Recommended Read: Ezra Slef – The Next Nobel Laureate in Literature by Andrew Komarnyckyj

Humbert Botekin, a disgraced English literature professor, decides to write the definitive biography of his hero Ezra Slef – a world-renowned postmodernist novelist. Slef, however, declines to be interviewed by Botekin and even refuses him access to photographs to use in the biography. Still, the hopelessly deluded Botekin is not easily deterred and he embarks upon the project with great gusto!

Ezra Slef The Next Nobel Laureate in Literature by Andrew Komarnyckyj is an arch and wry black comedy that comes across like Nabokov or Bulgakov, by way of Peter Cook. A cracking read and highly recommended.

A Film For Friday: Too Many Crooks

Too Many Crooks is a 1959 British comedy film directed by Mario Zampi. The plot concerns a bunch of inept crooks who kidnap the wife of a shady businessman, only for him to decide he doesn’t want her back.[1] It stars George ColeSidney James and Bernard Bresslaw as members of the gang, alongside Brenda De Banzie as the victim and Terry-Thomas as her husband.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence’s Mate is at 6S

I’m back over at the Six Sentences site with a little yarn entitled The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence’s Mate.

‘Oliver Peacock had often thought that there was an art to being in the right place at the right time and that life was more than simply a matter of chance, of luck.’

Read the rest here, if you fancy, and check out te rest of 6S, if you have the time.

Recommended Read: Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver

(THIS REVIEW FIRST APPEARED OVER AT CRIME FICTION LOVER)

Emotionally battered and bruised by his most recent case, Detective Sergeant Pace leaves London behind, including his loving girlfriend and confidant Maeve, and returns to his rural hometown of Hinton Hollow – population 5,120 – in the hope of some sort of respite. But Evil follows him home…

Will Carver’ Hinton Hollow Death Trap has echoes of other dark small town tales such as Jim Thompson’s The Kill-Off, Stephen King’s Needful Things, Lars Von Trier’s Dogville, and, of course, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, in that the seemingly idyllic small town has a dark and seedy underbelly. Indeed, Hinton Hollow seems to be full of secrets and ‘the woods are not what they seem’. Disappointment, jealousy, bitterness, resentment and violence all bubble just below Hinton Hollow’s homely surface and, in the course of the novel, all of this and more is uncovered. DC Pace’s Home Counties haven soon turns into a Hell on Earth.

Pretty much as soon as he arrives back in Hinton Hollow, things go off kilter. There is a horrifying murder, a worried mother sends her youngest child on the train out of town, far away from the encroaching darkness that is soon to envelope the place, and as for Darren from the slaughterhouse, well let’s just say that his story in the early part of the book is not for those of a nervous disposition. 

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is a tale full of twists and turns sharp enough to give you whiplash and it works well as a gripping police procedural, a whodunnit with a dash of the supernatural about it, but it is also a thoughtful exploration of human frailty and our capacity for self-deception. 

There is a rich and varied cast of characters too. Some of them are horrible, some are annoying, some are ridiculous, some are downright scary, and others – such as the owners of the local diner – are really, really nice. But they are all very believable and realistic, even the pompous policeman with the preposterous moustache. 

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is original, engrossing, touching, sad, violent, funny and, yes, occasionally annoying. Because the real twist in this collection of little tales of misanthropy is that the story is narrated by Evil itself, who has seemingly arrived in Hinton Hollow with the sole purpose of making Detective Sergeant Pace suffer for his past transgressions.

As the story is told, Evil playfully and capriciously interjects the narrative with comments, hints, secrets, reflections and even homilies that wouldn’t look at all out of place in a cheesy self-help book. In fact, in many ways Evil seems to be a tad naïve and a bit of a prig too!

But rather than disrupt the storyline, Evil’s black pearls of wisdom help paint a bigger picture of the denizens of Hinton Hollow and their interlocked lives. For sure, in just five days, in such a small town, a hell of a lot happens. Little things and big things. Ordinary things and bizarre things. Good things and bad things. And very, very bad things indeed.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is a clever and inventive novel that tests the reader’s patience and endurance for sure. At times it comes across like a more grown-up, less of a smartass, version of a Chuck Palahniuk novel or a darker shade of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. And I’ll admit, about a third of the way through the book, I faltered a little, but thankfully I stuck with it and found reading the novel a rewarding and satisfying experience.

I should also mention that this is the first Will Carver novel that I’ve read and although it refers to events in the two previous books to feature Detective Sergeant Pace – Good Samaritans and Nothing Important Happened Here Today – it didn’t hinder my appreciation of Hinton Hollow Death Trip in any way.

A damn fine five-star read.

