Recommended Read: Meaningful Conversations by Richard Godwin

Meaningful Conversations by Richard Godwin : Dark, rich language that paints a deliciously delirious Ballardian Giallo.meaninful1

Here’s the blurb:

Meaningful Conversations is a hybrid Noir novel that tackles the modern world and its most tabooed addictions and mythologies. Its protagonist, cellist Bertrand Mavers, is the best adjusted serial killer you will ever meet. His therapist, Otto Wall, calls him the sanest man he knows. What he actually is will surprise and astonish you.


The narrator of Meaningful Conversations is a brilliant mix of Artaud, de Sade, and the narrators of Ellis’ American Psycho and Kosinski’s Steps. He’s in analysis, but he has taken his own temperature. He may be febrile, but he’s a scream. Richard Godwin continues to mix contemporary genres with elegance and power. —Professor Jay Gertzman.

Dark, rich language that paints a deliciously delirious Ballardian Giallo.—Paul D. Brazill author of A Case of Noir and Guns of Brixton.

If JG Ballard and Angela Carter played a game of Chinese Whispers with Anaïs Nin and William Burroughs, it might end up something like Godwin’s latest—a wild and surreal ride that veers from cold horror to steamy kink and offers a unique satire of modern life in bizarre form. Whatever you want to call it, you won’t put it down until you finish it. K. A. Laity, author of White Rabbit and the Chastity Flame series.

No one since H.P Lovecraft explored the depths of human darkness more earnestly than Richard Godwin. Meaningful Conversations is a work of righteous anger and burning honesty that’s supercharged with Jodorowskian eroticism. Godwin marches to the sound of his own drum, but he can do no wrong.—Benoît Lelièvre, Dead End Follies

Exiles Guest Blog: WHY I WROTE THE TRIBE BY Renato Bratkovič

exiles artizan


In autumn 2012, the first seeds of the Slovenian protest movement were planted in my beloved hometown, Maribor. The goal was to kick the corrupt and arrogant mayor’s ass – whose attitude had pissed my people off – but the riots soon spread all over Slovenia, aimed at the mayors of other larger towns and also at the Slovenian government and the arrogant prime minister, who had the balls to call us zombies: “This is no protest movement, it’s the rise of the zombies!”. And he hadn’t even  been elected, but had maneuvered himself into the government and managed to form a coalition of dividers.

He later added that we were a bunch of left fascists (what ever the fuck that means!), but “the zombies” beat him – he finally had to go (just like the mayor of Maribor before him), and is now on his way to the prison for two years. Well, we’ll need to see more of this happening to a bunch of his cronies too, of course!

Nothing has changed unfortunately – the protests never developed into a revolution, the corrupt politicians and greedy bankers weren’t  flushed away, we never saw new faces, just the same stinking asses changing seats to keep them warm for the next four years (which they are now going to change, as the “new” government has also fallen apart after only a year, go figure).

We-ea-aa-aa-aaah, the sheep, are filling holes the “successful” businessmen drilled in our banks, so the sons of the bitches managing them can enjoy their ice cold champagne, oysters and fresh piece of ass on a yacht and laugh their asses off at how stupid we are – instead of providing us loans to move the economy forward. And we allow our incompetent higher-authority-obeying “rulers” to sink our grand-grand-grandchildren into the endless pit of debt, while my people are getting poorer and poorer, and those who help the poor get punished by the state, which created the perfect conditions for becoming poor.

“We can and we will!” Hell, yes – enjoy the party!

I’m angry! I’m mad! But at least in my story, The Tribe, things are going a different way – the revolution breaks out in the City, there IS a new face to disrupt the routine there, no matter what they do to him or where they put him in. The story is told by a cop, who had to fight the protesters and who’s supposed to nail Vladimir, the revolter professor, but …

… but I have a reason to be both proud and happy to have my work featured again in the line with such excellent writers (thank you, Paul), and my writing HAS a purpose, at last: the anthology’s mission is to raise awareness of (and some money for) the Marfan Foundation.

Bio: Renato Bratkovič is an advertising creative, fiction writer and blogger from Slovenia. He writes in Slovene and in English. He’s published a short story collection Ne poskušajte tega doma (Don’t Try This At Home) in 2012, his story High Midnight has appeared in Noir Nation 3 (VegaWire Media) and The Tribe is one of the Exiles: An outsider Anthology (Blackwitch Press) stories. He runs Artizan, his advertising agency and publishing house, with his partners.

Exiles: An Outsider Anthology is out now .

Short, Sharp Interview: James A. Newman

the white flamingoPDB: Can you pitch your latest book in 25 words or less?

Aging Beauty queen The White Flamingo hires heroin-addicted P.I Joe Dylan to investigate a Ripper copycat killer in vice-riddled Fun City.

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

I’m reading, watching and listening to stuff generally produced in the last century. I don’t keep up to date with any new television series although my friends tell me I’m missing out on a lot of great stuff. Movie-wise I’m catching up on some old French noir titles and also some Korean and Chinese crime movies. Music-wise I’m entrenched with 60’s 70’s and 90’s tracks. Television, Lou Reed and the Velvets, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Luke Haines, The’ Faith Healers. Book-wise James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss made a big impact when I found a copy in a dusty second-hand bookstore last December. The latest volume of William Burrough’s letters Rub out the Words I keep coming back to. For a pure pulp fun thriller fix James Hadley Chase hits the spot. I reread Bukowski probably too much for my health.

