News, reviews, and Small Town Blues

All Due Respect, Bristol Noir, Darren Sant, Gumshoe Blues, Last Year's Man, Man Of The World, Paul D Brazill, Peter Ord, Seatown

man of the world final

Over at the All Due Respect blog, I talk about small town noir and Man Of The World.

SMALL TOWN BLUES is here.

At Bristol Noir, I have a new short story called IN THE COLD, COLD NIGHT.

Episode 2 of Darren Sant’s Tiny Tales podcast has my yarn THE TUT, and Episode 3 has Peter Ord‘s song GUMSHOE BLUES.

MAN OF THE WORLD is out now and has picked up a couple of very tasty reviews.

K A Laity:

5.0 out of 5 stars From laid-back humour to grievous bodily harm!

Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2020

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It’s always good news to hear that Mr B has a new book out. I even got my grubby mitts on an advanced copy so read ’em and weep, folks — I already have! Read it, that is. And ordered the paperback, too.

I missed Seatown! It’s great to be back there. Tommy Bennett is back: he was Last Year’s Man but now he’s even more lethal. He’d really rather retire. He’s almost making peace with the ghosts that haunt him. But the old life pulls him back in every time. And as we all know, the dead don’t always stay dead.

The story turns on a dime from laid-back humour to grievous bodily harm. One minute you’re chuckling as dim-witted low-lifes argue about pop music, then in Chandler-esque fashion a man walks through a door with a gun — and probably dressed as a nun to boot. Brazill makes it all look easy — John Le Mesurier easy. The pace seldom slackens for more than a few pages then we’re off and running again, or rather Tommy is, and he’s left a body or two behind him and a few lively ones chasing him.

True to its title, we start in Seatown but soon we’re off to the Big Smoke and then even further afield. Familiar names pop up: some from his other yarns and beware, crime writing friends of Brazill are likely to wind up dead. All the flourishes you expect from his stories are there: small time crooks improbably questioning the quality of Jane Austen novels, enough song references to fill a day-long radio show, lyrical twists, and you never know what’s lurking behind that closed door though it’s bound to be memorable (I’m still snorting at one of the truly bizarre reveals).

There is more pink than you’d expect in a noir novella.

And I’ll tell you a secret: when he thinks you’re not paying attention Brazill throws in a few lines of absolute poetry. It may seem like finding antique doubloons in busker’s hat full of pennies, but it’s just the thing for those of us lying in the gutter, gazing up at the stars.’

Sonia Kilvington:
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 20, 2020

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E. Hobart:
Reviewed in the United States on April 17, 2020

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Out NOW! Close To The Boneyard

ANTHOLOGY, BRIT GRIT, Craig Douglas, Darren Sant, Near To The Knuckle, Paul D Brazill

close-to-the-boneyard-2012Includes my yarn Killing Mr Cornflakes and MORE!

Close To The Boneyard: A Near To The Knuckle Anthology. 

From the archives of the online fiction site, Near To The Knuckle. We have picked thirty tales that featured on the site. We have writers from across the globe. You won’t be disappointed with award winning authors spinning yarns coated in cordite and specks of blood.’

Get it HERE!

Guest Blog: Brit Grit – Killing and Community by Darren Sant

BRIT GRIT, brit grit alley, Darren Sant, GUEST BLOGS, Near To The Knuckle, Out Of The Gutter, Paul D Brazill

In November Near to the Knuckle turned 4. We celebrated by throwing an online party the only way we know how – lots of great fiction! In fact we had 13 stories over spread over 2 days. It meant a lot of hard work for Craig who posted, formatted and edited the stories. For myself the work was audio reading and uploading. However, it’s not really hard work when you love something is it? Believe me it’s hard reading aloud stories that talk about shaving nut sacks without laughing out loud. Thank YOU for that Karl Kowesky with G-String Gangsters.

Although we offered prizes all of the people who contributed, most of whom are regular contributors to the site, didn’t do it for the prize they did it for the love of writing and the sense of community they feel in our group and on our site. That’s really what I want to talk about. I know I speak for Craig also when I say that’s one of the things that drives us. Not just the love of the fiction but the sense of belonging and kinship, friendship we feel in our little online bubble.

