Graham Wynd Reviews Last Year’s Man

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And says:

‘From blood-soaked shenanigans to effortlessly clever banter, there’s everything you’d expect and more. The motif of the hitman haunted by his past gets a fresh angle as disgraced Tommy Bennett returns to Seatown, the northern coastal city where his past awaits him. A wild mix of musical and pop culture references come at you thick and fast. I was chortling by the end of the first page.’

Read the rest of the review here.

Pre-order Last Year’s Man

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LAST YEAR’S MAN by Paul D. Brazill 

PRE-ORDER NOW! Available 06/22/2018. LAST YEAR’S MAN by Paul D. Brazill — Published by All Due Respect, an imprint of Down & Out Books (June 2018).

eBook Formats — SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICING: $2.99

Description

A troubled, ageing hit man leaves London and returns to his hometown in the north east of England hoping for peace. But the ghosts of his past return to haunt him.

Last Year’s Man is a violent and blackly comic slice of Brit Grit noir.

Praise for LAST YEAR’S MAN:

“It’s all here, everything you’ve come to expect from a Paul D. Brazill caper—the fast pace, the witty banter, the grim humour and the classic tunes—except this time he’s REALLY outdone himself. Unlike the lament in the song the title takes its name from, Paul’s best years are surely still ahead of him.” —Paul Heatley, author of Fatboy

“Paul D. Brazill is the Crown Prince of Noir. That’s my opinion, granted, but I stand by it. For those who require proof, just pick up his latest novel, Last Year’s Man, and it will be clear why I make that statement. All hail the crown prince!” —Les Edgerton, author of The BitchJust Like That and others

“Brazill is brilliant, a unique voice which stands out from the crowd.” —Keith Nixon, author of the Solomon Gray books

Eric Beetner reviews Guns Of Brixton

GOB ACON kateOver at Amazon.com, Eric Beetner says:

‘Short and to the point like a sharp stick to the eyeball. This one is aggressively British. All the slang, nicknames and pubs you’d expect from a book that reads like a late night, back alley hook up between the screenplays for Pulp Fiction and Lock, Stock And 2 Smoking barrels. Seriously, it was like Tarantino and Guy Ritchie were 69-ing in my skull.
Great fun. A lot of characters and in short bursts it’s a lot to track, but the style is Michael Caine cool and cinderblock hard.’

A Story For Sunday: A Twist Of Noir by Eric Beetner

Cormac Brown at A TWIST OF NOIRChristopher Grant‘s late great A Twist Of Noir was one of the first places to publish my yarns, and was the home to writing from all sorts of top crime crime writers. Including Eric Beetner who went all capricious when he came up with this:

‘Keith and Jake were two of the sorriest excuses for criminals you ever saw. Individually they couldn’t find their own asses with a flashlight and a map but together there was something about the yin and yang of the two opposites that held them together and made them a team.’

Read the rest HERE.

How I Wrote … Guns Of Brixton!

GOB paperbackWell, you know what they say: ‘When a one armed man chops down a tree in the forest, a butterfly claps’. No, really. The thing is, everything is connected, it really is. And Kevin Bacon is only six friends away from you, even though he isn’t on Facebook.

Anyway, it was a while back. I’d been writing flash fiction for about a year and I had this vague notion of writing something with interconnecting stories. One city. One night. You know the score.

I really liked this idea and I thought – even though everyone told me it was dead hard to do – that I’d give it a go.

So I did. Three or four stories interlocking in London on New Year’s Day. In a 1000 word flash fiction story. Yes, I know.

A pretty daft idea but, you see, Eric Beetner had just launched a Flash Fiction Challenge and I really wanted to enter my story, which was called The Big Blow after the Manu DiBango song.

Of course it didn’t win but I let it marinate and, from time to time, I added bits to it and took bits out until, after about a year, I had the scenario of two interconnecting stories. Simpler. But longer.

For some reason I’d set part of the story in Brixton which, of course, meant I was pretty much obliged to call the story Guns Of Brixton, after the classic song by The Clash. Mark Timlin’s novel Guns Of Brixton then came out via MaxCrime and I considered changing the title but in the end I didn’t.

When I’d decided to write a faux London gangster story, it seemed the sensible thing to take a title from a song by The Clash, that most London of all London bands – even though only one of them was actually born ‘dahn The Smoke.’

