Category Archives: short sharp interviews

Short, Sharp Interview: Chris Bell.

faces-in-things-coverPDB: Can you pitch FACES IN THINGS  in 25 words or less?

“My second story collection, all written in New Zealand, a variety of genres including food, music, science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, 13 previously unpublished.”

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Music: Anything by Thelonious Monk because you can’t argue with the man who said, ‘The piano ain’t got no wrong notes.’ A piece of music I don’t so much wish I’d written as often wish I had playing while writing is the David Sylvian (of Japan) and Holger Czukay (of Can) collaboration ‘Plight and Premonition’. It’s full of the spiralling of winter ghosts and Czukay’s virtuoso twiddling of radio dials lends the promise of creative potential lurking behind the ambience and bursts of interference.

Book: ‘Pilgermann’ by Russell Hoban, for its sheer audacity of vision and the fact that it was (in my view unjustly) overshadowed by his post-apocalyptic Huck Finn, ‘Riddley Walker’. ‘Pilgermann’ is a magical realist’s history of the Crusades as if from the palette of Hieronymus Bosch. It so vividly depicts ancient Antioch that I once dreamt I was an owl flying over its ruins.

Film: Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’ is my favourite film and an important inspiration. It takes true genius to make a funny dystopia, and Gilliam’s interpretation of Tom Stoppard’s screenplay is so detailed and multi-faceted that I never tire of watching it.

Songs: Justin Currie’s ‘No, Surrender’ (part one: part two: and ‘The Fight To Be Human’ ( – audio only), which between them encapsulate pretty much everything I wish I’d said about modern life and then some.

TV: ‘Fargo’. I was sceptical before watching a TV extrapolation of a classic film and didn’t expect to enjoy it (in fact, the first time I saw the Coen Brothers’ film I was underwhelmed by it, but Carter Burwell’s theme and musical score crept up on me slowly over the years and eventually the film lodged itself in my consciousness). Season One of the TV show was superbly written and cast. Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Allison Tolman gave such extraordinary performances that now I’m sceptical about the prospect of Season Two – could the producers possibly pull it off again?”

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

“I wrote a screenplay version of my first novel, ‘Liquidambar’ ( – which is set in the world of 12 of Edward Hopper’s paintings – and years ago had talks about it with Weta Digital’s Richard Taylor and Gayle Munro. Richard kindly offered to make a show reel at no cost if I could interest a producer. I tried but needless to say failed.

“My latest novel, ‘Songshifting’ ( – a dystopia set in an alternative world of touring bands gigging under a repressive regime headed by a shadowy impresario – also has filmic potential, but I imagine most writers say that about their most recent work because if it doesn’t come alive in their own heads they haven’t done a good enough job of imagining it.”

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

“In chronological order of reading: Stephen King for ‘The Stand’, ‘The Shining’, ‘Christine’, ‘Cujo’, ‘The Dead Zone’ and ‘Different Seasons’; Russell Hoban for every one of his novels; Richard Brautigan for ‘Sombrero Fallout’ and ‘So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away’;

Russell H. Greenan for ‘It Happened In Boston?’; J. P. Donleavy for ‘A Fairy Tale of New York’ and ‘The Ginger Man’; Martin Amis for ‘London Fields’; Thomas Pynchon for ‘Inherent Vice’; Graham Greene for everything of his that I’ve read; Evelyn Waugh for ‘Scoop’; Richard Price for ‘Clockers’ and ‘Lush Life’; and W. Somerset Maugham for ‘The Narrow Corner’.


PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

It would probably be one of Tommy Cooper’s. How about, “This man knocks at his neighbour’s door and the neighbour’s wife answers. ‘Hello,’ says the man, ‘is Charlie in?’ The woman says, ‘I’m sorry but Charlie died last night.’ The man says, ‘Oh. He didn’t say anything about a can of paint?’”

