Category Archives: Warsaw

Col’s Criminal Library reviews Too Many Crooks

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And says:

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

Read the rest here.

More 5 STAR Reviews For Too Many Crooks

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Too Many Crooks

Over at Amazon.com, Hector Duarte Jr says:

on March 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

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.

 

And Chris Rhatigan says:

on March 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Plenty of gallows humor and dive bars in this short, sharp read that alternates between London and Poland. Another winner from Brazill.

A Case Of Noir Is Out Now!

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A Case Of Noir

In snow smothered Warsaw, Luke Case, a boozy English hack with a dark secret, starts a dangerous affair with a gangster’s wife. Case escapes to the sweltering Spanish heat where he meets a colourful cast of characters, including a mysterious torch singer and a former East End villain with a criminal business proposition. While in stormy Toulouse, he encounters a blast from the past that is positively seismic which forces him to return to England and confront his past.

A Case Of Noir is a strong shot of blackly comic international noir from Paul D. Brazill.

You can get the eBook of the rebooted A CASE OF NOIR (NEAR TO THE KNUCKLE) from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and any other Amazon. The paperback is on its way.

Pat McDonald Reviews Too Many Crooks

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Too Many Crooks

Over at the Amazons, crime writer Pat McDonald says:

on February 20, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Cherchez the valuable and original Nazi Totenkopfring a death head ring purported to be owned by Himmler whom it is reputed gave away copies to his SS favourites. The search to find the genuine article swings back and forth from London to Warsaw, and is interspersed with violent vendettas to be settled in a way only Mr Brazill can imagine. The characters are straight out of the ‘essential guide to the underworld’ making you wonder how they survived for so long.
Another noir comedy (more tongue in cheek than slapstick) where the women are beautiful but dangerous – you just have to love that – and Boots or Rimmell would love to sponsor their own range of red lipstick! An explosive ending that you just can’t miss. Nice one, keep them coming! Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

Pre-order A Case Of Noir for 99p!

a-case-of-noir-n2tkThe eBook of the all-new A CASE OF NOIR is available for pre-order and it’s only 99p!

Here’s the blurb:

In snow smothered Warsaw, Luke Case, a boozy English hack with a dark secret, starts a dangerous affair with a gangster’s wife. Case escapes to the sweltering Spanish heat where he meets a colourful cast of characters, including a mysterious torch singer and a former East End villain with a criminal business proposition. While in stormy Toulouse, he encounters a blast from the past that is positively seismic which forces him to return to England and confront his past.

A Case Of Noir is a strong shot of international noir from Paul D. Brazill.

You can grab it from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and any other Amazon that takes your fancy. The paperback is on its way.

Warren Stalley Reviews Too Many Crooks

too-many-crooksOver at Amazon.co.uk Warren Stalley says:

5.0 out of 5 starsSeven Dollars on the Red

Right from the start of Too Many Crooks there’s a blast of violence and gallows humour which sets the tone for the latest novel by talented Brit Grit author Paul D Brazill. The narrative follows various dubious criminals caught up in the search for the valuable Nazi Totenkopfring. Can amnesiac victim McGuffin stay alive long enough in Poland to recover his memory and find the ring? What connection does he have to Leslie Hawkins and her husband Sydney back in England who are also looking for the ring? Too Many Crooks is littered with the usual Brazill razor sharp one liners honed to perfection, as the eccentric characters’ weave in and out of trouble in England and Poland. To summarise this is another polished winner and one of the very best pieces of work from Paul D Brazill.’

Dominic Milne reviews A Case Of Noir

a case of black‘Luke Case is every bit the worthy protagonist of this archetypal piece of noir. His capacity for hard living is only just surpassed by his will to survive, in this fast-moving Euro-crime caper. Case doesn’t so much step on toes, as climb all over the clutches of the various gangsters he meets along the way, making his way from Poland to Spain and ultimately back to England to try and settle a particularly demanding debt. The characters are vibrant, the dialogue sharp and witty and the denouement an absolute gem. A Case Of Noir is stylish, compulsive throughout and despite all the casually wicked stuff that happens, you can’t help but smile broadly at the denouement. Cracking stuff.’

Dominic Milne reviews A Case Of Noir.

Out Now! The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 11

mammoth 11Edited by the legendary MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI  and includes my Warsaw set noir yarn RED ESPERANTO. (If you enjoy that BTW, pick up A CASE OF NOIR to see what happens next!) This is my third time in a MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME so a big thanks to MAXIM!

Here’s the blurb:

This superb annual anthology of the year’s most outstanding short crime fiction published in the UK is now well into its second decade. Jakubowski has succeeded, once again, in unearthing the best short crime stories of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish authors (along with a handful of US writers living in the UK, and some expatriate Brits). With this collection he showcases the impressive breadth of British crime writing, from cosy tales of detection to noir mayhem and psychological suspense and terror. There are puzzles to solve, nagging questions about the nature of British society, but, above all, there are over 40 wonderful, gripping stories to shock, delight and make you think twice, if not three times.

