Recommended Read: The Not Knowing by Cathi Unsworth

BRIT GRIT, Cathi Unsworth, Crime Fiction, London, Paul D Brazill, Post Punk, Punk, punk fiction, Quentin Tarentino

Published in 2005, Cathi Unsworth’s The Not Knowing was her first novel. It is set in London in the early ’90s and what a great slice of London life it is. Diane Kemp is a journalist working for the trendy Lux magazine. When an uber-hip British film director goes missing she is dragged into the investigation. Meanwhile, a killer stalks the city.

The Not Knowing is a cracking murder mystery with a great sense of time and place and is a hell of a read.

The Not Knowing

Martin Stanley Reviews Too Many Crooks

BRIT GRIT, Carry On, Crime Fiction, martin Stanley, Near To The Knuckle, Paul D Brazill, Quentin Tarentino, Reviews, Too Many Crooks


Over at Goodreads, ace Brit Grit writer Martin Stanley says:

‘Fast moving, funny, crime caper with Brazill’s usual abundance of wordplay, in-jokes, and crooks looking to get one-over on each other. It is a mix of the Quentin Tarantino multi-character McGuffin (in this case, of a Nazi ring) and a Carry-On film. It never takes itself seriously and is all the more entertaining for it. Highly recommended.’



Stories For Saturday: In The (Reservoir) Dog House by Paul D. Brazill

Quentin Tarentino, Snapshots, stories for sunday

Bonny is volcanic. She’s so angry that she can hardly speak but, unfortunately for me, hardly is the operative word. As she tries to scrub the blood stains from my best white shirt, she goes on and on about the meal she’d cooked the night before and how long it had taken her to cook it.

She keeps asking me over and over again if I want to live on burgers all my life and why, if I’m going to spend all of my time hanging around a dirty warehouse with a bunch of psychos that look like Blues Brothers rejects, I can’t at least pick up the phone and call to say I’ll be late home.

My head is hurting, my stomach is rumbling and I’m tired. Bonny is starting to sound like a duck quac- quack-quacking, so I turn on the radio hoping it isn’t more ‘Sounds of the Seventies,’ as I’ve really had my fill of that shit the last few days. The DJ’s monotone drone introduces some LA band destroying a Neil Diamond classic so I switch it off again.

Noticing that the heat from Bonny’s eruption has started to cool down, I present her with a bag containing the proceeds of my recent job. When she sees the rare coins in the bag, Bonny’s jaw drops so much you could scrape carpet fluff from it and she lets rip with a string of expletives, so strong that they would even make the young Eddy Murphy blush. Almost tearing off her nurse’s uniform, she runs toward me screaming like a banshee.

Afterwards, when I knowthat it’s safe, I suggest that maybe we could go out for something to eat? We could even try that Hawaiian burger joint that’s just opened up nearby? Hands on hips, Bonny laughs and says, okay as long as I promise not to wear that dumb Speed Racer t-shirt that makes me look like a nerd.

Anything you say, I reply and start to walk into the bathroom before stopping and saying that, shit, if the service in that restaurant is any good today, I might even leave a tip.

 The end.

In The (Reservoir) Dog House first appeared online at Powder Burn Flash. It is also included in the anthology Six Sentences vol 2 .



ANTHOLOGY, Art, film noir, films, Les Edgerton, noir, noir nation, pulp fiction, Quentin Tarentino, Travel, Writing

Noir Nation is an eBook journal of high quality crime fiction, essays, and author interviews, illustrated with living art: tattoos.

Issue No. 2 is rich with stories that tell of being stopped at a tense Israeli checkpoint, a man reflecting on the death of his sadistic mother while getting a tattoo, hunting jaguars in the Chimalapas jungle, a fatal conversation between a married couple on a Japanese mountain cliff, the consummation of a macabre wedding in Tangiers, a German psychopath who thinks himself a werewolf, a missing prostitute in Cambodia’s red light district, a Boston businessman trying to survive a murderous economy, barroom pickups that turn deadly, soldiers captured in World War II taking grisly revenge on their guards, the renovation of a theater that hides a crime, a pistol-packing Harlem grandmother who fends for
her young, a road trip from New Orleans to Vancouver that ends in a Pulp Fiction style shootout, and hitchhikers who should have kept hiking.

