‘Guns of Brixton is a mutt, bred from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Pulp Fiction, The Sweeney, and the Carry On films. All of this could have been a mushy stew, but Brazill has such a way with words and structure that this is all its own thing. It’s funny, as his books always are, extremely silly, but utterly engaging.’
‘These are all good stories. “The Tut” begins with the unforgettable line: “After enduring forty-five years of a marriage that was at best, like wading through treacle, Oliver Robinson eventually had enough and smothered his wife with the beige corduroy cushion that he’d accidentally burned with a cigarette two fraught days before.” Wow, what an entire history Brazill packed into that one sentence! The second selection “Anger Management” is another short masterpiece. It is sort of a mood piece, but it is filled with lines like: “I’ve heard it said that eighteen months of sleep deprivation can drive you crazy.” You can honestly open up the book to any point in these thirteen stories and find something of interest, some dark haunting poetic line. “The Friend Catcher” is another short (they are all short) that begins with an amazingly thick line of prose: “The morning after Charlotte killed her father, the air tasted like lead and the sky was gun metal grey.” That’s a whole story right there. Thirteen little gems packed into a short little book. I enjoyed these little glimpse into the darkness.’
‘Cold London Blues has an elongated title – Ealing Comedy meets Pulp Fiction and has a love child. I honestly think that says it better than I could by filling the page.
The humour is everywhere, from the scenes and situations to the crazy pun-filled dialogue. Laugh-a-minute is what it is. It’s also a good yarn.
The grit is also there aplenty. It’s a crime novel and a rather brutal one at that. What’s unusual is the way the violence is often so matter-of-fact. It comes at you when you least expect it and is handled with deadpan weight.
And the characters? You’ll not see the likes of these very often, not unless you pick up another Paul D Brazill. You’ll encounter one of the most unusual coppers in fiction as you read.
If you need your copy right now while you lie on a beach with the sun warming your skin, the kindle (US) version’s for you. If you can wait a little longer, then the paperback’s where the deal is – £2.84 ($1.89) brand new, which is just ridiculous.’
This is Paul D Brazill at his best; the humour is just tongue in cheek but the descriptive prose is perfection. It is so atmospheric it appeals to all the senses; I swear that there was one moment when I could even smell the cigarette smoke curling into the air of the bar (that I looked around the room for some evidence of it). This is a Roman Dalton anthology which begins with the Brazill ‘Drunk on the Moon’, a zombie/werewolf collection. If you read any of this book, you must read the first especially if you are a writer, a would-be writer or a ‘wish I was’ a writer – here is the first lesson. Had me totally intrigued just from the exquisite prose, the story is merely incidental. His dedication, however, to women with red lipstick is as cameo as Hitchcock’s appearance in his own films, if you read enough of his books you’ll know what I mean. Excellent! Pat McDonald British Crime Author.
‘Too Many Crooks was the longest story that I’ve read from this author and man…what a story. I think that anyone who can write of Iron Maiden and Makers Mark in the same story will find a fan in me. A recommended quick crime read. I’ll be looking into more from this writer.’
A thrilling journey to places you don’t want to visit, especially in your dreams. Death and drama served up with a fascinating slice of life on the edge of society. An intense read, I was glad to get out alive when the story ended !
There aren’t many better ways of spending a couple of hour’s reading-time than in the company of one of Brazill’s books…… mystery, cultural references, action, violence, enough boozing to sink a battleship, memorable characters and a genius for situational comedy
‘They’re coming fast and furious from Paul D. Brazill: it’s another cracking Near to the Knuckle novella from Mr B, the hardest working man in Brit Grit. This is #9 in the series and like the others a rip-snorter of mayhem and it’s got plenty of humour.
Big City Blues ranges across Europe and over to the colonies, or at least New York, which is a world of its own. Brazill always like a sprawling jumble of wild threads which he slowly knits together over the course of the unpredictable events and connections. Even his Seatown stories make the small burg feel complex. It’s not like wild coincidences either; it’s more like Six Degrees of Separation — or in this case, maybe only three degrees.
There’s a joyful abundance that teeters on the baroque: old cons, old cops, young geezers, unpredictable collisions of desire and convenience, and always sudden bone-crunching violence lurking around the next corner. Some of the jokes my grandfather would know but with a twist that makes them new again, and so many original observations that had me laughing out loud with surprise. And don’t tell anybody but hiding in between the laughs, the grimaces, the double crossing and the name dropping, you’ll find heart-searing observations about the walking wounded and some prose that will knock your socks off:
The night had draped itself over the city, and the moon bit into the sky. He stopped on the neon-soaked street to breathe in the sultry air. He could smell the lust, the sin and the decay.
A shard of sunlight sliced through the blinds, picking out specks of dust that floated in the air. An old electric kettle boiled in another room. A refrigerator hummed. A dishwasher chugged dully. A mangy black and white cat strolled across the newly polished bar before curling up on a wooden bar stool and going to sleep.’
Over at SOLARCIDE I’m interviewed by NATHAN PETTIGREW and talk about TOO MANY CROOKS, London, boozing and more.
Pubs and alcohol are main characters in your work. When an idea for a story comes to you, does it already start in that setting? Are your characters already there having drinks when they are first conceived?
Ah. Well, as someone who has spent far too much of his life in pubs it seems a natural setting. It’s not a great stretch. Also, when people go to pubs they usually talk- or they did before WiFi Hotspots- and they usually talk rubbish, which can be pretty funny. I like to think I write absurdist fiction and most people in pubs are absurd or say something absurd at some part of the night.
TOM LIENS has a new feature at his blog where writers talk about their influences. I plump for TONY HANCOCK.
Tony Hancock – the easiest comedian for charades – and I share the same birthday, May 12th. Whether or not we share the same death day remains to be seen, of course, and let’s just hope we can put that little fact-finding mission on hold for a while, eh?