And I had plenty of cracking titles to choose from and reject, too – London Calling (been done to death),London’s Burning (reminded me of the TV show about firemen), Guns On The Roof ( a silly song about when The Clash were told off for shooting pigeons with an air rifle), Somebody Got Murdered (too obscure), The Last Gang In Town(close, close …) Police & Thieves (Maybe …)

But …

I’ve been to Brixton man, times. When I lived in London, I was more than somewhat partial to visiting the Brixton’s cracking cinema, the Ritzy Picturehouse– which, on screen, was the only place I ever saw any guns. Somehow the title had to be Guns Of Brixton, written and sung by the Clash’s coolest member, bass player Paul Simenon.

Not one of my favourite Clash songs, for sure, but there was something about the scary lyrics – ‘When they kick out your front door /How you gonna come?/With your hands on your head. Or on the trigger of your gun’– and cod reggae feel that seemed to suit a faux London gangster story down to the ground.

I was pretty pleased with the yarn, too. It was, at the time, the longest story that I’d written and it felt fairly grown up. Well, for me. And so I sent it to Crime Factory because, well, who doesn’t want to have a story in Crime Factory? And they said yes, too, and scheduled it for issue five. And I was chuffed.

Cut to few months later, before Crime Factory 5 had even seen the light of day. I was working in summer school in England and sharing a computer without a load of other people. I had a short time to check my emails and saw that I’d received an email from the legendary Maxim Jakubowski (coincidentally the publisher of MaxCrime, you see how things interconnect, eh? Told you!)

He asked me if I’d like to submit a story for the next edition of The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, which he was editing. I was chuffed again, wasn’t I?

So, I sent him a few stories but didn’t think I’d be accepted. This was, after all, a book that featured work from the top bananas of British crime writing. Colin Dexter was in the 2010 edition! However, only a few hours later, he emailed me back to say he’d take Guns Of Brixton. Yes, I know. This chuffed goes up to eleven.

And The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 8 has been out for a couple of years now. And I’m in there with Ian Rankin, Kate Atkinson, Paul Johnstone, Stuart MacBride, David Hewson,Allan Guthrie, Sheila Quigley, Nick Quantrill, Zoe Sharp, Nigel Bird and all sorts of classy types. And my name’s even on the back cover and I get mentioned in the introduction. No, really.

And guess what?

I let Guns Of Brixton marinate some more, too, and it has since developed into a novella, first published as an eBook by Byker Books, and now a longer version published as an eBook and in paperback by Caffeine Nights Publishing.

Well, you know what they say: ‘From little acorns a tree grows in Brooklyn.’ Or Brixton. Yes, I know.

You can GET GOB from from loads of places including Barnes & Noble, Caffeine Nights PublishingWHSMITH, Waterstones,Foyles Amazon and Amazon UK. 

The Bucket List at All Due Respect

adr 1I’m more than somewhat chuffed that my story The Bucket List will be included in the upcoming debut issue of  All Due Respect magazine.

The full line up is:

Chris F. Holm
Paul D. Brazill
Walter Conley
Travis Richardson
Renee Pickup
Todd Robinson
Mike Miner

With a great pulp cover from Eric Beetner.

All Due Respect is edited by Chris Rhatigan & Mike Monson and published by Full Dark City Press.

 

 

Updates, News, Cobblers and More.

Gumshoe has been getting some very nice reviews on both sides of the Atlantic and this week I did a guest blog at Do Some Damage talking about its influences- Quentin Crisp, Albert Finny and more. Just Like The Movies is here.

The very splendid American noir writer Eric Beetner recently did a post about British crime writers he admires including Allen Guthrie, Nick Quantrill and Ian Ayris. And he included me in the list, which is very nice indeed.

Over at Out Of The Gutter Online, I use my Brit Grit Alley column to recommend some Britty gritty summer reads. Pop over and see who’s in there.

And I’ve set up a blog,  a Facebook page and  a Twitter account for Blackwitch Press, which will be my dalliance with self-publishing/ publishing. Find out more here.

Short, Sharp Interview: Eric Beetner.

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PDB: Can you pitch The Devil Doesn’t Want Me in 25 words or less?

The Devil Doesn’t Want Me: An aging hit man goes on the run with an unexpected guest after he decides he doesn’t want to kill anymore.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

I’m mad I have to wait so damn long for Breaking Bad to come back for the final episodes. Best show on TV. I am loving Boardwalk Empire too. And Justified is great. I enjoy Longmire, though it is much tamer than those other shows.

I don’t get out to enough movies since I have two kids and I write at night. I did see a French thriller called Point Blank recently and that was great. I got out to see Argo and loved it and Seven Psychopaths and I did not.