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

“Inevitably this changes over time – music is indispensable to me while working; as my protagonist Rarity Dean says in ‘Songshifting’, ‘A day with no soundtrack is a wasted day.’ I’ve always loved Elvis Costello’s ‘Shipbuilding’, and I even love all the different cover versions of it – from Robert Wyatt’s ( to Suede’s ( and tRANSELEMENt’s (, as well as Elvis’s recording with the late Chet Baker’s trumpet solo (audio: Who’d have thought you could write a pop hit about the Falklands War?

“But my favourite song is currently another Justin Currie beauty called ‘Little Stars’ ( about the pathos and wonder of weddings. As I’ve said elsewhere, no one writes about love and loss better than the former Del Amitri frontman. He’s a pop Leonardo da Vinci – without the long beard and with a better accent.”

PDB: What’s on the cards?

“I’m almost halfway through the first draft of the second part of my ‘Songshifting’ trilogy, which has the working title ‘Requiem For Stage Diver & Bass Guitar’. ‘Songshifting’ plays against the scuffed backdrop of an oppressive regime and is set in an alternative present or a skewed future in which hats are back in style and musicians have developed what seem to be supernatural abilities – during their concerts they levitate, disappear or induce extreme physical reactions among the punters. The impresario has prohibited recordings and home entertainment, meanwhile administering a drug called Sentimental Hygiene at gigs as a secret form of crowd control. I’ve been told this is implausible by people who apparently haven’t noticed what’s going on in the world right now.

“The second book will be a murder mystery in the same setting and with some of the same characters.”

PDB: Anything else?

“My homage to the ghost stories of the 1920s, ‘Shem-el-Nessim’, is set to appear in Eric J. Guignard’s US anthology ‘The Five Senses of Horror’ this year.”

There’s a ‘Songshifting’ website – a kind of wiki for all the bands and characters that appear in the novel – here: and the rest of my stuff is here:

chris-bellBio:  Chris Bell was born in Holyhead, North Wales. After working as a musician, a messenger for a small London record company, a freelance music journalist and as editor of Soundcheck!, he moved to Hamburg, Germany where he was employed by a guitar company and an independent music publisher before emigrating in 1997 to New Zealand. His short stories have appeared in The Third Alternative; Postscripts; Grotesque; The Heidelberg Review; TransVersions; Not One of Us and Takahe, as well as on the internet. His short story ‘The Cruel Countess’ was anthologised in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror (10th Annual Edition), in which his collection The Bumper Book of Lies received an honourable mention. ‘Shem-el-Nessim’ appeared in This Is The Summer of Love, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21 and That Haunted Feeling. His poetry has been published in Workshop New Poetry; Snorkel; foam:e and the New Zealand Listener. His first novel, Liquidambar, won UKAuthors’ ‘Search For A Great Read’ competition.

Short, Sharp Interview: Tom Leins

wu-tang-antho-coverPDB: Can you pitch This Book Ain’t Nuttin to Fuck with: A Wu-Tang Tribute Anthology in 25 words or less?

Tremendous hip-hop inspired collection edited by Christoph Paul and Grant Wamack. My story, INCARCERATED SCARFACES, is a Paignton Noir remix of Van Damme’s Death Warrant!

 PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Music: Mule Variations by Tom Waits, and Hold On in particular. That song and album introduced me to his work back in ’99, and remain firm favourites.

Book: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. An absolutely devastating piece of work. If I were to read it again since becoming a father it would probably destroy me!

Film: Pulp Fiction. Most of my nominal ‘Top 10’ movies would probably be drawn from the 1990s, back when video shops still ruled the roost. Tarantino has plenty of detractors nowadays, but the Reservoir Dogs-Pulp Fiction one-two punch still excites me.

TV show: Breaking Bad. Such a smart, multi-faceted show. Excellent storytelling, and great attention to detail.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

I would love to see a Paignton Noir TV series one day. Regional voices have always done well in the UK cop-show world, and I would like to see my shabby seaside town given the same treatment. It would be great to shine a light on the sun-blurred beaches, dilapidated caravan parks, murky amusement arcades and time-ravaged pubs that are this town’s stock-in-trade. I’m working on a ten-book series, starting with ‘Boneyard Dogs’, so there is plenty of scope for small-screen action. (Of course, I need to get the actual books published first…!)