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

Nope, not for me it isn’t. Nor can I be an objective watcher of movies, television, animation or an objective listener of music. If I watch an animation movie I’ll break down the plot – huge amounts are money are spent on each frame so each frame is essential. Good way to learn plot is to watch animation or read comic books. I learned a lot from Herge. In music I’ll wonder what guitar pedal is being used and what chemical the lead singer is using while delivering an acceptance speech. I’m a vulture picking out every trick and technique across all media. But occasionally, very occasionally, I’ll lose myself a bit and ‘go with the flow’ when I know a great director or writer is at the wheel I enjoy the ride because you never know where they are going. There is no real sense of audience in much of what they do. The audience /reader comes along for the ride for the sheer hell of it rather than being led by the hand and promised there’s a house made of candy at the end of the forest. “The woods are full of wardens” Kerouac once wrote. The greatest writer’s trick in his toolbox is to fool readers and other writers by switching direction along the trail to that sugar-coated cottage. Take me somewhere strange. I like it.

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

Yes. I co-wrote a television series that has yet to be marketed and have been rehearsing a comic play of the same name – The Natives – about expat English teachers working in Asia. I’ve also tried my hand at directing but am not really energetic enough to fill that role. Directing is tough. Give me a blank page any day. I enjoy writing for the screen or stage but acting and directing is tough, although I had some training in college.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

james a newmanWell, I’ve written two books based around the Whitechapel murders of 1888, so a hell of a lot of historic research went into that. And I mean HELL! The book I’m just finishing The Black Rose part four in the Joe Dylan detective series features s a gypsy community in England so I had to learn some of the language and codes of living of the travelling community, but I had a lot of that already as a Romany gypsy community lived near to where I grew up. There’s also a drug deal involved so I had to research that thoroughly, not by taking the stuff, by asking what’s on the market and prices etc. But research for me is generally just living, hitting the concrete, bars, galleries, meeting new people, especially other artists and writers. I went back to London last October and spent days walking the city. A lot of material comes from those days walking. Dreams help too. Not sure if that is research. Not sure what it is. But it helps open up a novel. If you are really working on a book it’s on your mind the second you fall asleep and you can get entire scenes during sleep. You wake up and the alpha brain waves are flowing. The best time to write is the morning or the middle of the night. It’s essential to have a notepad near the bed at all times and obviously a notebook with you as you walk around any city in the world.

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

I truly believe word of mouth is the most powerful tool. In a small but thriving artistic community like where I live in Bangkok I would advise writers to go to art galleries, reading events, meet people and be friendly but not overbearing.  Social media is good up to a point and I enjoy using it and it has helped sell more than a few books. The down side is that writers tend to over-use or abuse it. Social media is a wonderful tool that I try to use sparingly rather than tweet like a budgerigar on amphetamine. Facebook is a bit addictive. Like most addictive substances its a good slave but a bad master. Use it don’t abuse it, kids.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?

My publishing house Spanking Pulp Press has a new website to be launched soon and about twenty pulp fiction thrillers in the pipeline. I have two of my novels coming out next month. One called Itchy Park with Blood Moon Press in Canada. And The Black Rose with Spanking Pulp Press. I have another two novellas coming out one as a double book with John Brunni – Undead cargo. The other is about lizards taking over a city and is called predictably enough Lizard City. Plus editing and hosting reading / signing events. A lot on the schedule but always have time to chat with Paul D. Brazil. Cheers, mate.

Bio: JAMES A. NEWMAN began writing fiction when he came out of rehab. He was addicted to pulp fiction. There was no cure. Before that he played guitar and sang in neu-gazer bands in London. Newman moved to Bangkok in the year 2001 and began writing fiction. He lived in ten-dollar hotel rooms and survived on chemical whiskey and raw luck. Newman has published over fifty short stories in various publications all over the world; most recently for Big Pulp Magazine. He has been included in many anthologies. His novel BANGKOK EXPRESS appeared in 2010. The sequel RED NIGHT ZONE was published shortly after. His latest novel THE WHITE FLAMINGO has hovered around the Amazon crime Noir charts peaking at the top spot since its release in July last year. He has been nominated for two awards but won neither.

Guest Blog: It’s just Australian crime fiction mate by Dr Rachel Franks

rachelAs a crime-writing nation, modern Australia is a much younger sibling to the United Kingdom and the United States. Yet, like any other enthusiastic child, Australia took to crime writing with eagerness and flair. Australians would go on to reflect and reject some of the great traditions of the genre established by many of the earliest names to be associated with crime fiction including Wilkie Collins and Edgar Allan Poe. Indeed, there’s a great confidence in Australian crime fiction as Australian writers had a distinct advantage over their British and American predecessors. Let’s face it; in the early days everyone knew a crook.

The British established Colonial Australia as a penal colony in 1788 and around 182,000 convicts would be dispatched to the Great Southern Land until the final transport reached our shores in 1868. These men and women (who, with a few exceptions, were transported for 7 years, for 14 years or for life) set the scene for Australians to write and to read crime fiction; though the majority of these criminals hardly fitted the profile of the modern day serial killer or violent murderer found in contemporary examples of the genre. In amongst those charged with assault and highway robbery were those guilty of much lesser crimes such as forgery and fraud, or stealing coats or handkerchiefs, food or drink, as well as cash and more valuable items such as livestock or pocket watches. These activities were enough to establish an interest in the criminal life and tales of, and inspired by, the exploits of such lawbreakers would appear in newspapers and pamphlets before becoming staples of publications such as The Australian Journal (1865-1962) and The Bulletin (1880-2008).

