Recommended Read: Sound Of The Sinners by Nick Quantrill

British private detective Joe Geraghty is holed up in Amsterdam, laying low from the trials and tribulations of his life in Hull. After missing a phone call from his former business partner Don Ridley, he later finds out that Don is dead. Geraghty returns to Hull for Don’s funeral and is soon embroiled in an investigation of Don’s death that digs up more than a few dirty secrets that people in high places would much prefer to keep buried.

Nick Quantrill’s Sound Of The Sinners is the 4th Joe Geraghty novel and sees the welcome return of one of crime fiction’s most realistic and likeable private eyes. As always, Quantrill gives us a cracking story with a great sense of time and place.

Recommended Read: Broken Dreams by Nick Quantrill


Nick Quantrill’s Broken Dreams is a cracking book. It’s the story of a Private Investigator following a muddy and bloodstained trail through a battle scarred Northern city. PI Joe Geraghty- like his hometown Hull-  has both taken many a good kicking and is trying to get back on his feet. Broken Dreams is realistic and romantic – in a Joe Strummer way.  It takes you by the lapels and drags you along on a gritty, griping journey. Recentley rebooted by Fahrenheit Press, Nick Quantrill‘s debut novel is highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Slug Bait by Tom Leins

paignton noir

The sky above the Dirty Lemon is the colour of diseased lungs. Fat clouds swirl above the pub, and the bronchial sky erupts as I push through the double-doors – bullets of rain thudding into the wheelchair ramp behind me.’

The first paragraph of Slug Bait – Tom Leins’ latest Paignton Noir Mystery – is a belter. It’s vivid, lurid, lewd, crude, and it sets the scene for the rest of the book perfectly. In Slug Bait, Poundshop PI Joe Rey is entangled with amusement arcade  entrepreneur Ray Coody and he’s soon dragged even deeper in the mire, as usual.

As always, Tom Leins pushes the Brit Grit volume up to 11 and, as always, he does it with great aplomb.

Short, Sharp Interview: John Bowie


PDB: What’s going on?


JB: Reading, drinking, being a silly father, reading more, being a trying husband, and… drinking more. Oh, and scribbling and writing — for my sanity and madness; all in perfect balance. Teetering on life’s beautiful edge that’s fueled by all the pre-mentioned that put me there in the first place.


PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?


JB: I’ve had a permanent soundtrack running in my head as long as I remember.


Some tracks are constant; however I do get pests for the day: Russ Abbott’s – ‘Atmosphere’, R Kelly – ‘I believe I Can Fly’, or for some weird-ass reason Richard Blackwood’s – ‘1234 Getin’ with a wicked’ – You’re all welcome by the way!


The constants have accompanied me down the aisle, both in my head and literally played at the time (‘I Wanna Be Adored’ – The Stone Roses). And before taking a leap, needing strength; balls out (‘Force of Nature’ – Oasis). I blame Rhys Ifans and the film ‘Love Honour and Obey’ for this.


Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ is my creative comfort blanket or on-hold music. It’s where my head goes when I block everything else out. This will come clear in my next book: Transference. All four in the coming tetralogy have intentional, multi-layered, single title Joy Division type titles like this.


PDB: What makes you laugh?


JB: Often it’s the things that shouldn’t that do. And the things that should… just don’t.


I frequently don’t realise my reaction and my wife picks me up on it. I often can’t explain the cause of a smile, giggle or involuntary snort that I didn’t realise I was doing, because when I think about it it’s often just plain wrong, absurd or weird. I write some of these down and into stories to distance myself in a way – disowning the filth, dark, weird and absurd. Until next time.


PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?


JB: Holy-fuck-a-saurus – the Holy Grail – if only!!!


An antidote to that pig that ‘shat in our heads’… ‘a bastard behind the eyes’. Sorry, shameless ‘Withnail & I’ Quotes. I was so surprised to learn the best acted drunk (Withnail) was played by a non-drinker (Richard E. Grant). Maybe that’s a clue to the answer though – don’t touch it! Or, if you do, don’t stop and ‘go all the way’ (Bukowski).


I have studied this matter in some detail though and as the years pass the hangovers intensify, and with it so does the need for a cure. So, I’ll share what I’ve gathered so far:


Pre-age 20: the ‘hangover’ doesn’t exist.

Early 20s: a Marlboro and a shit is enough to keep going on (after a midday rise).

Late 20s: a strong coffee, Marlboro and shit (after an early afternoon rise).

Early 30s: cider… ‘ice in the cider’.