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

Far too many to mention, so I will namecheck the writer I have been reading back-to-back in recent weeks: Adrian McKinty. I thoroughly enjoyed his Dead trilogy years ago, but his Sean Duffy series – set in 1980s Northern Ireland – sees him raise his game to dizzy new heights. The volatile backdrop provides extra frisson, and the mysteries themselves are impeccably put together. Plus, anyone who uses Tom Waits lyrics as book titles is worthy of our attention, right?

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

My literary career!

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

To answer this question properly would take me weeks of contemplation and research, so I will defer to the all-time most-played track on my iPod: ‘Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable)’ by James Brown and 2Pac, as featured on the Django Unchained soundtrack.

tomleins-2017-bwPDB: What’s on the cards?

My story THE STOOGE is in the first issue of the brand new California crime magazine Switchblade, edited by Scotch Rutherford. It is one of the nastiest stories I have ever written, and has little in common with anything else I have ever published. After that, my story HERE COMES THAT WEIRD CHILL features in ‘More Bizarro Than Bizarro’, the new anthology from Bizarro Pulp Press, edited by Vincenzo Bilof. It is Paignton Gothic rather than Paignton Noir – a slight departure from my regular stuff. In terms of flash fiction, I have a new batch of wrestling noir stories in the pipeline, which I hope people dig.

PDB: Anything else?

Thank you for having me, Paul!

Bio: Tom Leins is a disgraced ex-film critic from Paignton, UK. His short stories have been published by the likes of Akashic Books, Shotgun HoneyNear to the KnuckleRevolution John and Spelk. He is currently working on a novella called Boneyard Dogs. Get your pound of flesh at

Short, Sharp Interview: Lesley Welsh

20160524_195220PDB: Can you pitch TRUTH LIES BURIED in 25 words or less?

Female ex-solder with dodgy past saves savvy dead gangster’s kid from vengeful step-mother and deadly villains.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows do you wish you had written?

Songs. For Free by Joni Mitchell, or I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Rait. But especially any of the lyrics of Lorenz Hart.

Books. Crow Road by Iain Banks.

Films. Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead or The Guard.

TV Shows. Mash, Deadwood or Traffic.

PDB: Which books do you think would make great films or TV series?


PDB: Who are the great British writers?

I think that Paul D Brazill is rather spiffing.

PDB: What’s the ex-pat life like for you?

I have met and mix with lots of people here in Spain from all walks of life, most of whom I would never have met in the UK. For example, one friend was a prison governor in England, others were police officers and one was in close security work. I exploit their expertise mercilessly for research purposes and they get a mention in acknowledgments and a free copy of the book in return. A bargain all round I think.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a dark and disturbing (or so they tell me) tale of a serial killer and now have a new publisher for that. The title is still to be finalised but they like ‘The Serial Killer’s Daughter,’ so we may go with that. I have just signed a two book contract with that publisher and they want another in the same genre delivered in by May. Gulp!!!

PDB: Anything else?

I am currently finishing off a novel of the hard-boiled variety for Thomas & Mercer who published Truth Lies Buried and hope they’ll give that the green light too. But, of course, there are no guarantees.

lesley-welsh_croppedBio: Lesley Welsh was born in Strawberry Filed children’s home and raised on a notorious council estate in Liverpool. Later she moved to London where she studied English and Drama and worked as a freelance writer specialising in alternative lifestyles. Her articles appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Calire, Red, Bite, Time Out and many others before she established Moondance Media, a magazine publishing company. Her dark and compelling short story Mrs Webster’s Obesssion was turned into a film. She now lives and works in Spain.


bloody-paradisePDB: Can you pitch BLOODY PARADISE in 25 words or less?

Trav lands on the Thai resort island of Samui with a broken hand, a bag full of cash and a triad boss on his tail.

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

When I was fourteen, the answer would have been the Bond books. Good enough.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

BLOODY PARADISE has the right blend of succinctness, big-screen backdrop, and suspense for a popcorn movie. Rated R.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

Jim Thompson, Yoko Ogawa, Lawrence Osborne, David Mitchell, Raymond Chandler, Homer.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

I asked the hawker in the wet market how he prepares his chickens. He said it’s simple: “I just tell them they are going to die.”