Australia’s first novel, Henry Savery’s Quintus Servinton (1830), is a crime novel and many of our early literary efforts followed Savery’s example. Charles Rowcroft’s The Bushranger of Van Diemen’s Land (1846) is a melodramatic tale designed to warn potential criminals away from a life of crime. Henry Kingsley’s The Recollections of Geoffry Hamlyn (1859) is a story of bushmen and bushrangers that has never been out of print. Ellen Davitt’s Force and Fraud: a tale of the bush (1865) clearly demonstrates the capacity of women to contribute, as both character and creator, to the crime fiction genre. Marcus Clarke’s (1846-1881) For the Term of His Natural Life, serialised in the early 1870s and first appearing as a novel in 1874, is widely considered to be one of Australia’s most important literary works. Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886) is a classic locked room mystery and the first Australian international bestseller after its initial publication in 1886 while the well-known works of Guy Boothby, that detail the exploits of the occultist Dr Nikola, in: A Bid for Fortune, or Dr Nikola’s Vendetta (1895); Dr Nikola Returns (1896); The Lust of Hate (1898); Dr Nikola’s Experiment with Three Short Stories (1899); and Farewell Nikola (1901), dominated the final decade of the Colonial Era and saw Australian crime fiction through to Federation in 1901.

So, Australians made a strong start and have now been pushing out high quality crime fiction novels for nearly 200 years but what is Australian crime fiction?

Setting is probably the most obvious answer. It’s not, however, a straightforward one. Sure there are the obligatory kangaroos out bush and descriptions of Sydney Harbour on a hot day or the back alleys of Melbourne after rain. Yet, Arthur Upfield was born in England while his Napoleon Bonaparte novels predominantely feature uniquely Australian bush settings. Miles Franklin was born in Australia but her only crime fiction work, Bring the Monkey (1933), is set entirely on a large country estate in England.

Language is another obvious answer. The occasional re-imagining of The Queen’s English providing a very specific Australian flavour. There’s the odd bit of slang and a talent for understatement, when Shane Maloney describes where the corpse was hidden at the Pacific Pastoral meat-packing works in Stiff (1994) it’s pretty simple: “There it was, jammed between a pallet load of best export bone-less beef and half a tonne of spring lamb.” There’s also a very particular way of talking about class divides as seen in Peter Corris’ The Dying Trade (1980): “I pushed my old Falcon along the sculptured divided highway which wound up to the tasteful mansions and shaven lawns. Mercs and Jags slipped out of driveways. The only other under-ten-thousand-dollar drivers I saw were in a police Holden and they were probably there to see that the white lines on the road weren’t getting dirty.”

Australian crime fiction is both of these things: the outback and the streets of Sydney and Melbourne; the way people describe things and the way they talk to each other. But Australian crime fiction is also something more. There’s a dry humour, there’s an idea that maybe not all criminals are as bad as they seem, and there’s often a healthy disrespect for authority figures and for the system. There’s also a desire to just get in there and get the job done. A great example of this can be found in Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore (2005) the story of a police officer, Joe Cashin, who, suffering the long-term effects of being seriously wounded, leaves his posting with Homicide in Melbourne and returns to the small coastal town he calls home. When Cashin loses his temper with a particularly obnoxious and racist local man, he takes to him with a can of dog food; the blow so fierce both men feel the impact. The act generates no cries of outrage or claims of police brutality from the reader. It’s just a copper taking care of someone who desperately needed to be taken care of. Using a can of Frisky Dog, Meaty Chunks in Marrow Gravy, instead of a regulation piece of weaponry, is simply a nice touch.

Australian Crime Fiction: a quick guide

Marcus Clarke (1846-1881): His classic tale For the Term of His Natural Life (1874) is a story of crime, convicts and a moving commentary on social life.

Fergus Hume (1859-1932): His first, and best, crime novel The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (1886) was also Australia’s first international bestseller.

Mary Fortune (c. 1833-c. 1910): Australia’s first woman crime fiction writer, she wrote The Detective’s Album a serial that began in 1868 and went for an astonishing forty years.

Arthur Upfield (1890-1964): The creator of Napoleon Bonaparte and the man responsible for giving the police procedural credibility.

Patricia Flower (1914-1977): A fine writer of police procedurals and psychological thrillers, her first novel Wax Flowers for Gloria originally appeared in 1958.

Patricia Carlon (1927-2002): A writer of crime fiction and romance fiction her best crime novel is one of her later works The Whispering Wall which was first published in 1969.

Jon Cleary (1942-2010): The creator of Scobie Malone and one of the most respected crime fiction authors Australia has produced.

Peter Corris (1942-): The creator of Cliff Hardy and the man often credited with generating a renaissance of Australian crime fiction.

Gabrielle Lord (1946-): One of Australia’s most successful crime fiction writers, she has written popular crime fiction series for adults and young people.

Marele Day (1947-): The creator of Claudia Valentine and the woman who produced the best feminist reimagining of the hardboiled novel.

Regardless of how broadly or narrowly Australian crime fiction is defined there is an enormous reservoir of titles to explore. From the early tales of bunyips and bushrangers to Peter Corris’ hardboiled stories of tough men living tough lives. These titles have international appeal and share common themes of good guy gets bad guy (and sometimes the girl), tough girl catches a few killers of her own, and the heroes – generally – manage to triumph over the villains. There is, however, something unique about Australian crime fiction, let’s call it an attitude, that makes it easily recognised as a product of Down Under. Enjoy.