Books – anything by Snubnose Press or Guilt Edged Mysteries. I’m in a deep hole reading other writers on my publisher(s) so I apologize to the ones I haven’t gotten to yet. Specifically, Piggyback by Tom Pitts on Snubnose was great as was The Subtle Art of Brutality by Ryan Sayles. Bullets Are My Business by Josh K. Stevens on Guilt Edged was a great neo-pulp wild ride.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

I think so. It’s hard sometimes. I see it as the measure of a good book. If I get lost in it and don’t over-analyze it, it’s got its hooks in me and that’s a great feeling. If I’m constantly parsing every word, then the writer has lost me.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

Oh, yes. I have in the past and hope to again in the future. It’s where my deep down passion lies. I’m a film school grad who works in TV as my day job. TV has come so far I think I’d rather write for TV than for film these days. But hey, if anyone wants to resurrect any of the 16 screenplays on my shelf, be my guest.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

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Ha! Almost none. I’m a lazy bastard and I revel in just making stuff up.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

Very, if only to stay connected to the larger community of other writers. I don’t think it’s that useful as sales tool, but I don’t want to be a salesman anyway. I do it too much already. I just have too much stuff coming out and if I don’t tell people they’d never know. But some of my best friends now are people I’ve met through social media.

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2012?

Write more! I left my most recent meeting with my agent having promised him 3 novels in rapid succession. I can’t say no! And everything I was pitching him he liked so I guess that’s good.

Since then (October) I’ve delivered one and am about half way through another.

I have a few new anthologies I’ll be in slated for the new year including Beat To A Pulp: Hardboiled Vol. 2 and Hoods, Hotrods and Hellcats. Plus Kwik Krimes edited by Otto Penzler and Lee from the Crimefactory boys

The book I’m writing now is a sequel to The Devil Doesn’t Want Me but I don’t know if they want it yet. If I sell a bunch more then they won’t be able to resist. So get on that, people.

Eric Beetner blogs here.

Dig Two Graves by Eric Beetner

Eric Beetner’s fantastic, hardboiled black comedy, Dig Two Graves, is a fast fisted and hard hitting novella published by Subnose Press.

Bank robber Val is out for revenge against Enrico, the ex-partner and  lover that turned him in to the cops. But things don’t go to plan, of course.

Dig Two Graves is a perfect blend of classic pulp  and new pulp, and once again proves that Eric Beetner is a master of the form.



A whip-crack of a book.

Guest Blog: Eric Beetner on Decade Definers.

GUEST BLOGGER: ERIC BEETNERI used to sit around and talk movies endlessly with friends in high school and college. It helped that I went to film school and worked in a video store all through high school. Now with two kids and no discernable social life I turn to you, the anonymous cyber-masses to throw my petty opinions upon.

Of course if we were all hanging out on a basement couch like the good ol days, I’d tell you about my new books out – Dig Two Graves and Split Decision. But that would be shameless and I’ll let the string of 5-star reviews, year-end best of lists (A Nick Quantrill pick!) and author endorsements (Scott Phillips, Sean Doolittle) do that for me. I’m here to talk movies.

So I was thinkin’, what crime films embody their decades? Not even the best, but the films that say what it is, or was, to be a crime story in that era. Here’s what I ended up with. Tell me what you think – this is a dialogue.

sterling hayden1950s – I only went back so far for space considerations. We’ll do a follow up if you want. But for now, I vote The Asphalt Jungle (1950). It is the ultimate heist movie and right then, in the thick of Film Noir, is features an entire cast, top-to-bottom, of bad guys. And damn if you don’t root for every last one of them.

Also The Killing (1956). Still in the mold of a Noir Kubrick’s experiment in style both stubbornly stuck to the splintered structure of the novel (Clean Break by Lionel White) but it showed that art in crime cinema could exist.

 

1960s – Bullit (1968). In the 60s crime was cool. Of, rather, crime was allowed to be cool on screen. It doesn’t get cooler than Steve McQueen. Sure, he’s the cop in this one but Bullit shows a growing acceptance of the anti-hero not the mention a giant leap forward in the car chase.

bonnie and clydeBonnie & Clyde (1967). Of course Bonnie & Clyde’s greatest contribution to the advancement of crime cinema was the violence. And once again, cool rules. Unapologetic, unredemptive and sexy as they committed crimes, Bonnie & Clyde reached back in time to show us what a film made in the 30s wouldn’t have been allowed to.

 

1970s – You think I’m going to say The Godfather, don’t you? I’m not. Both Godfather films are an island unto themselves. (I’m still in denial that #3 even exists, no matter what decade) But they didn’t influence other crime films so much. You don’t see endless copies of Godfather films. I think people knew better.

