stages of editing). I’m shooting some pick up torture scenes for my music video BLACK DAHLIA (AVATAR). I also work with another band, a cocktail collective called MACHINISO, at present woodshedding some original songs I’ve co-composed with them, in view of some hot vinyl delivery by 2017.

                           WEB SITE    

www.jimmyvargas.com

                        BOOK TRAILER

https://vimeo.com/77025158

      

                                     BOOK LINK

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01694XVIS                      

                            

JIMMY VARGAS and Maya grind_108smallJIMMY VARGAS BIOGRAPHY: Formed by JIMMY VARGAS in San Francisco in 1993, the BLACK DAHLIAS, (so named after Hollywood’s sainted and ill-fated Madonna of Los Angeles nineteen forties folklore, one Elizabeth Short) are dark expositors of the self-coined ‘Tease, Torch, and Noir’ genre.

 

The BLACK DAHLIAS’ original soundtrack exploits the canon of a dream-world nineteen forties Americana, their illicit tunes birthed from the trellis of harlot parfum and the cracked shellac spinning out of a Hollywood pleasure house jukebox…

“Occupying a complete unique area – of off-kilter conceptual jazz noir for the striptease cocktail lounge set, produced with such love and authentic decadence that only a fool would fail to be entranced”

(DAVID FLINT…STRIPORAMA MAGAZINE 2008…UK)

 

Jazz noir credentials aside, the BLACK DAHLIAS are essentially a cinematic experience trans-mutated live from a ‘Poverty Row’ B-picture reel.

While Vargas may well be the voice, it is his Argentinian exotic-sorceress Liliana Scarlatta who is the fortease fetish totem of their production.

Miss Scarlatta’s terpsichoreal glamour is said to have been channeled direct from the MGM goddesses of soundstage past, while her ecdysiac gyrations both inspire and provoke the combos live set.

“She is absolutely entrancing…Vargas’ music of sly grooves, and romantic sonnets of loss are undoubtedly created from the sexotic dna of his muse MIss Scarlatta…”

(TARA RITTER….FRIGHT X MAGAZINE 2006…CANADA)

Miss Scarlatta is the consummate showgirl, whether it be vipering the pole, sinuating a saucy striptease, taunting with a torrid tango, or capricious cancan, Liliana is the spirited soubrette that divines Jimmy Vee’s Ziegfeld noir universe.

What, however separates the Black Dahlias from other contemporary combos mining the vintage skein, is Vargas’ own fresh compositions.

“There are no other writers like him…Not many musicians like him either…Vargas’ work is dark and moody, bound tightly like garters to a pair of nylons, yet ethereal like wisps of cigarette smoke”

(JASON CROFT… JAVA BACHELOR PAD MAGAZINE…USA 2010)

For Vargas and his cohorts are not nor should be so regarded as merely a revival act. Theirs is what Vargas describes as a ‘parallel life production’.

Vargas has one eye locked on the 21st Century, the other orb clicking over misty visions of his deincarne self as a  racketeering sin alley Sinatra, who ungraciously expired under a fusillade of bullets in a Los Angeles bar on December 23rd 1947.

Or so the rumors around the chichi west coast boites go.

“Noir renaissance man Jimmy Vargas has answered the question, “How do you do market retro-fetishism in the 21st Century?…With his latest album. he shows how you can…Vargas is a pulp culture pimp who jazzes up the notion of nostalgia with provocative pinup art set to sensuous sax and ballsy blues. There’s nothing old-fashioned about Jimmy Vargas. His sinister style is timeless, frozen forever in a hedonistic hep-cat hell”

(WILL VIHARO…RETROSPECTIVE MAGAZINE USA 2011)

Jimmy Vargas and the Black Dahlias’ kill chill credibility were established early in their career when in 1995, they were taken under the wing of that esteemed demon dog of American crime fiction JAMES ELLROY (he of LA CONFIDENTIAL, BLACK DAHLIA fame), who after hearing their first album EL TORCHTURA, demanded that they join him on his first celebrated East Coast tour, as backing band / noir confidantes. Both survived the IRS and ageing Hollywood hitmen.

With seven albums to date (their new disc of neo-40s latino torch and dark swing… LUST ANGELES  being their latest), the BLACK DAHLIAS continue to spread the gospel of the tease, the torch, and the noir to Hepcats, swingers, Satanists, vamps and jazz heathens alike.

In August 2012, Jimmy Vargas signed with legendary Hollywood label DIONYSUS.

VARGAS’ literary expositions have finally found a home at New York publishing house BEAR MANOR ( with whom the crooner inked in APRIL 2015, seeing the release of his STRIPTEASE IN NOIR book trilogy, with first novel available at Amazon on September 30th 2015.

Recommended Read: Dead Heat With The Reaper by William E. Wallace

dead heatWilliam E. Wallace’s Dead Heat With The Reaper consist of two marvelous hard-boiled crime novellas.

The first, Legacy, is the story of Frank Trask, a retired steel worker who wakes up in hospital and is told that he has cancer. In the second story, The Creep, a nurse encounters a scarred war veteran who lives in her apartment building.

Both stories are hard-hitting with well-drawn, realistic characters. And they are also both full of warmth and compassion for people living on the fringes of mainstream society.

Dead Heat With The Reaper is another gem from All Due Respect books.

Recommended Read: Satan’s Sorority by Graham Wynd

satan's sororityIn 1950’s America, Sandra’s parents send her off to a small town university in order to keep her out of trouble. While there she encounters Trixie Faust and the rest of the Sigma Tau Nu sorority. Blood, sex and satanism quickly ensure.In spades!

Satan’s Sorority by Graham Wynd is a smart, witty and marvelously well written slice of pulp fiction. Full of great lines and clever asides, Satan’s Sorority is another winner from Number Thirteen Press.