Bio: Dr. Rachel Franks (administrator / educator / researcher / writer) is based in Sydney, Australia. Some people look at her strangely when they find out her PhD is in crime fiction. Rachel has delivered numerous conference papers on crime fiction, food studies and information science. Some of her work can be found in various books, journals and magazines as well as on a few blogs. She likes characters who are tough, quirky or both and stories that have neat endings. Her favourite murder weapon is poison.


crimefictionwriter at

More Updates, News, Cobblers.

ruth-jacobs-bw-1My yarn Who Killed Skippy? – which was in the first issue of Noir Nation and The Mammoth Book Of best British Crime 10 –  is over at Crime City Central, narrated by Gareth Stack. Have a dig in the archives, while you’re over there.

The Big Thrill feature Guns Of Brixton as one of their New E-Releases.

Ruth Jacobs interviews me over at her blog.

And I interview Ruth over at Brit Grit Alley!

Recommended Reads. June 2013

1 lost summerRichard Godwin – One Lost Summer

Richard Godwin’s masterful One Lost Summer is a sweltering, intense noir set amongst London’s rich and powerful.  A claustrophobic, psychological study of obsession and loss, voyeurism and sex, with echoes of Simenon, Highsmith and Hitchcock.

Col Bury – The Cops Of Manchester

Another hard-hitting and realistic collection of flash fiction and short, sharp stories from Col Bury. The standouts are the grittiest – ‘A Public Service’ and the fantastic vigilante tale ‘Mopping Up.’ More from The Hoodie Hunter please?

Noir Nation: International Journal Of Crime Fiction 2

I was lucky to have a story – Who killed Skippy? – in the first issue of Eddie Vega’s Noir Nation. The second issue is another classy mix of great visuals, non-fiction and short stories. Cort McMeel‘s interview with Madison Smart Bell is fascinating and the short stories from Ray Banks, Court Merrigan and Andrew Nette are particularly splendid. All in all, a gem of a magazine.

Tony Black – Killing Time In Vegas

Tony Black’s Killing Time In Vegas is a typically tightly-written, hard-hitting, short story collection which sees the master of Tartan Noir turn a bleary eye on America’s underbelly. Every story is a great example of hardboiled crime fiction, though the title story was my favourite.

Darren Sant – The Bank Manager & The Bum

Darren Sant is best known for his fantastic and gritty Tales From The Longcroft books. But there was always a big heart inside all that grit and with The Bank Manager & The Bum he has given us a heart-warming slice of hard hitting urban fantasy. Great stuff it is, too. His best yet.

Edward A. Grainger – The Adventures Of Cash Laramie & Gideon Miles Volumes 1 & 2.

If you like westerns, you’ll love The Adventures Of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. If you like crime fiction, you’ll also be well served. And if you like both genres, then these are the books for you.  The stories in these collections are perfectly formed tales of the old west with a more modern slant. Cash and Gideon are Marshals, one white, one black. Men of honor dealing with the problems of violent and dangerous times. Every story is a gem but favourites are the hard-boiled noir of ‘The Outlaw Marshall’ and the intense tale of child abuse, ‘Melanie.’  In volume 2, Edward A. Grainger gives us another great collection of stories about good men in tough times. The first story – written with Chuck Tyrell – is probably the best of the bunch as it gives us Cash’s back story, telling us about how he was raised by Native Americans. The final story is a shot of the dark stuff.  Reflections In A Glass Of Maryland Rye, is pure western noir showing Cash Laramie’s darker side. The stories in between are gems also. Highly recommended.

laidlawTimothy Hallinan – Crashed.

Timothy Hallinan’s splendid Crashed introduces us to Junior Bender, a well-read burglar who is hired to steal a Paul Klee painting and ends up caught in a game of double-cross, triple- cross and more. Crashed is a very well written and immensely enjoyable crime caper full of rounded, realistic and interesting characters and peppered with sharp satirical swipes. A corker, for sure.

 John Llewellyn Probert – The Nine Deaths Of Dr Valentine

A serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. But not just any serial killer. No, this one is clearly obsessed with the films of the late great Vincent Price and is putting his obsession to good use by murdering doctors in various ingenious ways. The Nine Deaths Of Dr Valentine is smoothly written and  bloody marvellous fun, capturing the spirit of Dr Phibes and then giving it an extra twist. Highly recommended.

Nick Quantrill – I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

P I Joe Geraghty is hired to solve a disputed murder case in this short and sharp slice of crime fiction from Nick Quantrill which is a great introduction to his writing and his immensely likable PI.

William McIlvanney – Laidlaw.

A young girl’s body is found in a Glasgow park on a bright sunny day. The killer hides out in a derelict house; the only person that he can trust is Harry Rayburn, a former lover. Rayburn is a nightclub owner and low level criminal. Bud Lawson, the victim’s father, is full of violent rage and out for revenge, no matter the consequences. John Rhodes, Glasgow’s biggest gangster, has been asked to help him. D C Harkness is assigned to the case alongside Jack Laidlaw, a brooding hard-bitten cop with the soul of a poet.

Laidlaw is an artful, gritty, social-realist novel that was written in the mid `70s and has only recently been republished. It is a hard-hitting, multi-POV collection of rich character studies, the most potent character being the city of Glasgow, as conflicted and conflicting as Detective Laidlaw himself.

Laidlaw is the impressive start to a short series of novels featuring Detective Laidlaw, a series that I look forward to following. Marvelous stuff.

Guest Blog: What’s Next In International Crime Fiction? by Quentin Bates.

Q-(Tony)9721Nordic is mainstream these days. It’s not that long since Nordic crime fiction was strictly a minority genre, at least in English. It’s not the same in Europe, where German publishers in particular have been rather more ready to translate obscure fiction from the chilly north.