Late 30s: cider with ice again. But now a nap is required before yet more cider – cycle is to be repeated as required.

Now: milk thistle (600mg min), N.A.C (N-Acetyl-Cysteine 600mg), vitamin C (500mg min) before starting first drink and another dose repeated before the last drink and bed.

In the future: I’m pretty sure a full-on transfusion, drip and head transplant is going to be required mixed with most of the above.


PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?


JB: I’ve been lucky; travelled and visited a lot of places. Pulau Tiga, Pangkor Laut, Gozo, Krakow, Cambodia, Vietnam all stick in the memory. Manchester, Porlock Weir, Edinburgh, Dublin and Newcastle are in my blood, heart and soul though —  Bristol seems to be a smorgasbord of all them — I love it. I’ve discovered I need to be near the water or I feel wrong (and not in a good way). Maybe a Viking thing…


PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?


JB: No, I don’t.


I did drink a bucket (maybe 2,3,4…) in Cambodia after visiting Angkor Wat and the Killing Fields. Also fired a colt .45 as an ex Khmer Rouge soldier let the safety off his own pistol as he held a ‘reassuring’ hand on my shoulder. Later that night, after the buckets, we found ourselves in a Cambodian club. Westerners weren’t allowed on the dance floor all at once so we had to take it in turns. Between the rehearsed local Karaoke, dancers, troops, public announcements and fashion parades –  I got up alone and the stony-faced locals circled, with another armed guard watching on at my bucket fueled cross between ‘the robot’, Rab C. Nesbit and Ian Curtis.


I ticked a lot off what I could’ve put on a bucket list that trip, and on others since.


The thing is… If I had written a list, it wouldn’t have kept up with what was going on. Life’s a bit like that. Convince yourself to aim for sweet and you could miss the pleasure of the sour. And your taste changes anyway the more, or less, you do.


PDB: What’s on the cards?


JB: Researching and writing the second in the Black Viking P.I. series: Transference. It’s set in Manchester so I’m revisiting it physically and, in the head, to test if it matches memory: the smell, sights… the sounds of it all — I’m savouring it! It’s nice to revisit the idea of the Hacienda again too. It and Factory Records were so fundamental to my creative journey then and now. The next books could be a homage to the city and them —  doubt it’ll feel like that to read though.


PDB: Anything else?


JB: I’m currently pondering my first person, present tense style with jumps to the past to give context. Is it in-fact poetic, lyrical, immediate and … right? Or, is it restrictive and switching some readers off… and are they maybe the ones that should be?






‘… with ice?’

Bye x

John BowieBio: John Bowie grew up on the coast in rural Northumberland, a region steeped with a history of battles, Vikings, wars and struggles. These tales and myths fascinated him as a child, and then as an adult. In the mid to late nineties he studied in Salford enjoying the bands, music, clubs and general urban industrial-ness of Greater Manchester, including the club scene and the infamous Hacienda. He was also there when the IRA bomb went off in 1996.

Recommended Read: Spalding’s Groove by Richard Prosch

Spalding’s Groove contains two short stories that act as a kind of side order to Richard Spalding's GrooveProsch‘s cracking debut crime novel Answer Death.

The first story is Spalding’s Groove which kicks off when a has-been TV star comes into Dan Spalding’s shop to sell some records.

The second story is Cinderalla Makes Good and tells the tale of a man whose brother has died in a car accident. Both stories are very well- written and great fun.


Recommended Read: Down To No Good by Earl Javorsky

down to no good.In Earl Javorsky‘s first Charlie Miner novel – Down Solo– the private eye discovered that he’d been killed but – for reasons unknown to him –  had come back to life. In Down To No Good, Charlie attempts to come to terms with this situation, as well as deal with the various other problems in his life.

Charlie also agrees to help Dave Putnam- his booze soaked Homicide Detective pal- investigate a flamboyant psychic who had helped the Los Angeles police in the past.

Down To No Good is a fast-moving and funny crime fiction thriller that is full of great characters and sharp satirical asides. The supernatural elements don’t detracting from this cracking yarn but give it a distinctive flavour all of it’s own.

If you enjoyed Down Solo then you’ll certainly love Down To No Good. Highly recommended.

Crime Uncovered: Private Investigator

crime uncoveredI’m very pleased to contribute an interview with the splendid Nick Quantrill to the latest in the Crime Uncovered series.