A Film For Friday: The Ghost Train

“The Ghost Train” is a 1941 British film directed by Walter Forde and was based on the 1923 play of the same name written by Arnold Ridley, who much later played Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army. The story is about hijinks and chills ensue when a group become stranded at an isolated station and a legendary phantom train approaches

Update: Guns Of Brixton and Cold London Blues

Would you Adam and Eve it, Guns of Brixton and Cold London Blues are brown bread! Well, not quite …

My comic crime capers Guns of Brixton and Cold London Blues were published by Caffeine Nights Publishing in 2014 and 2016 respectively.  And they received a hell of a lot of positive feedback, particularly Guns Of Brixton. However, due to Caffeine Nights decision to reduce their booklist, they have now reverted the rights of the books to me and ceased publication of the titles.

I’m sure both books will be back out and about in some shape or form at a later dater. So watch this space!

In the meantime, the eBook versions of the books are no longer available but there are some paperbacks knocking about.

So if you fancy nabbing one, maybe pop over to Fantastic Fiction:

Guns Of Brixton.

GOB

 

Cold London Blues.

CLB

Recommended Read: White Rabbit by K A Laity

K A Laity’s White Rabbit is a marvelous and potent cocktail of crime fiction, screwball comedy and the supernatural. A cracking yarn choc full of brilliant lines that reminds you of Wodehouse, Preston Sturges and the Coen Brothers and yet is like nothing you’ve ever read before. Fantastic stuff. More please!

white rabbit

Recommended Read: Slow Horses by Mick Herron

River Cartwright’s short career in the Intelligence Service is almost down the Swanee due to a major screw up on his part. Luckily for him, his grandfather is a bit of a big shot in the Service so he is instead banished to the purgatory of Slough House – home to the Service’s flotsam and jetsam – to work under the bleary and beady eye of the legendary Jackson Lamb.

When a teenager is kidnapped and held hostage, however, things soon go pear shaped and Lamb’s team of misfits and oddball’s is dragged into action, like it or not.

Mick Herron’s Slow Horses is a joy. It’s brilliantly written with rich prose and a sharply drawn cast of characters. The plotting is insidiously clever, the dialogue is smart and funny, and there is a wonderful sense of time and place. Slow Horses ticked all the boxes for me and then some. Bloody marvellous.

slow horses

Gumshoe Blues: The Peter Ord Yarns is OUT NOW!

GUMSHOE BLUES: THE PETER ORD YARNS was published by CLOSE TO THE BONE yesterday, and it’s already picked up a couple of more than decent reviews.

Over at THE DARK TIMES, Elgin Bleeker says:

‘Funny and noir are two words not frequently linked. But Paul D. Brazill, master of the comic crime novel and short story, pulls it off. His writing has you laughing while it leads you down a dark alley and punches you in the gut.’

And at Amazon, Robert B. Wesley II, M.D. says:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great world building with meticulous detail, clever plot, and well developed characters.

And there’s more:

“…dark, witty, farcical and thoroughly entertaining.” — Barbara F. Jones @ StorGy Books

“The adventures of this PI feel like they rolled out of a Tom Waits song — crime with the feel of a shaggy dog story” — K A Laity.

“An original homebrew with a kick. Well worth sampling.” — Mark Ramsden.

Here’s the blurb:

‘Following the breakdown of his marriage, in a booze-addled flash of inspiration, Peter Ord decides to become a private investigator. Dark farce and tragicomedy soon ensue. Peter must tackle many challenging cases, and when he comes under the radar of a local crime lord, he may have bitten off more than he can chew. With sidekicks, like boozy hack, Bryn Laden, failure is not an option – it’s compulsory.’

You can grab GUMSHOE BLUES: THE PETER ORD YARNS HERE, if you’re that way inclined.

gumshoe blues

Pre – order Gumshoe Blues: The Peter Ord Yarns

“The adventures of this PI feel like they rolled out of a Tom Waits song — crime with the feel of a shaggy dog story” — K A Laity.
“An original homebrew with a kick. Well worth sampling.” — Mark Ramsden.
Following the breakdown of his marriage, in a booze-addled flash of inspiration, Peter Ord decides to become a private investigator. Dark farce and tragicomedy soon ensue. Peter must tackle many challenging cases, and when he comes under the radar of a local crime lord, he may have bitten off more than he can chew. With sidekicks, like boozy hack, Bryn Laden, failure is not an option – it’s compulsory.

GUMSHOE BLUES will be available at the end of August but you can pre-order the eBook now, if you fancy, from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk etc

gumshoe blues

 

 

I Carry On Blogging!

carry on lollies

I have a guest blog over at the splendid Carry On Blogging!

‘It’s been said that the British like eccentrics and I think it’s certainly true that we have a predisposition towards the odd, the awkward – especially where our entertainers are concerned. Britain has had its share of slick matinée idols of course, but there was always something a bit rough around the edges about the likes of Oliver Reed, Richard Burton and Sean Connery.’

Read the rest here, if you’re that way inclined, and check out the rest of the blog.