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

Once everybody’s liquored up, I do a mean karaoke rendition of “Sweet Child of Mine”.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

More international pulp thrillers.

PDB: Anything else?

Download some free chapters at my website,!

Bio: Jame DiBiasio is the author of BLOODY PARADISE, as well as GAIJIN COWGIRL (Crime Wave Press) and the non-fiction THE STORY OF ANGKOR (Silkworm Books). He was born in the US and lives in Hong Kong.

Short, Sharp Interview: Sally Pane, translator of Red-handed in Romanée-Conti, by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen.

red-handed-in-romanee-contiPDB: Can you pitch Red-Handed in Romanée-Conti in 25 words or less?

Amid blackmail and betrayal, a murder victim is discovered in the ruins of an abbey as a catastrophic hailstorm threatens Burgundy’s prized vineyards.

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Daphne du Maurier’s “Don’t Look Now, or Nicholas Roeg’s film adaptation of it. I recently sleuthed around Venice to find the filming locations for the movie and still get chills down my spine from this compelling psychological thriller.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

Actually, the Winemaker Detective series, including Red-Handed in Romanée-Conti, has been adapted for a TV series in France. The French TV versions differ sometimes in plot, but it’s delightful to see scenery of the myriad vineyards and wine-growing areas of France on display.winemaker-detective

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

Iris Murdoch, Nabokov, Thomas Hardy, Patricia Highsmith, Geoff Dyer

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

My own: I must admit, I tend to blame my mistakes on other people, but I get that from my mother.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

Starman [David Bowie], Beeswing [Richard Thompson], It’s been a long time coming [Sam Cooke]

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Now that Red-Handed in Romanée-Conti has been released, I’m working on translating another Winemaker Detective mystery about Chateau d’Yquem. Believe it or not, it isn’t based on the LVHM take-over, although you’ll definitely understand how these things can happen the more you read these mysteries. After that, I am translating an intriguing story involving a famous French actor who, while trying to create a great vintage, faces a heart-breaking tragedy.sally-pane

 PDB: Anything else?

Thank you, Paul!

Bio: Sally Pane has translated several books in the Winemaker Detective series [written by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen] for Le French Book, including Nightmare in Burgundy, Deadly Tasting, Cognac Conspiracies, Mayhem in Margaux, Flambé in Armagnac, Montmartre Mysteries, Late Harvest Havoc and Tainted Tokay.


Short, Sharp Interview: Ryan Bracha


PDB: Can you pitch Phoebe Jeebies and The Man Who Annoyed Everybody in 25 words or less?

Borderline sociopath struggles to differentiate between comedy and nastiness as he tries to impress a girl with how he came to irritate people for money.

 PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

The list gets smaller and smaller all the time for this. Music gets worse, films get worse, telly gets worse, the older and less with it I get. Books don’t, books get better. That said, anything by Tom Waits I wish I’d written, really digging Goin Out West and Hell Broke Luce just now. Films, I dunno, I wish I’d written maybe This Year’s Love. I like a great concept done well. TV shows has to be Black Mirror. Charlie Brooker has a remarkably similar outlook on life to me as far as I can tell. He just worked harder than me. Book will always be The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. I’ll echo my earlier statement about a good concept. For me, this has the best.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

My books? I think The Dead Man Trilogy has a lot of scope for a three series run, especially with the current political climate edging my fiction closer and closer to reality. I wrote The Switched as intentionally unfilmable (unless the French wanted to have a go), so I couldn’t see that working unless it was toned right down. I’m working on adapting Phoebe Jeebies and The Man Who Annoyed Everybody as a three part series as we speak, so you never know. I’ve got my wishlist of actors; Chanel Cresswell, Nicholas Hoult, Cumberbatch, Vic Reeves. I’d probably get Dean Gaffney and Natalie Cassidy.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