Here the skinny:

‘The private investigator is one of the most enduring characters within crime fiction. From Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade— the hard-boiled loner trawling the mean streets—to Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings—the genteel companion in greener surrounds—the P. I. has taken on any number of guises. In Crime Uncovered: Private Investigator, editors Alistair Rolls and Rachel Franks dive deep into crime literature and culture, challenging many of the assumptions we make about the hardy P. I.

Assembling a cast of notable crime fiction experts, including Stephen Knight and Carolyn Beasley, the book covers characters from the whole world of international noir—Giorgio Scerbanenco’s Duca Lambert, Léo Malet’s Nestor Burma, and many more. Including essays on the genealogy and emergence of the protagonist in nineteenth-century fiction; interviews with crime writers Leigh Redhead, Nick Quantrill, and Fernando Lalana; and analyses of the transatlantic exchanges that helped to develop public perception of a literary icon, Crime Uncovered: Private Investigator will redefine what we think we know about the figure of the P. I.

Rolls and Franks have engaged here the tension between the popular and scholarly that is inherent in any critical examination of a literary type, along the way unraveling the mystery of the alluring, enigmatic private investigator. Crime Uncovered: Private Investigator will be a handy companion for any crime fiction fan.’

Get it HERE!


Recommended Read: Small Change by Andrez Bergen

small changeWhen hardboiled private eye Roy Scherer inherits an unwanted side-kick, in the nerdy form of Suzie Miller, they soon embark on a series of wild, way out and weird adventures.

Andrez Bergen’s Small Change is an interconnected collection of short stories and vignettes that  smartly mixes up Raymond Chandler with Jim Jarmusch and Scooby Doo.

Small Change is sharp, witty and a hell of a lot of fun.

Recommended Read: The Man In The Window by Dana King

the man in the windowPrivate Eye Nick Forte is hired by obnoxious musician Marshal Burton to follow Burton’s equally obnoxious  wife. What should be a mundane divorce case spirals out of control when Burton is killed.

Dana King’s The Man In The Window is a joy. Gripping and touching, The Man In The Window is a cracking yarn full of great dialogue and vivid, colorful, well-drawn characters ( especially Zoltan!)

Highly recommended.

A Song For Saturday: Johnny Staccato Theme by Elmer Bernstein

johnny staccJohnny Staccato, played by John Cassavetes, is a jazz pianist/private detective. The setting for many episodes is aGreenwich Village jazz club belonging to his friend, Waldo, played by Eduardo Ciannelli. The show featured many musicians, such as Barney Kessel, Shelly Manne, Red Mitchell, Red Norvo, and Johnny Williams. (Ironically, given the show’s New York setting, all of these men were closely identified with the West Coast jazz scene, as the show was filmed largely in Los Angeles.) Elmer Bernsteincomposed both of the main theme tunes used and Stanley Wilson was music supervisor. Cassavetes also directed five episodes.

Guest Blog: My Special Needs Baby’s Long and Roundabout Road to Publication by Gary Anderson

I’m going start by making what might be a startling admission: I came to noir late. The Gwousz Affair is my first attempt at what might be if not partially classified as noir, then at least clearly influenced by it. In fact, I didn’t read Hammet or Chandler until a few years ago. I didn’t even watch Out of the Past and In a Lonely Place until well after my college years. Yet, I’ve recently come to realize that noir has always been with me, looming somewhere in the background, hiding in the shadows of my subconscious with a cigarette crushed between its teeth. Let me explain.

A few weeks ago, my present publisher, Tom Vater over at Crime Wave Press, tweeted about a Huffington Post article by Otto Penzler, himself a noir editor, publisher, and aficionado. The byline was “Noir fiction is about losers, not private eyes.” And that pretty much sums up the article. According to Penzler, noir does not necessarily rest squarely on the shoulders of the Sam Spades or Philip Marlowes that have come to epitomize the mystery/noir genre. As Penzler rightly contends, noir fiction is peopled by down-on-their-luck, skeptical-that-life-will-ever-be-better-than-a-double-shot-of-rot-gut losers—miscreants so depraved and so full of self-loathing that even if they did catch a break, they’d somehow manage to turn it around into a colossal personal deficit of one sort or another. Yep, losers. Big-time losers.