Contributors include Simon Kernick, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith, John Lawton, Tim Willocks, Lee Child, Stephen Gallagher, Christopher Fowler, Peter Lovesey, David Hewson. New to this series are Will Carver, Christopher J. Simmons, Susan Everett, Tim Willocks, Dreda Say Mitchell, Kate Rhodes, Rhys Hughes, Paul Charles, Howard Linskey, Peter Guttridge, Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith.

Full list of contributors: Lee Child; Kevin Wignall; Will Carver; Paul Charles; Val McDermid; Paul Johnston; Alison Bruce; Tim Willocks; Maxim Jakubowski; Rhys Hughes; Edward Marston; N. J. Cooper; Michael Z. Lewin; Peter Guttridge; Mary Hoffman; Peter Tremayne; Kate Rhodes; Paul D. Brazill; Ros Asquith; Amy Myers; Alexander McCall Smith; Nina Allan; Peter Turnbull; Jay Stringer; Martin Edwards; Zoë Sharp; Col Bury; David Stuart Davies; Howard Linskey; Susan Everett; Christopher Fowler; Dreda Say Mitchell; Roger Busby; Simon Kernick; Peter Lovesey; David Hewson; Gerard Brennan; Jane Casey; Christopher J. Simmons; Stephen Gallagher; John Lawton.

You can get it here or at loads of other places, online or in real life book shops.

R I P Colin Graham

Just yesterday, I found out by accident – via his Facebook page- that my friend Colin Graham had died suddenly. Tocolin g say it was a shock is an understatement. I knew Colin when I lived in Warsaw and many a good drinking session and chinwags with him. At the time he was doing a lot of journalism, especially for New Warsaw Express, which became New Poland Express.

The last time time I saw him was about seven years ago when he visited me here in Bydgoszcz and we went to the speedway together, he was writing an article about the rivalry between Bydgoszcz and Torun speedway fans. We had regular contact after that via Skype, SMS and Facebook.The last contact I had with him was regarding the forthcoming charity anthology that I’m editing, Exiles – An Outsider Anthology.Colin had kindly donated a piece to this collection as he also had to True Brit Grit.

Colin was always writing, in fact. He was a whirlwind, producing journalism for the likes of The Guardian, The Lancet, The Independent-on-Sunday and History Today, as well as fiction for Pulp Metal Magazine, Thrillers, Killers n Chillers, A Twist Of Noir and part of Byker Books’ Radgepacket anthologies.

Links to lots of those can be found at his blog Me and my narratives.

Colin’s death is a very, very sad loss and I hope you’ll pay tribute to Colin by checking out his writing.

Red Esperanto in The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime

Ross esperanto with a DI’m more than somewhat chuffed to announce that my Warsaw set noir story Red Esperanto (which was translated into Italian as Rosso Esperanto) has been chosen for inclusion next year’s Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, number 11 in the series.

This will be my third appearance in one of the Mammoth’s – Guns Of Brixton is in 8 and Who Killed Skippy? is in 10 – so a big thanks to Maxim Jakubowski for including the story and to Desideria Marchi and everyone else at Atlantis/ Lite editions for publishing it in the first place.

Red Esperanto is part of a seralised novel set in various European cities. The following chapters have been published so far: Red Esperanto, Death On A Hot Afternoon and The Kelly Affair, all  published by Atlantis (Also available translated into Italian.)

The next chapter-The Big Rain– is set in Toulouse and is out now.

Polish Grit – Polish Crime Films

ediPoland is a country that has certainly been no stranger to austerity and has subsequently produced some cracking, hard-hitting crime dramas. Here are a few of my faves.

Edi (2002) Directed by Piotr Trzaskalski with a screenplay by Wojciech Lepianka and Piotr Trzaskalski.

The star of Edi, Henyrk Golebiewski, is a man with a face so lived in squatters wouldn’t stay there.  A former child star, whose life went off the rails when he became an adult, he went AWOL and was eventually tracked down by Trzaskalski – the director – to play the eponymous Edi who, along with his friend Jureczek, walks the streets of Lodz – a decaying industrial city- collecting scrap. Edi is a smart man, however, with a fridge full of books which he devours. Like Golebiewski he has had his share of hard knocks but Edi still believes that ‘It can be Christmas every day if you want it to be.’

A pair of local gangster brothers – who have recently beaten one of Edi’s scrap collector friends to death – ask Edi to help their beloved sister – Princess – pass here exams. Princess is secretly in love with Gypsy, one of the gangsters’ henchman, though. Something her over–protective brothers would not approve of, and so, she gets Edi drunk after one of their lessons, and secretly sneaks off to see Gypsy.

Months later, when Princess discovers that she is pregnant by Gypsy, she accuses Edi of raping her. The brothers’ punishment is most certainly cruel and inhuman and, while recovering, Edi ends up taking care of the girl’s child.

Edi is a tough but sometimes beautiful film, with a strong cast that is anchored by Golebiewski’s heartfelt performance.

The Debt ( 1999), directed by Krzysztof Krause and written by Krause and Jerzy Morawski, for example, stars Robert Gonera, Jacek Boruch and the splendid Andrzej Chyra.