Traditionally published writers are Irvine Welsh, Hubert Selby Jr, Chuck Palahniuk. Guys who push boundaries and tell stories on their own terms. At the minute, however, Welsh is losing my respect a little, because he won’t just leave his old characters alone, and they’re becoming tiresome parodies of themselves. My favourite indie writers are the ever impressive Mark Wilson, Martin Stanley, and Craig Furchtenicht. I really like J. David Osborne’s style, too. He’s probably going to go on to great things.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

How many racists does it take to change a light bulb? One; he’s an electrician, he just has strange funny ideas on life.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

At present, Goin’ Out West by Tom Waits. He’s got hair on his chest and he looks good without a shirt. I don’t need anything else from a song other than a hirsute man with an iron throat. Looking good topless, of course.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Very busy year planned. Alongside the adaptation of Phoebe Jeebies and The Man Who Annoyed Everybody (and the inevitable failed attempts to get it made), I have the second book from my After Call Work series to release in early 2017, titled Gross Misconduct. Also, I wrote Phoebe Jeebies from the point of the view of the annoying man, so I’d like to write a similarly cynical romance novel from a female perspective, then I’ll rest for a bit whilst I plan the third After Call Work book. I have just less than three years to write a further six books for the fifteen novels I told Sandi Toksvig I’d write before I hit 40, and I haven’t let Tokkers down for anything yet.

 PDB: Anything else?

Have I told you lately, that I love you?

Bio: Ryan Bracha is the author of nine novels and a collection of stories. He has topped some of the most obscure charts that Amazon has to offer, including Humour – Lawyers and Criminals, Fiction Mashups and Humour – Satire. He has had more number ones than Afroman, East 17, Pato Banton, Feargal Sharkey and Limp Bizkit combined, and with a reputation for highly original and subversive fiction, he’s probably going to die as an unknown genius. Phoebe Jeebies and The Man Who Annoyed Everybody is his latest, genuinely his greatest, and probably most commercial novel yet. He lives in the literary capital of the north- Barnsley -with his wife and daughter.



moorlandsPDB: Can you pitch  your latest book in 25 words or less?

JASON: 22 shorts, novelettes, and a novella, featuring violence, rotten goings-on, smart-arses, dumbos, and a dodgy inn-keeper, all with dirty hands and stress-addled minds.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows do you wish you had written?

JASON: I wish I’d written Ellroy’s American Tabloid, Iain Banks’ The Crow Road, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, and Ray Banks’ Matador. I’d beam with pride if I’d come up with Faith No More’s Angel Dust, Nirvana’s Nevermind, Radiohead’s The Bends, and Super Furry Animals’ Fuzzy Logic. I’m sure there’s been good music since.

 PDB: Which books do you think would make great films or TV series?

JASON: Ray Banks’ Matador would make a brilliant film. I think I’d sweat and squirm as much as I did watching Breaking Bad. Ryan Bracha’s After Call Work: Verbal Warning would make a great Happy Valley-style TV series.

 PDB: Who are the great British writers?

JASON: Charles Dickens, Graham Greene, Iain Banks – but I’m struggling here because I read far more American authors than Brits.

PDB: What’s the ex-pat life like for you?

JASON: I love it in the United States. There’s nothing like being able to go for a wander round New York or Philadelphia whenever you fancy it, though I wish they had better boozers outside of the big cities. The idea of jolly Americans and cynical Brits doesn’t ring true, though.  There are a lot of very cynical people over here, and it seems a lot stronger than back home. However, they’ll invite you into their homes at the drop of a hat. We met a couple in Vermont once who we hit it off with. Ended up in the shed in their back garden that very night, which they’d converted into a bar. Had a great time. Just don’t bring up politics.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

JASON: I’m working on the next novel, City of Dens, which I hope to have ready by next summer.

jason-beechPDB: Anything else?

JASON: I’ve recently released my novel, Moorlands, which spiked and sold a ton in the last few weeks, and I’m hoping Bullets, Teeth, & Fists 2 gets a few more readers.

I’ve just read Ed Chatterton’s Remission, which is great. I’m looking forward to The German Messenger by David Malcolm and Chastity Flame by K.A. Laity.