Contributors hail from no less than sixteen countries: Finland, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Cuba, Canada, Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Entries include stories by classic noir writers such as Edogawa Rampo, considered by many to be the father of Japanese crime fiction; Paul Calderon, an actor who appears regularly on the television show Law & Order and who played Paul the bartender in the film Pulp Fiction; and first-time authors Mary Therese Gattuso, Hubert Osprey, and Pierce Loughran.

Afficionados of hardboiled crime noir will see new works by Nick Arvin, Ray Banks, Paul Calderon, Atar Hadari, Sophie Jaff, Susan Lercher, Julia Madeleine, Court Merrigan, Joe L. Murr, Andrew Nette, Thomas Pluck, Victor Quintas, Stephen D. Rogers, Ulrike Rudolf, Bob Thurber, Ruben Varona, Corinna Underwood, and Tom Vater.

The issue also contains an interview with Madison Smartt Bell talking about blowing his knees with Tae Kwon Do and the influence on his fiction by Harry Crews, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and Dostoyevsky. And darkly disturbing entries from 400-year-old London’s Criminal Court logs that show how little has changed in the human drive to murder, maim, and enslave others.

Tattoo photos by Miguel Angel, Madeline Keller-Yunes, Julia Madeleine, Ilya Shchanikov,, Aroon Thaewchatturat, and Chris Willis.

Translations by Andrew Kirk, Rowena Galavitz, Mary Tannert, and Eddie Vega.

You can get Noir Nation 2 from Amazon UK, as well as loads of other places.

And while you’re there, you can pick up the first issue of Noir Nation, which includes stuff from Les Edgerton, Scott Wolven and me.

A Film For Friday: Somebody To Love by Alexandre Rockwell

A Film For Friday, Alex Rockwell, Eddie Bunker, Elvis, films, Harvey Keitel, Humour, Life, Quentin Tarentino, Sam Fuller, Steve Busecemi, Television, Travel, Writing

Guest Blog: Maxim Jakubowski – Courmayeur’s Noir in Fest Festival

films, London, maxim jakubowski, noir, Quentin Tarentino, Travel, Writing

Festivals in Europe are big business. Unlike conventions in the English-speaking world, European festivals are usually organised with the assistance of much in the way of subsidies, public and private funding, to the extent that the competition between cities and organisers is savage and that festivals almost take on a political nature. Versailles has an event devoted to films about aviation, Spoleto features opera, Pordenone silent films, Saint Malo has travel writing, etc… and woe is the town or city that does not feature an artistic festival of some sort on its calendar.
At last count, there are almost 2000 art festivals in Europe alone every year, with subjects ranging from the popular to the most arcane. And crime fiction has its share: Gijon in Spain, Cognac, Lyon, Frontignan, and a much-lamented event in Grenoble and many others in France, Mantova, Trevi and Brescia in Italy. But one of the most important ones is Courmayeur’s Noir in Fest, which takes place every December in the trendy ski resort at the bottom of Mont Blanc on the Italian side of the tunnel under the mountains. Where all these festivals differ strongly from the Anglosaxon model is that they mostly organised by professionals rather than fans, although access is free to the general public and no costly registration is involved. Balancing the budget is not the organiser’s main aim, and as long as the event generates enough press and media, both regional and national, the funders appear to be satisfied as do the hosting cities and towns.
I was invited in the early 1980s to Cattolica on the Italian Adriatic when the festival was still called Mystfest (and still continues to this day under that moniker, although with a different emphasis) when the year’s event was focused on Jim Thompson. I had earlier as a publisher revived Thompson in the UK in my short-lived Black Box Thriller imprint (alongside David Goodis, Horace McCoy, Cornell Woolrich, Anthony Boucher, Fredric Brown, W.R. Burnett, Marc Behm and others). This was a whole year before my buddy Barry Gifford also picked up on Thompson and some of my other rediscoveries with his Black Lizard list) and Stephen Frears was in the process of filming THE GRIFTERS from Don Westlake’s script, and was asked to speak about him. I wrote a piece on Thompson and his legacy for the festival’s programme book and also managed to bring along some rushes of the movie which was still being edited as a preview. The festival offered both film and literary events and allowed me to meet a number of Italian and French attending writers and critics, as well as Roger L. Simon, Stuart Kaminsky, Julian Semyonov and other mystery writers who had also been invited,. Lasting friendships were made amongst a most convivial atmosphere of sea, sun, Italian food and wine and culture.