Many of the writer’s I know best write about terrible events. Crimes that would shock communities and destroy families. Yet, from imaginations that can conceive such things come the warmest hearts. Aidan Thorn, a writer who I count as friend, as well a fantastically talented chap has been the driving force behind a charity anthology that has a group of which I am a member. I’ve seen some of the finest talents donating long stories to this project because they care for the lady it is in support of. Most of them have never met her but they’re damn decent human beings and think nothing of giving their time for a most worthy cause. I feel privileged to belong to this community of great people even though when they pick up a pen every one is a cold blooded killer!

(This post appeared at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE)

Short, Sharp Interview: Aidan Thorn

Aidan Thorn, BRIT GRIT, Craig Douglas, Crime Fiction, Darren Sant, number 13 press, Number Thirteen Press

urban decayPDB:  What’s the SP on Urban Decay?

Urban Decay is a book I’m very proud of. It’s a bunch of short stories, that are about more than just crime, it’s about people. It is largely a crime collection, but I hope people take more from it than that, at the heart of every story are characters that I want people to see and understand, even if they don’t agree with what they do. It’s been out a few months now and I’ve been thrilled with the reaction I’ve been getting to it, particularly from other writers, it’s been picking up some great reviews already.

PDB:  You’ve just joined the Thirteeners. What’s the story there?

Seeing the cover for When the Music’s Over was a surreal moment for me. This is a book that I started writing around five years ago. It started life as a 75K word novel but I didn’t think it was working. I loved the story but it felt bloated and overwritten. Last year I started following Number 13 Press on Twitter and I picked up a few of their books. I was so impressed with what I was reading I had to try and write something for them. I remembered When the Music’s Over and thought maybe it was something I could turn into a novella. I spent a month or two re-reading it all and sharpening it up and then sent it off to Number 13… And today it’s available to buy.

As far as the story, it’s old fashion noir set in the modern day. I’ve taken a character who’s best days were years ago and forced him back into the criminal world he once stepped through with ease to investigate the murder of his former employer’s son.

PDB:  How much research was involved in the books?

When the Music’s Over took a fair amount of research, just to get the setting right, in terms of location and time. There’s a section of the book that goes back to the early 90’s and I really enjoyed retreading that time, particularly the music. I was a huge fan of the grunge scene as a kid and as I wrote that part of the book I spent a lot of time listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains etc…

PDB: Which crime writers do you enjoy?

I enjoy many more than I have time to read these days. George Pelecanos will always top my list and I’m a huge fan of Block, Lehane, Leonard, Connelly, Billingham. I’ve also discovered a number of talented indie writers since I started writing myself, Darren Sant, Chris Leek, Gareth Spark, Tom Pitts, B.R. Stateham, Grant Nichol and many more have all impressed me massively with their work… And, you’re not so bad yourself Paul!

PDB: Do you read outside the genre?

Yes, I read all sorts of books. I read a lot of biographies, mostly about musicians. I really don’t care what the genre of book is, I just want to read a really good book. I do tend to read mostly crime, but I’ve read everything from Harry Potter to Harry Bosch, from Charles Dickens to Danny King.

when the music's over

PDB: What else is on the cards?

I’ve got another novella I’m writing at the moment, it’s sort of finished but I’m just going over it and making sure it’s in good shape before I decide what to do with it. I also have a few short stories written since Urban Decay so I reckon there will be a third short story collection at some point. I’ve written a 10K short that I’m not sure how to publish, what I’d really like to do is find a publisher that would take it on with a bunch of my friends also writing 10K shorts, a sort of ‘Aidan Thorn introduces…’ collection to showcase some of the great writers that I’ve got to know. Finally, I’ve started a novel, and when I say I’ve started I mean it’s about 1,000 words at the moment so it’ll be a while before that one rears its head

Route 66 And All That is Reviewed at Dark Musings

ANTHOLOGY, Anthony Watson, BRIT GRIT, Craig Douglas, Dark Musings, Darren Sant, Paul D Brazill, Reviews, ROGUE, Ryan Bracha

rogueThe ROGUE anthology is reviewed by Anthony Watson at DARK MUSINGS.