Needless to say, the article was an eye opener for me. By Penzler’s criteria, most of what I’ve written up to this point in my writing career is at least noirish. Even the earliest manuscripts still hidden in my desk drawers have lead characters who might rightly be called losers—losers trying to make good under bad circumstances. In retrospect, this revelation, if it can be called that, is not really a surprising one. My own reading tastes have always leaned toward those kinds of lone wolf losers. Not surprisingly, then,  I’ve always had a fondness for private dicks—arguably, the quintessential lone wolf losers of literature. I love the way they talk. The way they drink. The way they kiss dames hard. The way they hate to fight but don’t mind knocking a man down with a hard right to the gut if they have to (and somehow make us believe it was for his own good). I love the way their own bleak outlooks, their untrusting natures, their hard exteriors hold them back, keep them down, make them losers for life. I love the way it’s always on their own terms—life, that is. Life is always on their own terms. That’s like something right out of a Greek tragedy, or at least, it should be.

So, all of this long and (I’m sure) frustratingly unfocused preamble leads me to my present point: I’ve actually written something truly noir. Okay noirish. Sci-fi noirish to be exact. I mean, Cornelius Planke is a hard-drinking, down-on-his luck P.I. He’s even got an ex-wife to prove it. Granted, he lives in the near future, in a world governed by highly intelligent bovines. That’s where the sci-fi/dystopian part comes in. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Rewind five years. I picked up The Maltese Falcon, a book that had been buried in my bookshelf for at least two decades, and read it from cover to cover. Then The Long Goodbye. Then Double Indemnity. And so on, and so on. At some point during that period I knew I was going to write something with a hardboiled P.I. as its central character.

But I guess I’ve never been one to do anything straight up. It’s my curse or my blessing—I don’t know which. Even my earlier so called literary work routinely strays off into the unliterary now and then. More often than not, actually. So when I sat down to write my latest novel, and I felt the tug and taunt of stranger times and future possibilities, I gave into the unholy urge and let my writerly self go there. The result was The Gwousz Affair. A genre-bender, which may be the nicest possible way to put it. But now, having this odd and admittedly hard-to-characterize work in my sweaty little palms, I had to find someone to publish it. Call it a premonition, but I suspected I may have some trouble. However, just as the thought of not finding a publisher would ever stop me from writing a book, the thought of not finding a publisher would never stop me from trying to find one. And so it began—my search for a home for The Gwousz Affair.

I didn’t even bother with agents. Okay, I tried one or two that were known to deal in noir. More of a formality than anything else, really.  As expected, they politely declined. So I went it alone and waded into the world of indie houses, not that it was an entirely unfamiliar world. I’d done it before, but never in genre fiction. My hopes were still quite high as I’ve known and know indie publishers, and they’re generally much more open to works that don’t fit nicely into this category or that than the big six publishers (to whom such works are anathema). But as it turned out, the indie publishers weren’t as open as I’d hoped. Most of them wanted only hardboiled, straight-up crime/mystery. In the words of one publisher, The Gwousz Affair was “simply too far afield” for him to publish. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how anything in literature could be too far afield to publish.

GAnderson2 (2)Nevertheless, I persevered. It was about this time that I came across Crime Wave Press. I liked the feel of their website, loved their logo, and thought their titles and covers looked and sounded great. There was something pulpy about the press that really appealed to me.  And as luck would have it—they’d only recently opened up submissions to international authors. As far as I was concerned, it was a done deal. This was the place for my dalliance with genre-benders, my special-needs baby. Of course, I had to convince Tom Vater and Hans Kemp of that.  As luck would have it, they were amenable to the idea. They liked the novel and wanted to publish it, despite the fact that by their own admission they’d never published anything quite like it before.  And that’s fine with me. In fact, that’s great with me. I trust their instincts. And mine, too, for that matter. So I guess now we wait and see if it catches on, The Gwousz Affair.  But one thing is certain—and years of writing experience have taught me this—I’m not waiting around too long. Because there’s a sequel to write. And like your cranky, always-hung-over creative writing teacher always told you, it aint gonna write itself. True that.

Bio: Gary Anderson was born and raised on the prairies of southern Alberta, Canada. Upon taking an advance degree in English Literature, he moved to Korea, where he worked in educational publishing. After a ten year stay in Korea, Gary returned to the West. He now lives and writes in Central New Jersey.

Get Ben Solomon’s The Hard-Boiled Detective FREE!

Get Your Hard-Boiled Fix for Free !


How’s about getting a whole year’s worth of detective fiction for free? For a limited time, Ben Solomon‘s promoting “The Hard-Boiled Detective” series by offering free subscriptions. Fans of Paul D. Brazill and “You Would Say That, Wouldn’t You?” can receive three stories of old-school, detective fiction every month for zip, zilch, squat. An entire year’s worth for free. All you have to do is subscribe with this special discount code:


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Unlike Roosevelt and taxes, this offer won’t last forever, so take advantage now. And be sure to spread the word!