‘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?
‘This is just the second Paul Brazill book that I have read but I have already gone on to buy another two. Absolutely brilliant writing. I really am loving these books. So very highly recommended and addictive.’
‘Reading Brazill gave me the same sort of enjoyment I get when reading Jim Thompson, characters filling their desperation with alcohol, fornication, and crime. As with Thompson, Brazill knows that the human condition is weak and is punctuated with violence and/or death.’
Paul Brazill gives us another slice of Brit Grit in the unique style only he can wield. With characters ranging the class, (and moral), spectrum, Too Many Crooks is just that. A tale of too many people chasing the wrong kind of loot. Think, it’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World but with a couple more of those adjectives thrown in there.
Settle in, pour yourself a couple of pints, and get ready for a mad, fun dash through Europe’s seedy– and oft-times funny–underbelly.
Some great stuff here from the master of Brit Grit Paul D. Brazill. Each of the five stories (connected via hard-drinking, fast-loving Brit abroad Luke Case) builds upon the last and connects wonderfully to a denouement that masterfully rounds out Case’s character development.