Until a few years ago a smallish band of connoisseurs appreciated translations of Sjöwall & Wahlöö and a few other obscure writers who never made it anywhere near a bestseller list in Britain or the US.

Then came Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, followed the Wallender books and finally by Stieg Larsson’s trilogy that took the world by surprise and by storm. Who would have expected it? I won’t say too much about Stieg Larsson’s work, partly because The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is still only halfway to the top of my to-be-read pile, along with so much else.

Since then we have had The Killing, Borgen, The Bridge, and a bunch of other stuff that has come out of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, on top of the flood of books by Nordic authors snapped up with indecent haste by publishers hearing the rattle of a bandwagon disappearing into the distance.

C2tBcoverThen there’s the tiny band of Nordic pretenders, not even half a dozen of us who write Nordic crime stuff but without being born-and-bred Scandies ourselves; James Thompson, Michael Ridpath, Jan Costin Wagner, Torquil Macleod – and me.

I’m wondering if Scandi crime fatigue started to kick in? Have you seen someone rolling their eyes at the sight of yet another middle-aged Swedish detective or a hard-drinking Norwegian private eye or a Faroese sweater? Has Nordic peaked?

I don’t think it has yet, and I hope not… I have one of these of my own coming out in a day or two, and a good few more ideas simmering on the back burner for future reference. Some us live in terror that crime readers will tire of Nordic mysteries in the face of what looks dangerously like overkill. Not that the flow of Nordic crime yet shows any sign of abating – quite the contrary. While every Swede who has ever set finger to keyboard appears to have been translated, there are Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish and Finnish crime writers, plus a solitary Faroese, who haven’t yet been graced with a translation yet.

So what comes next? The truth of the matter is that there is stacks of good stuff out there that hasn’t caught on yet. We’ve heard of Emerald Noir, the emerging wave of Irish crime fiction writers, who have the big advantage that they don’t need translating. The same applies to Aussie crime, and proper gritty old stuff it is as well.
Germany is a huge and hungry market for crime fiction, as shown by the vast swathes of English, American and Nordic crime fiction translated in to German. But who knew that there’s a whole raft of homegrown German crime fiction that isn’t translated into English? Maybe it doesn’t translate well? I don’t know.

Then there’s the French. France loves les polars, and they’re starting to cross the Channel, some brought to us by the same canny publisher who brought us Miss Smilla, Wallender and Lisbeth Salander. Napoleon’s Grande Armée stopped at Boulogne, turned around and marched off to Austerlitz instead, but the French crime writers aren’t letting La Manche stop them.

It’s time to think ahead for untrodden ground. Chilean crime? Difficult, but worth thinking about. Mongolian murders? Maybe not. Ulan Bator’s bloody cold and it’s a long way to go for research. Nigerian Noir? Sounds good, but it’s unlikely a fiction writer could even come close to topping reality there. North Korea? Let’s not even think about that one.

In fact it’s hardly possible to put a finger on a relatively accessible part of the world that hasn’t had a detective of its own at some point. Not to worry. I have a few aces up my sleeve. Chad, Turkmenistan and South Georgia all look like fertile ground, so I’d better start doing some research.

On second thoughts, scratch South Georgia.

This post first appeared at NOIR NATION.

I interview Quentin Bates here.

Short, Sharp Interview: Quentin Bates

PDB: Can you pitch CHILLED TO THE BONE in 25 words or less?

If you don’t want your wife to know you’re being blackmailed or find yourself embarrassingly dead, mind where you put it to start with…

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

I’ve been reading books by Jakob Arjouni, a German writer of Turkish origin, who died not long ago, tragically young. Dark, fast stuff. Also books by Dominique Manotti, a French writer who has a few books translated into English. Dead Horsemeat and The Lorraine Connection were both excellent. I daren’t start the others as I know that’s a day gone and I have stuff to do at the moment.

On the box, Engrenages (Spiral) is bloody brilliant, streets ahead of anything I’ve seen for a long time. Laure Berthaud gives Sara Lund a real run for her money, and for my money Laure has the edge.

Music, I’m already mourning the imminent passing of the unique and magnificent Wilko Johnson, who has just finished the farewell tour he organised when he found out he was suffering from cancer and had just weeks to live. A giant of a man.

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

I hope so, but probably not. It’s not easy to read something these days without looking at the nuts and bolts of how it’s put together. Although with something that’s really, really good, you just get swept away with it and don’t think about the mechanics until afterwards.

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

No. Well, not at the moment. As things are I have enough on my plate and daren’t go down any new avenues just yet.

PDB: How much research goes into your writing?

Not a great deal. I have a day job as well and don’t have the opportunity to do reams of in-depth research. I have a couple of sources I can go to for technical stuff, but that’s about as far as it goes. What is important is to spend some time in Iceland and get the feel for the place and what’s going on.

I spend a week or two doing day job stuff and mooching, seeing friends and relatives, reading the papers with steam radio on in the background, chatting to the fishermen at the quay, taxi drivers, the guy who runs the dockside caff, eavesdropping to get a feeling for what people really think and what their opinions and fears are. Then I go home and write about it.

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

I have no idea… I do Facebook and Twitter. Twitter tends to be more fun as it’s Facebook’s less prim distant cousin, but Facebook is probably more useful as publicity. I blog regularly at the International Crime Authors Reality Check  alongside Barbara Nadel, Christopher G Moore and others, and occasionally on my own sadly-neglected blog.

Social media is great fun and it has found me some brilliant friends. I spend more time on it than I should and it can become a terrible thief of time if allowed to. As for useful? I’ve absolutely no idea how many books my Tweets and blogs sell and it’s something that’s probably impossible to figure out, but these days social media is something a fairly new writer can’t afford to neglect.