Based on a true story, it takes place in Poland’s dark economic hinterland after the fall of communism and before its more recent rebirth. The Debt tells the story of Adam and Stefan, a couple of young likely-lads from Warsaw, who come up with the smart idea of manufacturing Italian scooters on the cheap in Poland and making a fortune selling them to the Italians.

They first go to the bank for a loan but are swiftly refused. Then they encounter a well- off acquaintance, Gerard (Chyra), who offers to lend them the funds to start -up their business in exchange for a share of the company profits.

So far, so good but when they later decide that Gerard is asking for too much, and back out of the proposal, things really go pear shaped.

Gerard bizarrely starts harassing them for the money that he never even lent them, saying that they were already too far into the deal to back out. It then becomes painfully clear that Gerard is a vicious gangster and things spiral horribly out of control from then on.

The Debt is like a knee to the groin – a naturalistic, hard hitting and chilling story with a great, charismatic performance from Chyra.

The Debt Collector (2005) is directed by Feliks Falk with a screenplay by Grzegorz Loszewski. It also stars Andrzej Chyra and is again based on true events.

Chyra plays Lucek a hard-hearted debt collector, working in one of Poland’s most deprived areas, who mercilessly repossesses anything he can – including vital machines from hospitals and even a statue of the Virgin Mary. But, as the film progresses, Lucek starts to have doubts and he puThe-Dark-House-2009lls so hard on the strings of his life that the whole thing unravels as he experiences an ‘epiphany’ that turns him into a decent human being.

The Debt Collector is almost painfully naturalistic and very well acted but, although it does have a more optimistic ending then The Debt, it’s just as effective in showing the hard side of life.

The Dark House (2009) Directed by  Wojciech Smarzowski and written by Lukasz Kosmicki and Wojciech Smarzowski.

One cold autumn in the 1970s Edward  (Arkardiusz  Jakubik,) an alcoholic zoo technician, haunted by his wife’s death , accidentally ends up stopping over in the Dziabas family’s farmhouse,  in a remote mountain area.  They all subsequently get drunk on ‘bimber’ – Polish moonshine – and deliriously decide to set up business together.  However the combination of booze and supressed passions leads to violence and murder.

This story is intercut with another, which is set on a snow smothered winter day four years later, during Martial Law in Poland. The Milicja Obywatelska (People’s Militia) visit the crime scene and Lieutenant Mroz (Bartlomeij Topa) – with Edward’s help- tries to piece together what actually happened.

The Dark House is gory, bleak, full of claustrophobic atmosphere and, at times, surreal. There is also a touch of black comedy and great performances from Jakaubik, Topa, Marian Dziedziel and Kinga Pries.

The Tag line: ‘Truth? There is no such thing.’

News, Updates etc

So, what’s going on?pulp-o-paul1.jpg

Well, both of the  noir novelettes that I wrote for the Italian publisher Atlantis are now available from Amazon. In English and Italian.

You can get Red Esperanto and Death On A Hot Afternoon here.

I’ve recently finished a third story in the series. This is set in the Spanish city of Granada and should be published sometime in April.

The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 10 is NOW available for purchase.

The latest in Maxim Jakubowski’s anthology series includes stories from Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Tony Black, Richard Godwin, Col Bury, Paul Johnstone, Nick Quantrill, Steve Mosby, Ian Ayris and me, amongst others. My story, Who Killed Skippy? was first published in issue one of Noir Nation.

The eighth edition of The Mammoth Book Of  Best British Crime also includes a yarn from me called Guns Of Brixton– which was first published in CrimeFactory.

Guns Of  Brixton has been developed into a novella and will be published in May by Byker Books as part of their Best Of British series. ‘A sweary Ealing Comedy.’

And sometime in March or early April, Pulp Metal Fiction will be publishing another novella, called The Gumshoe. ‘Dostoevsky meets Tony Hancock.’

And I’ve a few  more irons in the fire too. It’s all happening!

Red Esperanto and Death On A Hot Afternoon are both now a pound/ dollar

Red/ Rosso EsperantoRed Esperanto and Death On A Hot Afternoon, written by Paul D. Brazill and published by Atlantis, are part of a series of noir novelettes that are set in various cities around the world. (Also available translated into Italian.)

Red Esperanto: Warsaw.

In snow smothered Warsaw, boozy English hack Luke Case  encounters Jolanta, a beautiful young woman with a gangster husband.

Death On A Hot Afternoon: Madrid.

After the brutal events in Red Esperanto, Luke Case escapes Warsaw and heads off  to the heat of Madrid where he  meets a mysterious torch singer and an agreeing journalist with a violent past.

More Luke Case novelettes are coming soon …

What the reviewers say: death on a hot afternoon

‘Red Esperanto practically drips in the alcoholic sweat of the journalist Luke Case.’

‘Highly recommended for those of us who love to walk in the shadows and drink with the lost and dispossessed.’

‘Brazill will have you alternately wincing and laughing as you follow Case’s shambling wreck.’

‘A terrific short story and highly recommended.’

‘It’s a lovely and controlled bit of storytelling. It’s a fast, tight read – in and out and no messing about. Highly recommended.’