Bio: Jason Beech grew up around the flattened bricks of post-industrial Sheffield in the UK. He now lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter. His novel, Moorlands, and the Bullets collections are available on Amazon now.

Short, Sharp Interview: Richard Wall

fat-man-bluesPDB: Can you pitch FAT MAN BLUES in 25 words or less?

RW: After a deal at the crossroads, an English blues-man travels to 1930s Mississippi Delta and soon discovers the harsh realities behind the music he loves.

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

RW:       Book – Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Music/Song – Anything on Exile on Main St. by The Rolling Stones

Films – Blues Brothers

TV Show – Breaking Bad

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

RW: Fat Man Blues

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

RW: Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

RW:       1. Knock Knock

  1. Who’s There?
  2. The Interrupting Cow
  3. The Interrupting Co…
  4. Moo

 PDB: What’s your favourite song?

RW: Down the Dirt Road Blues by Charley Patton

PDB: What’s on the cards? 

RW: Well, I’ve written a screenplay adaption for Fat Man Blues, which is being considered by the agent of an A-list Hollywood actor, so there’s that… I’m also currently writing the sequel to Fat Man Blues, the working title is ‘Alabama Charlie.’

PDB: Anything else?

RW: I’ve had an idea for a collection of short stories based around a used-car lot in the boondocks of Texas.

Bio: I was born in England in 1962, and grew up in a small market town in rural Herefordshire before joining the Royal Navy. After 22 years in the submarine service and having travelled extensively, I now live in Worcestershire, where I work as a freelance Technical Author.

I’ve had a keen interest in writing since childhood, and I’ve had poems published in magazines and newspapers and have appeared several times at Ledbury Poetry Festival.

My first stab at prose writing produced the short story, “Evel Knievel and The Fat Elvis Diner”

The Last Laugh is currently only 99p!

last laugh new (1)
The Last Laugh

My short story collection, THE LAST LAUGH, is currently a KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL, which means it’s only 99p for the next few days.

From France, to Spain, to the north east of England, hit men, gangsters, corrupt cops, drunks, punks, and petty thieves all tumble toward the abyss. The stories in The Last Laugh are vivid and violent slices of Brit Grit and international noir, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to cut your throat. The Last Laugh is a violent and blackly comic look at life through a shot glass darkly.

“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)

“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)

‘Brazill isn’t just a writer; he’s a poet and you can take any of his stories and write a master’s thesis on just the language employed.’- Les Edgerton (Bomb!, The Bitch)’


Short, Sharp Interview: Benedict J Jones

devilsbrewforprPDB: Can you pitch THE DEVIL’S BREW in 25 words or less?

Urban noir meets rural horror; dog fights, horse mutilation, private eyes, country cults – dark secrets and danger lurk behind every hedge!

 PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Well, I always say I’d prefer to write my own stuff BUT if I had written The Damnation Game (Clive Barker), Red Dragon (Thomas Harris), or The Friends of Eddie Coyle (George V Higgins) I’d be pretty chuffed with myself. Likewise if I had written the TV shows True Detective, The Shadow Line, or Edge of Darkness (original BBC series rather than Hollywood remake).

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

It would have to be the Charlie Bars stories and books. I think they would lend themselves well to a down and grimy adaptation. After seeing the recent success of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor books being adapted to the small screen it has made me believe that we might be seeing a resurgence of real noir on the TV. The only problem would be deciding who could play Charlie!

 PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

It is always difficult to distil it down to a few names but I’ll give it a go; Jim Thompson, Chester Himes, Umberto Eco, Clive Barker, Ken Bruen, Adam Nevill, and Donald Ray Pollack.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

I think jokes are becoming something of a lost art – I remember when my dad would come home from work on a night with a new joke, or someone would tell one at school, it this digital era we seem to have lost that somewhere.

My favourite would have to be about the monkey being interviewed after the coach crash – I’ve seen it written down but it’s funnier with the visuals. If you haven’t heard (and seen) it you should…

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

That’s nearly as difficult as the favourite writers! Right now I’ll go for; Slick Rick’s “I own America Pt II”, Nas’ “Halftime”, and Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World”.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Well, the new novel “The Devil’s Brew” is dropping now so I’m looking forward to seeing what people, especially those who enjoyed “Pennies for Charon” and “Skewered”, will make of this one.