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2013?

There’s CrimeFest at the end of May. I’m not sure what happens after that. I’d love to be able to say that I’m working on the next book, but at the moment that’s not really the case. I’ve been working on outlines and have opening sequences for several, although I’m not sure which of them might turn into the next one.

I’d like to do another e-book like Winterlude, the one that was published in January. It was a new experience to write at that length and while it was restricting in some ways, it was very liberating in others. So I’m hoping there’s a novel and an e-book to be had out of the handful of ideas I’m tinkering with.

PDB: Where can people find out more about your work?

There’s my web site,  a Facebook page  and I can be found on twitter as @graskeggur. It’s all there on Amazon, although for some reason on the US Amazon site you do have to hunt around for it.

Part of the plot of Chilled to the Bone centres partly around a dodgy dating web site,, and as I didn’t want to upset anyone by using an existing domain name, I had to buy it. But if you click on it, will only take you to my website, which is currently being revamped and may even be finished by now.


Short, Sharp Interview: Anne Trager of Le French Book

PDB: What is Le French Book ?

The crème de la crime from France. We are very focused on bringing great mysteries and thrillers by French writers to new readers across the English-speaking world. Think a serial killer in Paris, deceit and treachery in vineyards, rolling countryside filled with hidden secrets. Think also, wine-sipping freelance spies based in the French capital, and intrigue straight out of World War II. Clearly, there are lots of good reads being published in France these days, and our motto is if we love it, we’ll translate it. Our books are direct-to-digital translations.

PDB: Who are the criminal masterminds behind Le French Book?

Le French Book is a crime of passion. Its founder Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for 27 years and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. After 25 years experience in the translation business and 15 in publishing and corporate communications, she woke up one morning compelled to drop everything and bring her vices home through the books she love to read. Her cohort in crime, Fabrice Neuman, is guilty of being French and of knowing everything there is to know about ebooks. The core team includes Ohio-based, red-pen slinging editor Amy Richards. Anne_Trager_founder_Le_French_Book_HD

PDB: Which authors are involved in Le French Book?

The list just keeps growing. We started with master French crime writer Sylvie Granotier; Epicurean book and TV series writers Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen; and Frédérique Molay, who not only is a huge bestseller, but has been called “the French Michael Connelly.” We then added seven of France’s top writers: Tatiana de Rosnay (she is the country’s most-read author worldwide), Didier Van Cauwelaert (he won the extremely prestigious Goncourt prize), Yann Queffélec (so did he), Christine Orban, Harold Cobert, Daniel Picouly and Irène Frain. And our most recent additions are David Khara, who wrote an instant bestseller that catapulted him into the ranks of France’s top thriller writers, and Bernard Besson, who has written his fair share of prizewinning thrillers, and used to head up the French intelligence services.

PDB: Which books have been published so far?

The Paris Lawyer by Sylvie Granotier, a prize-winning psychological thriller that doubles as a legal procedural. As a child, she was the only witness to a heinous crime. Now, Catherine Monsigny is an ambitious rookie attorney in Paris. Her first major felony case takes her to a peaceful village in central France where her own past comes back to haunt her. The story follows Catherine’s determined search for the truth in both her case TheParisLawyer_cover_F-2-225x300and her own life. Who can she believe? Can you ever escape your past?

Treachery in Bordeaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, a classic whodunit set in French wine country, made for television in France. It is the first in the 20-book Winemaker Detective series. In this one, strange things are happening at the Moniales Haut-Brion wine estate. Who would want to target this esteemed vintner? World-renowned wine specialist turned gentleman detective Benjamin Cook and his sidekick Virgile Lanssien search the city and the vineyards for answers.

The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay. This police procedural won one France’s most prestigious crime fiction awards and was voted Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year. There is no rest for Paris’s top criminal investigation division, La Crim’. Who is preying on women in the French capital? How can he kill again and again without leaving any clues? A serial killer is taking pleasure in a macabre ritual that leaves the police on tenterhooks. Chief of Police Nico Sirsky–a super cop with a modern-day real life, including an ex-wife, a teenage son and a budding love story, races against the clock to solve the murders as they get closer and closer to his inner circle. Will he resist the pressure?

52 Serial Shorts by Tatiana de Rosnay, Didier Van Cauwelaert, Yann Queffélec, Christine Orban, Harold Cobert, Daniel Picouly and Irène Frain. This is a collection of weird and wild seven-author short stories. You can sign up on our site to get them free in daily or weekly installments (, or purchase the ebooks (the first volumes are scheduled for release next week).

– In April, we’ll be releasing The Bleiberg Project. Self-pitying golden boy trader Jay Novacek is having a bad week when he finds himself thrown into a race to save the world from a horrific conspiracy straight our of the darkest hours of history. Could secret human experimentations be carried out worldwide? Can they be stopped?

– Right now, world-acclaimed translator Julie Rose is busy working on Greenland: The Thriller. The Arctic ice caps are breaking up. Europe and the East Coast of the United States brace for a tidal wave. Meanwhile, former French intelligence officer John Spencer Larivière, his karate-trained, steaming Eurasian partner Victoire, and their bisexual computer-genius sidekick Luc pick up an ordinary freelance assignment that quickly leads them into the glacial silence of the great north, where a merciless war is being waged for control of discoveries that will change the future of humanity.

PDB: Where can we find out more about Le French Book?

Find out more about us here.

Follow us on Twitter @lefrenchbook

Like us on Facebook

Sign up to receive our latest news and deals:

PDB: Is there anything else you think we should know about Le French Book?