During the course of the following year Elisa Resegotti, who then organised the festival’s literary events, and her colleague Marina Fabbri would occasionally call me back in London asking for addresses and phone numbers of US and British authors or filmmakers they wanted to contact, as well as for advice and recommendations about future guests and possible movies they could screen. A year almost went by when I had another telephone call, which ended with a friendly “See you in 2 weeks, then”. My reaction was “Are you inviting me back?” After all, the festival (and most European events likewise) was in the habit of paying for guest’s fares (and their companion), and also paid for our hotels and meals, so this was a wonderful freebie to say the least.

“Of course” was the answer and I was informed that I could pick up my ticket at the Alitalia offices on Regent Street. There was no need to ask me twice! On arrival at that year’s festival, I picked up the complimentary copy of the lavish festival souvenir book cum programme in my hotel room, and lo and behold I was now listed as one of the festival’s official overseas advisers.
To cut a long story short, I’ve been attending the festival every year since for the last 21 years and it is always one of the highlights of my criminal and personal year. The initial directors of the festival were two major Italian film critics, Giorgio Gosetti and Irene Bignardi. Following my second year of attendance (other guests included James Ellroy, Derek Raymond, Agatha Christie’s grandson Mathew Prichard and J.G. Ballard amongst others), the organisers had a fallout with the city and transferred the festival to the Mediterranean resort of Viareggio, with Bignardi moving on to take over the Venice film festival (and later Locarno) and Giorgio promoting Marina to co-director. The two years in Viareggio were splendid, with guests including Krizstof Kieszlowski, Nicolas Roeg, Quentin Tarantino, Frederick Forsyth, Robert Bloch and many others, and the entertainment budget on the extreme side of munificence what with all guests being given passes to the best restaurants in town and as much time spent at bars and meals as at specific film and lit events. It was therefore no surprise that after 2 years in Viareggio, we heard that a handful of town notables responible for the funding had ended up in jail for corruption and the festival no longer the recipient of such generosity had to decamp. After some nervous months, Giorgio and Marina soon informed us they had come to an agreement with the town of Courmayeur in the Valle d’Aosta to move the festival to the mountains, and from June to December. In 2010 we will be celebrating twenty years in Courmayeur and what an adventure it has been.
In my next piece, I will discuss two memorable decades of Noir in the snow and write about the 19th festival which took place in December 2009.

MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI ( his Wikipedia entry is here: ) is a publisher and former owner of the world-famous Murder One bookshop in London’s Charing Cross Road. As well as being a writer and editor of various cult publishing imprints, he is acknowledged as a disturbing and controversial voice in contemporary fiction. His collections have sold massively, he is a regular on TV and radio where he is an expert on crime, erotica and film, and a Guardian columnist. He is literary director of the prestigious CRIME SCENE festival held at London’s NFT.

“An unholy mixture of Jim Thompson and American Psycho” – Time Out
“It memorably evokes the ghosts of Cain and Hammett and delivers some of the scariest writing since American Psycho” – City Life (UK)
“The hard sexy edge of Henry Miller and the redeeming grief of Jack Kerouac.” – Mystery Scene
“Proudly pornographic… the most comprehensive rendering of S&M variations ever to make it in to mainstream fiction” – The Literary Review

Books by Maxim Jakubowski
Life in the World of Women (1997)
It’s You That I Want To Kiss (1998)
Because I Thought I Loved You (1999)
The State of Montana (2000)
On Tenderness Express (2001)
Kiss Me Sadly (2002)
Confessions of a Romantic Pornographer (2004)

Edited by Maxim Jakubowski (with Mike Ripley):
Fresh Blood
Fresh Blood 2 (1997)
Fresh Blood 3 (1999)

Fresh Blood Set (2001)