It seems for the past few years I’ve mainly been caught up in my longer works so I‘ve been giving some much needed attention to various pieces of short fiction that should be coming out.

I have recently finished a further Charlie Bars novel and I am also working on a pair of longer works that combine WW2 and horror (with a healthy dose of noir).

ben jones PDB: Anything else?

Just a big “thank you!” to you, Paul – cheers.

Bio: Benedict J Jones lives in London. He writes crime, horror and western fiction. He has had over thirty short stories published as well as the collections “Skewered; And other London cruelties” and “Ride the Dark Country”, the novellas “Slaughter Beach” and “Mulligan’s Idol”, as well as the novels “Pennies for Charon” and “The Devil’s Brew” both featuring his ex-con turned private eye Charlie “Bars” Constantinou.

Short, Sharp Interview: Elka Ray


saigon-darkPDB: Can you pitch SAIGON DARK in 25 words or less?

A grieving mom makes a grim choice, then struggles to hide her secret. When she’s found out, disaster ensues. Will her family survive?

 PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

I wish I’d written Scott Smith’s utterly compelling psychological thriller “A Simple Plan”.

As well as writing adult fiction, I write and illustrate kids’ books. Anyone who’s been forced to read a lame kids’ book over and over again knows how torturous it can be. Books like “Room on the Broom” that are funny and have perfect rhythm are gold: “I am a frog, as clean as can be. Is there room on the broom for a frog like me?”

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

My new book, Saigon Dark, was turned into a screenplay. Whether anything will come of it remains to be seen, but it would make a good scary suspense movie.

 PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

The UK has a crop of stunningly smart current female crime writers: Tana French, Belinda Bauer, Denise Mina.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

While I love a good tune, it’s the lyrics that stay with me:

There are places I remember all my life

Though some have changed

Some forever, not for better

Some have gone and some remain

(The Beatles, In My Life)


“I been bluffin’ with my muffin…”

(Lady Gaga, Poker Face)

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

Perfect timing, as the festive season looms:


PDB: What’s on the cards?

elkaMy short story collection, “What You Don’t Know: Tales of Obsession, Mystery & Murder in Southeast Asia, came out last summer and got a good response. More dark short stories keep creeping into my head.

Bio: Elka Ray is a Canadian/UK author and illustrator who lives in Central Vietnam. When she’s not reading, writing or drawing, she’s in the ocean.


Short, Sharp Interview: Evangeline Jennings

burning-down-the-housePDB: Can you pitch BURNING DOWN THE HOUSEBURNING DOWN THE HOUSE in 25 words or less?

EJ: The dumbing down of America leads to the end of days. Something about tiny fingers and a well-regulated militia.

 PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

EJ: 4’33”. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The Social Network. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts. Veronica Mars. And far too many others for a short sharp interview. But if I’d written Lost, it wouldn’t have ended up shite.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

EJ: Much of my crime fiction would make for decent movies. Burning Down the House is so episodic it could only ever work on TV.

 PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

EJ: PG Wodehouse. Terry Pratchett. Iain (M) Banks. Martin Millar. Andrew Vachss. Lawrence Block. Donald Westlake. Nick Tosches. Agatha Christie. Me.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

EJ: Guns don’t kill people.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

EJ: “Roadrunner” by the Modern Lovers

evangalinePDB: What’s on the cards?

EJ: The American electorate will save mankind, or not. Liverpool FC will fail heroically again. I will write some stupid good shit.

 PDB: Anything else?

EJ: My partner in crime, Lucy Middlemass and I are launching a new publisher-y thing shortly. It will be called Furious. And we will do such things—what they are yet I know not—but they shall be the terrors of the earth.

Bio: I’ve done nothing. I’ve achieved nothing. I work for a firm but I want to burn it down.

Short, Sharp Interview: Tom Vater

tmgmcoverPDB: Can you pitch The Man with the Golden Mind in 25 words or less?