Well, noir was a French word 😉

This interview first appeared over at Noir Nation.

le french book 2


Short, Sharp Interview: C J Edwards of Full Dark City Press

PDB: What is Full Dark City Press?

CJ Edwards- FDC Press is a brand new press focusing on noir. Our vision of noir encompasses more than the traditional crime/detective genre. Although you will see a fair amount of that coming from us, those aren’t all we are after. One of our first authors to sign with us, Mike Miner, has a novel in the works that will be pretty good example of this. His novel isn’t a detective story, although there are elements of detective work to be found, and it isn’t about crime either, even though criminal activity does take place. We also believe noir transcends genre to some extent, and we hope to see some more non-traditional noir start coming our way.

Right now we are only looking for novellas and novels. If we publish any more short story collections it will mostly likely be a themed collection with multiple authors or by someone that we specifically approach.

PDB: Who are the criminal masterminds behind
Full Dark City Press?

CJ Edwards– Well about two years ago I was talking with Alec Cizak, the editor of Pulp Modern, about starting up a press focusing on longer works of fiction. We spent a couple hours brain storming over some German chocolate desserts and I walked out with an outline of what I wanted FDC Press to become. Alec wasn’t able to commit full time to a new project so I hit up Chris Rhatigan, the editor of All Due Respect and the mastermind behind Pulp Ink and Pulp Ink II, and he joined me in this crazy undertaking.

PDB: Which authors are involved in Full Dark City Press?

CJ Edwards- Well for right now the main everyday editors are myself and Chris Rhatigan, but everyone from the very talented Eric Beetner who designed the cover for our first publication, JW Manus who formats our e-books, to the people who help out with small things here and there are all writers.

At this time our signed authors include Mike Miner and David Siddall from the UK who has a punchy novella that I am pretty excited about.

PDB: Which books have been published so far?

CJ Edwards– Our first publication All Due Respect the Anthology went up for sale for Kindle on February 1 and has sold hundreds of copies in its first month. The print version is also for sale. This anthology is a collection of the best from the All Due Respect website as well as some stories published for the first time. The stories in this collection are all amazing and the list of authors is a pretty good selection of who is hot in the crime fiction scene right now.

PDB: Where can we find out more about Full Dark City Press?

There are a couple of places to learn more about us and what is coming up. First is our website which has had some technical difficulties recently. For now it can be found here and my personal blog also has posts that are following the press and its progress.

 Facebook is also a great place to find the most up to date news about what is going on.

PDB: Is there anything else you think we should know about Full Dark City Press?

CJ Edwards– Yeah, I mentioned that our view of noir transcends genre, and I’d like to say a little more about that. I want to be really careful how I say this because I don’t want to get hammered by submissions containing goblins and space marines. We will consider any good noir story even if your protagonist is a depressed robot investigating a murder on a futuristic Earth or some distant planet, or a prostitute in Ancient Rome who may or may not be a ghost out to take revenge on a scheming Senator. As long as it is good noir, we want to see it.

One last thing and this comes back to the old saying of writing what you know. We have been bombarded with submissions about L.A. I think there are a lot of people out there who when they hear the word noir, they think that it means L.A. cops and hardboiled detectives. We have pretty much had our fill of L.A. stories. It is to the point now that if I see the words L.A. in the query email, I wince and try not groan too loudly. There are good noir stories everywhere so write one from where you’re from or invent a place for one to happen. I’m not saying we won’t consider a good story that takes place in L.A. but know that you will be at a disadvantage from the start.

Short, Sharp Interview: Mark Vanderpool of Port Cities Review


PDB: What is Port Cities Review?

MEV: Port Cities Review is a brand new literary journal — strictly online for right now but also intended for print. Our theme is great port cities around the world — both as actual places, full of energy and culturally diverse, but also as a metaphor for the liminal spaces between reason and emotion or between facts and imagination. The places where great storytelling comes from.

PDB: Who are the criminal masterminds behind Port Cities Review?

MEV: The main culprit behind this enterprise is me: Mark Vanderpool. I’ve been working in online media for a decade and I also travel pretty regularly to some far-flung places. I’ve noticed that domestically, in the United States, the quirky sea port towns and river towns are among my favorites. It seemed like a great way to give a literary journal a sense of place without being narrowly identified with just one region.

PDB: Which authors are involved in Port Cities Review?

MEV: Authors with articles and short fiction already published in Port Cities Review include Rafael Alvarez, Jeff Weddle, Kara Kilgore, Geoffrey Sea, Anthony David Jacques, and Jon Gingerich. Many more to come.

PDB: Which books have been published so far?

MEV: We aren’t aimed at publishing book-length works from individual authors, but rather, compilations of short work from many. Think literary journal instead of small press. We’re planning two print editions annually and fresh content online daily.

PDB: Where can we find out more about Port Cities Review?

Lots of cool stories available now here.

We’re also on Facebook.

PDB: Is there anything else you think we should know about Port Cities Review?

MEV: we’ve got a fundraiser going on Indiegogo and we greatly appreciate everyone stopping by to check it out. Even the smallest contributions add up and give us the ability to pay our contributors. Also, please use the social share buttons under the video to help spread the word. A literary journal is very much a collaborative endeavor.

Short, Sharp Interview : Tom Vater of Crime Wave Press

crime wave pressPDB: What is Crime Wave Press ?