Here’s what he has to say about my yarn:

‘There’s politics too – though in a subtle, tangential way and even some humour – though of the darkest variety. The latter is most evident in Paul D Brazill’s Route 66 and All That which introduces an entertaining set of hapless criminals and contains some zinging one-liners.’

Check out the rest of the review here.

Out Now! Near To The Knuckle presents Rogue: The second anthology

ANTHOLOGY, BRIT GRIT, Craig Douglas, Darren Sant, gloves off, ROGUE, Ryan Bracha

rogueIncludes my yarn ‘Route 66 And All That.’ The blurb: ‘You find yourself on the wrong side of town. It’s late and your only option is to walk down a narrow pitch-black alley. Your heart is pounding. You’re sure that you can hear footsteps, but there’s no one in sight. The sound of soft feet approaching, is getting ever closer. You start to break into a jog. There’s a light at the end of the alley but suddenly a figure steps from the shadows. He is smartly dressed and smiling and yet you have a bad feeling about this. He reaches into his pocket… Rogue the second anthology from the Near to the Knuckle website brings you a whole host of talent all bringing you their best stories featuring Rogue’s. This anthology was brought to you by this list of Rogues: Gareth Spark, Tess Makovesky, Gabriel Valjan, Craig Furchtenicht, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin, Aidan Thorn, Gary Duncan, Dave Jaggers, Walter Conley, Cal Marcius, T Maxim Simmler, Mark Cooper, Bill Baber, Robert Cowan, Ryan Bracha, Matt Mattila, Graham Wynd, Benedict J Jones, Liam Sweeny, Alan Griffiths and Keith Nixon’

The eBook is out now!

Coming Soon: Rogue – The Second Near to the Knuckle Anthology

ANTHOLOGY, BRIT GRIT, Craig Douglas, Crime Fiction, Darren Sant, gloves off, Paul D Brazill, ROGUE

rogueIncludes my yarn ROUTE 66 AND ALL THAT.

From GRITFICTION.

GLOVES OFF, the first NEAR 2 THE KNUCKLE anthology, is available here and pretty tasty it is, too.

It includes my yarn THE HIT MAN AND HER and more besides.

Route 66 And All That

Short, Sharp Interview: T. Maxim Simmler

ANTHOLOGY, Craig Douglas, Darren Sant, short sharp interviews, T Maxim Simmler

gritfictionPDB: What’s going on now?

TMS: I’m giving a story for Near To The Knuckle’s ROGUE anthology a polish, and then I have three weeks to finish “Noon at Midnight”, a short crime novella supposed to be out in February.

PDB: How did you research this book?

TMS: “Noon at Midnight” is loosely based on Thomas Middleton’s “Revenger’s Tragedy”. So I reread the play twice, watched the adaptation with Christopher Eccleston and some articles on the piece. Then I binned all notes and started writing.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

TMS: Noon will be the first longer piece. If I had to select one of my short stories, it’s a tie between “Suicide Chump” in Thuglit #12 and “Darker with the Day” in James Ward Kirk’s “Bones III”.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

TMS: Film is easy. My Top Ten may be in constant change, but at the top of it has always been The Wild Bunch. Book? That’s a mean question. I’ll go with the novel I’ve read every year since I discovered it at fourteen – Elias Canetti’s “Auto da Fe”. I’ll choose “Der Leiermann”, the last song from Schubert’s Winterreise, as song. A nice, utterly depressing song about the futility of art at the end of a song cycle about a guy who sets out to wander through the country in winter till he dies. TV’s easy, too. I’m a hardcore Doctor Who addict since childhood. Stuck with it through the worst times (Colin fucking Baker), while I quit other shows after two bad episodes.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