The Man with the Golden Mind is a detective thriller set against the backdrop of the CIA’s covert war in Laos in the 1960s.

.PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Any old shit that made millions, really. Then it would be easier to carry on exactly as I am doing now, writing bleak, noirish tales of human frailty.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu, The Detective Maier mysteries.

 PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

Joseph Conrad, Mikhail Bulgakov, Raymond Chandler, Graham Greene, Peter Matthiessen, Patricia Highsmith, Chester Himes, David Goodis, Jim Thompson, William Burroughs, Paul Bowles, Charles Bukowski, John D. MacDonald, Ross MacDonald, JG Ballard, Harry Crews, Katherine Dunn, Massimo Carlotto, Philip Kerr, Michel Houellebecq.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

There was this penguin that was breathing through its arse. One day it sat down and died.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

Oh dear. Kick out the Jams, Motherfuckers.

tom vaterPDB: What’s on the cards?

Just finished writing The Monsoon Ghost Image, the third Detective Maier novel, which is set in Thailand, and send my German private eye on the search for the world’s most wanted photograph which is said to reveal the darkest side of the US’ war on terror.

 PDB: Anything else?

My publishing house Crime Wave Press has four new, utterly gripping titles out in November. Pretty chuffed about that.

Bio: Tom Vater is a writer, publisher and journalist based in Asia. He is the author of three novels, including The Cambodian Book of the Dead and The Man with the Golden Mind, both featuring former war correspondent turned detective Maier solving heinous crimes in Southeast Asia. He is also the co-owner of Crime Wave Press, a Hong Kong based imprint that has published some thirty crime novels to date.

Short, Sharp Interview: Frank Westworth

fifth-columnistSHORT, SHARP INTERVIEW: Frank Westworth, talking about his new quick thriller, Fifth Columnist

PDB: Can you pitch FIFTH COLUMNIST in 25 words or less?

FW:   Good guy, bad cop, mistaken identities; good hooker, wannabee pimp, car chase with just the one car; sudden death and crawling from the wreckage.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows do you wish you had written?

FW: Music: Born Under A Bad Sign. Film: Prometheus. TV show? That’s a hard one. Probably True Detective the first season, but brilliance is so unapproachable.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make great films or TV series?

FW: FIRST CONTRACT would make an unusual film … and an even more unusual TV series. Shows a soldier doing what soldiers are paid to do, suffering the consequences, being fired and recruited on the same day, then doing more of the same illegally and getting paid by the government to do it.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

FW: James Crumley, James Church, James Lee Burke, Karin Fossum, Fred Vargas, Juli Zeh, Arnaldur Indriðason, RJ Ellory. In no order at all.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

FW: Two short stories set in the JJ Stoner sequence are wading through production hell; FIFTH COLUMNIST arrives imminently and SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP is being polished for an anthology. Final novel in the Killing Sister trilogy – THE REDEMPTION OF CHARM – is out in the Spring 2017 and the fourth in the trilogy is on its way through the writing process. I know, I know…

PDB: Anything else?

FW: Noir is never enough.

Bio: Frank Westworth shares several characteristics with his literary anti-hero, JJ Stoner: they both play mean blues guitar and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Unlike Stoner, Frank hasn’t deliberately killed anyone. Frank lives in Cornwall in the UK, with his guitars, motorcycles, partner and cat.






Frank’s new quick thriller, FIFTH COLUMNIST, is published on 14 September 2016. It features covert operative JJ Stoner, who uses sharp blades and blunt instruments to discreetly solve problems for the UK government. A bent copper is compromising national security and needs to be swiftly neutralised, but none of the evidence will stand up in court. That’s exactly why men like Stoner operate in the shadows, ready to terminate the target once an identity is confirmed…

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:


Sneak preview:

‘And there I was, thinking you were just a hired gun.’ She smiled. He did not.

‘You want a gun, ma’am, I’ll bring one. I need to know the situation before selecting the weapon.’ He cracked the smallest of smiles. ‘An RPG is hard to hide in a tux, ma’am. No matter how pleased I may be to see you.’