TV: Crime Wave Press is a Hong Kong based fiction imprint that endeavors to publish the best new crime novels from Asia and about Asia to readers around the globe. Founded in 2012 Crime Wave Press publishes a range of crime fiction – from whodunits to Noir and Hardboiled, from historical mysteries to espionage thrillers, from literary crime to pulp fiction, from highly commercial page turners to marginal texts exploring Asia’s dark underbelly.

PDB: Who are the criminal masterminds behind Crime Wave Press?

TV: Crime Wave Press is the brainchild of acclaimed publisher Hans Kemp of Visionary World and seasoned writer Tom Vater (more on me just below).

PDB: Which authors are involved in Crime Wave Press?

TV: The first two books published were my own. More on those below.

Tom Vater has published two crime novels, non-fiction books, travel guides, documentary screenplays, and countless features investigating cultural, social, environmental and political trends and oddities in Asia.

Tom co-wrote the screenplay to The Most Secret Place on Earth, a highly acclaimed documentary on the CIA’s secret war in Laos, which has been broadcast in 25 countries. His book Sacred Skin (co-authored with his wife, photographer Aroon Thaewchatturat), the first English language title on Thailand’s sacred tattoos, has received more than 30 reviews and is a regional bestseller.

Sam Lopez: Sam Lopez is the pseudonym for two well traveled writers based in Britain who, for reasons best known to themselves, prefer to remain anonymous.

After several years on the road, they decided to write a somewhat embellished fictional account of some of their adventures, which eventually became their Philippines-based high seas thriller Dead Sea.

Nick Wilgus: Nick Wilgus lived and worked in Asia for many years. Titles in his Father Ananda murder-mystery series, which include Mindfulness and Murder, Sister Suicide and Killer Karma, have been translated into French, German, Spanish and Italian. An award-winning movie based on Mindfulness and Murder was released in 2011 by DeWarenne Pictures in Bangkok and nominated for Best Screenplay by the Thailand National Films Awards 2012. See the trailer here.

Wilgus was recently named best general columnist by the Mississippi Press Association. He lives in Seattle’s Chinatown district.

Jame Di DiBiasio: Jame DiBiasio is an award-winning financial journalist and editor. He is author of the non-fiction The Story of Angkor (published by Silkworm Books in 2013) and blogs at He lives in Hong Kong.

PDB: Which books have been published so far?

The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu: My first novel The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu is a tense, fast paced and kaleidoscopic pulp thriller, following the lives of two generations of drifters who become embroiled in a saga of sex, drugs and murder on the road between London and the Indian subcontinent. The book, originally published in 2006, was going out of print with its first publisher, so I got the rights back. CWP have relaunched the book as ebook and paperback and have sold the Spanish language rights. The Spanish print edition came out in February 2013 as Kathmandu, camino al infierno. (

The Cambodian Book of the Dead: My second novel follows German detective Maier as he tries to find the young heir to a Hamburg coffee empire in post- war Cambodia, where Apocalypse now meets The Beach and sinks into a morass of war and kidnapping that leads all the way back to Nazi Germany. This is the second foreign rights sale for Crime Wave Press. The book will be published worldwide by Exhibit A ( in June. CWP retain the rights for Thailand and Cambodia.

A second Maier Mystery, The Man with the Golden Mind, will be out with Exhibit A in early 2014.

Dead Sea: Down and out Luke and high-class Tara, linked intimately by a violent incident in London’s seedy King’s Cross, run away to the Philippines to escape their sordid pasts. But the tropics can be unkind to kids on the lam. On a remote island in the South China Sea they soon face more trouble than they can handle – with each other and the local criminal elements. Only a mysterious Englishman with a luxurious dive boat can spring them from their new predicament, with an offer of high seas adventure that has to be too good to be true. But Luke and Tara are in no position to refuse…

“Like a lot of good crime stories, there’s a sampling of themes from similar works – in this case Alex Garland’s book The Beach, and the 1977 Peter Yates film The Deep. But while Dead Sea is a crime story, the book is at its strongest when dissecting the worldview of the long term Western tourist, the way prolonged travel can be both enormously exciting and boring, and what can happen when foreigners who feel they have seen everything suddenly realise they don’t have a clue what is going on. – Andrew Nette at Crime Fiction Lover

Mindfulness and Murder, Sister Suicide, Killer Karma (April/May 2013)
Father Ananda, a Buddhist monk and reluctant detective who lives in a Bangkok monastery, is the creation of American author Nick Wilgus. Wilgus has written three Father Ananda mysteries so far, all republished by Crime Wave Press. The third title Killer Karma is out next month).  The first Father Ananda Mystery, Mindfulness and Murder was made into a feature film in 2011. Father Ananda has been translated into Spanish, Italian, French and German. A fourth title is in the pipeline.

Gaijin Cowgirl (March)
Gaijin Cowgirl is a high octane adventure introducing Val Benson, flaky Tokyo hostess and utterly unreliable protagonist who stumbles across a map to one of the greatest treasures lost in World War II.
With yakuza, motor cycle gangs, rogue CIA, treasure hunters, pimps, Thai boxers and her Congressman father hot on her trail, Val burns a trail of death and destruction across Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Burmese borderlands to get her delicate hands on the loot before someone less deserving does.
Gaijin Cowgirl by American writer Jame DiBiasio is a breathless page turner with a beautiful, dangerous heroine to match.

PDB: Where can we find out more about Crime Wave Press?

Twitter: @crimewavepress

PDB: Is there anything else you think we should know about Crime Wave Press?

Crime Wave Press is looking for authors who can offer complete and well-edited manuscripts of English language crime novels or novellas either based in Asia or containing a strong Asian connection and focus point.

Read our submission guidelines on the website and get in touch at

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!