Dirty Harry (1971) signified something, I’m still not sure exactly what. But boy is it the 70s in a nutshell. Afraid of authority and yet acknowledging that vigilantism may be the only way to true justice. And if you want to talk about influence, few cop movies to come out from the next 20 years didn’t have some of Harry’s DNA in them.

Get Carter (1971) I was going to put The French Connection here but decided it was basically the same message as Bullit with a slightly better car chase. Great, no doubt, but Get Carter brought us revenge cinema, a genre that still gets play today.

 

to live and die in la1980s – To Live and Die in LA (1985) Talk about being of the decade. Soundtrack by Wang Chung, features a middle eastern terrorist, the line “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit”, tight jeans, a car chase in the LA river. Violent. It glorifies the criminals as much as the cops, excuse me – secret service agents. There are still some pleasures to be found here and points to the film for going dark as hell. Doesn’t hold up as much as I would have thought when I first saw it and thought it was awesome. But this was crime cinema in the 80s.

The Untouchables (1987) Sort of a redemption for the crime film. A reminder of where it came from and a challenge laid down by DePalma for the others to step it up and stop with synthesizers and neon and get back to story and character. I wish it had worked.

Really I should put Beverly Hills Cop (1984) or 48 Hrs (1982) in this spot because the crime comedy became the go-to for a while. Still is, really, but boy it seems like no one can get the formula right, can they?

 

hard boiled1990s – Hard Boiled (1992) Yep, a Hong Kong actioner by John Woo. Did anything explode our notion of the crime film than Hong Kong in the early 90s? They were the cinema equivalent of Nirvana’s Nevermind album. Everyone who saw this or The Killer was influenced. And if you say you weren’t – you’re lying.

Reservoir Dogs (1992) Exhibit A of the Hong Kong influence and QT proved you could do it in America. And on almost no money. Dogs is always accused of being a copy of HK films and maybe that’s why the copies of Reservoir Dogs all seemed so lame. A copy of a copy.

 

2000s – Gone Baby Gone (2007) Sure, not enough people saw this and it has baggage in the form of Ben Affleck, but first of all I think this is a truly great film. Second, it is a prime example of the new morality in crime films of the new millennium. More crime stories deal with implications of the violence, the actions, the attitudes of the characters than ever before it seems. Or maybe I just love this movie a whole lot. (this is where the whole discussion part of this came in handy during college) And hey, after The Town, Affleck has been vindicated and we can’t deny he’s a hell of a director.

Memento (2000) Beyond launching Christopher Nolan as an A list director, this film encapsulates so many of what came before. Crazy structure like The Killing, high art on low budget like Reservoir Dogs. Morally questionable like Hard Boiled. And every now and then a film comes along that breathes new life into a genre dangerously in peril of growing stale.

 

So what’s next? The Aussie’s sure have been cranking out some great films lately.  Aw, who am I kidding, I never get out anymore. That reminds me, TV sure has gotten good lately . . .

 

Bio: Eric Beetner is the author of Dig Two Graves, Split Decision (book #3 of Fight Card) co-author (with JB Kohl) of One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. His award-winning short stories have appeared in Pulp Ink, D*cked, Off The Record, Grimm Tales, Discount Noir, Murder In The Wind and the Million Writers Award: best new web voices. For more info visit ericbeetner.blogspot.com

 

 

Recommended Read: ONE TOO MANY BLOWS TO THE HEAD By JB Kohl and Eric Beetner

 

Kansas City, 1939. Boxing, revenge, murder, alcoholism, redemption, homicide investigating, underground dog fighting, fight fixing, prostitution.’

 

Something for everyone there, eh?

 

I’ve been a big fan of Eric Beetners writing for over a year now and have been looking forward to this book since it was first announced.

 

Eric wrote this book with Jennifer Kohl without ever meeting her or even speaking with her on the phone.

It has two alternating first person POVs; Ray Ward’s brother was killed in the ring and he wants to settle the score and Dean Fokoli is a homicide cop who is following Ward’s bloody trail.

 

It is pure pleasure . The expression ‘a page turner’ is pretty much overused used but One Too Many Blows To The Head is just that. It flows beautifully and is full of great lines that I really wish I’d written.

 

The alternating POV’s are distinctive but gel together really well. The cop and bad guy as two sides of the same coin has been done before – in the film Heat, for example – but the standard of writing makes this easily one of the better examples.

 

One Too Many Blows To The Head is knockout, of course.

 

You can buy it here:

http://www.amazon.com/One-Too-Many-Blows-Head/dp/1935171321/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262546913&sr=1-1

 

 

Eric blogs here: http://ericbeetner.blogspot.com/

 

Jennifer has a swanky website here: http://jbkohl.com/