TMS: Nope. It’s all a rather heightened affair – the dialogue, the emotions, the violence. I’m trying to take the grand, operatic themes, like loyalty and betrayal, love and revenge, and let them play out between third rate criminals, or happen to your next door losers. Realism is not what I’m after, and I might just as well cast fairies and werewolves. So everything takes place in unnamed northern towns in an alternate reality. Also: I pretty much suck at location writing, and if I cannot avoid it, I labour for hours over a couple of sentences.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

TMS: Right now everything’s in anthologies, magazines and e-zines. I hope I can avoid checking the rankings by telling me I’d rather have 100 readers who are really into the noirish crime stuff, than 10000 readers and 70% of them complaining about the number of “fucks”. Being pretty good at lying to myself, this might work out.

roguePDB: What’s next?

TMS: A horror novella, The Shakes, hopefully out in spring, and then a spaghetti western. The project I’m most excited about, however, is called WARD 12, an on-going anthology I’ll be co-editing. It’s Masters Of Horror for crime, noir and crime-noir-horror-tinted novelettes, with a fresh story by some of the best folks writing in the field, out every month as an e-book, and collected in a big, shiny tome after a year. If it’s a bit of a success, I’ll hand the keys to the building over after that, and it’ll move to the female ward. Or maybe an aeroplane toilet drops on my head.

Bio: T. Maxim Simmler writes crime, horror and assorted weird stuff. Say hello on the most swear word riddled page in the history of social media: https://www.facebook.com/TMaximSimmler

Short, Sharp Interview: Aidan Thorn

Aidan Thorn, ANTHOLOGY, Craig Douglas, Darren Sant, short sharp interviews

gritfictionPDB: What’s going on now?

Now? Now I’ve just signed a contract with GritFiction Ltd (Better known to most of you as Darren Sant and Craig Douglas the brains behind Near to the Knuckle) to publish my second short story collection, Urban Decay. And, I could not be happier about it! We’ve been discussing it for about a week and it’s been really hard keeping it under wraps but now the news is out I want to shout it from the rooftops. I’ll be the first author, other than the men themselves, have anything published by this new venture and so it’s a great honour (and a little bit daunting) that they picked me. And, when I say they picked me they really did… I always send my work to Darren when, he’s a safe pair of eyes and a writer I have so much time for so it’s good to get his opinion on what I’m doing. I sent him Urban Decay for the once over, it went quiet for a while and then out of the blue he emailed me asking if I’d be interested in being their first author – an absolute honour for me. Near to the Knuckle is an important mag for me, it’s been so supportive so being part of this now means the world to me – I don’t want to go on here about it, but I’ll certainly be saying more about it on my site over the coming days.

PDB: How did you research this book?

This book is a collection of short stories, I’ve written a number this year, but I wanted to theme his so have only included stories that I think talk to the title, Urban Decay. I’m not sure researching is the right word for what I do when I write a short, it tends to be that I’m inspired by something or hit by an idea and I have to start writing. That said, I rarely know everything about the subjects I’m writing and so my internet search history over the past year includes, luxury watchmakers (I’m sure Daz and Craig will be buying me one as part of my signing on fee!), boxing glove weights, work related stress symptoms etc…

roguePDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

I’ll be most proud of this one when it’s out!

But before that it has to be my story in Gloves Off the first Near to the Knuckle Anthology. I was the first person to have a story confirmed for that particular collection and it’s a great collection of truly talented people, having my name on that list of talent really made me feel like I’d achieved something when I saw the line up.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

Film – Tough one and it changes regularly with my mood. I love a super-hero movie, Superman is a favourite, I love a good crime story, obviously, and so I’m a big fan of the likes of Goodfellas, Casino, Carlito’s Way,  Get Carter etc… But if I really think about it I think I’d have to say Rocky. I know that the sequels have sort of blackened the name (although I actually really enjoy them) but it’s a great film, well written, there’s grit there’s love and it’s not afraid to give you an ending you weren’t expecting (Spoiler alert for anyone who’s been under a stone for 40 years) because Rocky loses.

Book – The Big Blowdown by George Pelecanos. The greatest writer living today, Pelecanos writes big stories about little lives and this book is a bit of an epic by his standards, just brilliant

Song – Again, difficult to pick just one but let’s go with People Get Ready by Curtis Mayfield… Just too cool.

TV – Dexter, The Sopranos, Ray Donovan, Entourage, Californication are all up there but at the moment I can’t look further than Peaky Blinders, now that’s Brit Grit

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

As a rule, no. I write short stories I don’t have the words to tell you about the locations. I have a little rule (that I occasionally break) unless someone’s head is about to get smashed into a wall or a table I don’t need a description of the wall or the table. That said, I do occasionally use location as a character in a book. I’m writing something at the moment that’s set in Las Vegas and part of setting it in Vegas is because the character of Las Vegas is important to the story.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

Daily, on the hour, every hour for the rest of my life…

PDB: What’s next?

I’ve got to finish off Urban Decay, or I’ll have Darren and Craig on my back and you don’t want to tussle with them, I’ve read their stuff they scare me! I also have a story I’m working on for another project that I’m really excited to be have been asked to be a part of. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say too much about it, but all I will say is that I’m excited by the names being linked with it and hope I can write something that is up to muster

Bio: Aidan Thorn is from Southampton, England, home of the Spitfire and Matthew Le Tissier but sadly more famous for Craig David and being the place the Titanic left from before sinking. Aidan would like to put Southampton on the map for something more than bad R ‘n’ B and sinking ships. His short fiction has appeared in the Byker Books Radgepacket series, the Near to the Knuckle Anthology: Gloves Off,  Exiles: An Outsider Anthology, The Big Adios Western Digest and Shadows & Light as well as online at Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers, Thrills, Kills and Chaos, Near to the Knuckle, Pulp Metal Magazine, Shotgun Honey and Spelk Fiction. His first short story collection, Criminal Thoughts is available on Amazon now and his second collection will be published by GritFiction in 2015

http://aidanthornwriter.weebly.com

A Man Of Sophisticated Tastes in 12 Mad Men

12 Mad Men, Allen Miles, Darren Sant, Gareth Spark, Gerard Brennan, Keith Nixon, Les Edgerton, martin Stanley, Richard Godwin, Ryan Bracha

12 mad men

My yarn A MAN OF SOPHISTICATED TASTES kicks off this innovative anthology edited by Ryan Bracha.

The phenomenally talented writers involved in this innovative and ambitious project are:

Paul D Brazill (Guns of Brixton, A Case of Noir) Gerard Brennan (Fireproof, Wee Rockets) Les Edgerton (The Bitch, The Rapist) Craig Furchtenicht (Dimebag Bandits, Night Speed Zero) Richard Godwin (Mr Glamour, Apostle Rising) Allen Miles (18 Days, This is How You Disappear) Keith Nixon (The Fix, The Eagle’s Shadow) Darren Sant (Tales From The Longcroft, The Bank Manager and The Bum) Gareth Spark (Black Rain, Shotgun Honey) Martin Stanley (The Gamblers, The Hunters) Mark Wilson (dEaDINBURGH, Head Boy) And narrated by Ryan Bracha (Paul Carter is a Dead Man, Strangers are Just Friends You Haven’t Killed Yet)

The Blurb: At St. David’s asylum for the criminally insane there are twelve residents. They call us that. Not inmates. We all have a favourite colour. A favourite member of staff. A favourite method of receiving torture for the purposes of science. We all have our reasons for being here. Our stories. Our tales. Why don’t you come and hear them? Twelve Mad Men is a groundbreaking literary collaboration. A novel which has a series of stories woven into the narrative, and featuring the finest independent authors from across the globe. The number one best selling author of Strangers Are Just Friends You Haven’t Killed Yet and Paul Carter is a Dead Man, Ryan Bracha, voices the narrator as he embarks upon his first shift as a night guard at St. David’s, and as he meets the residents there, it soon becomes apparent that there’s something very wrong in the water..