A few of my eBooks are ON SALE at the moment, so grab ’em while they’re hot, if you fancy!
THE LAST LAUGH: CRIME STORIES by Paul D. Brazill — Published by All Due Respect, an imprint of Down & Out Books (February 2018)
• Trade Paperback — $13.95 (includes FREE digital formats!)
• eBook Formats — $5.99 SUMMER 2018 PROMOTION: $2.99
Also available from the following retailers …
From France, to Spain, to the northeast of England, hit men, gangsters, corrupt cops, drunks, punks, and petty thieves all tumble toward the abyss. The stories in The Last Laugh are vivid and violent slices of Brit Grit and international noir, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to cut your throat.
The Last Laugh is a violent and blackly comic look at life through a shot glass darkly.
Praise for THE LAST LAUGH:
“If you took Ken Bruen’s candor, the best of Elmore Leonard’s dialogues, sprinkled in some Irvine Welsh, and dragged it all through the dirtiest ditch in South London, the result will be something akin to Brazill’s writing.” —Gabino Iglesias, author of Zero Saints and Gutmouth
“A broad range of cultural strands come together in the melting pot and form a delicious stew of criminal adventure… The observations are sharp and the characters create small nuclear explosions as they collide with each other.” —Nigel Bird, author of Southsiders
“Brazill isn’t just a writer; he’s a poet and you can take any of his stories and write a master’s thesis on just the language employed.” —Les Edgerton, author of The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping
I WAS GOING to tell you about why I killed Lewis Quad and how he’d had it coming to him. How he’d asked for it and deserved everything he got. Tell you what an evil bastard he was and how many lives he’d destroyed over the years. All the shitty little things he’d done just because he could. Justify my actions, and the like. But then I realised that, well, if you knew Lewis Quad you’d know all of that anyway and if you didn’t know Lewis there was no way in heaven, hell or purgatory that I was ever going to be able to explain the whole thing to you. So I thought I’d just tell you what happened next.
I wasn’t even close to Cyrus White’s farm when I realised I was running low on fuel. The last few hours had been a blur. I’d been so wrapped up in replaying the events of the last few days I’d been smothered by them, truth be told.
As I drove through the night, the streetlamps were yellow streaks across the pallet of darkness. I’d been listening to a phone-in talk show about ghosts, hauntings and such, and though I’d never been superstitious, I sure was glad when the dawn eventually broke on through.
I saw a sign for a gas station off of a side road and turned off the radio so that I could concentrate. I followed the directions until I reached a small disused general store with a dusty, rusted gas pump in front and a battered old station wagon parked beside it. I parked my Dodge, lay my head on the steering wheel and groaned.
After a moment or so, I switched on the radio to wake myself up but it was as dead as the corpse in my trunk. I lay back in the seat and pulled out a quarter bottle of Wild Turkey. Sipped. As I watched the sun rise like a gold doubloon, I started to relax.
Then I heard the bang.
She was old, in her eighties or something like that, carrying a sawn-off shotgun and wearing a ragged green-velvet ball gown. She staggered out of the store, tripping over her high heeled shoes and pulling a red beehive wig from her head as she raced toward the station wagon. I guessed she didn’t notice me at first because she threw the gun into the car and crawled in after it. She started up the station wagon with a struggle and reversed. Right into my car.
The sunny morning had hardened into a granite gray day and the non-stop drizzle failed to wash away the pain in my head. It wasn’t the impact of the cars so much or even the hangover that was kicking in. It was Mathilda and the way she talked. And how much she talked.
I pulled up outside White’s farmhouse just as Mathilda was telling some long and winding anecdote about unpaid alimony, jailbait whores and a pawn shop.
‘And, you know, what would you do, if you were unlucky enough to have found yourself in my situation?’ she said. She scratched her bald head. Glared at me.
‘I know what you mean,’ I said. ‘I know exactly what you mean.’
Although I most certainly did not.
Cyrus came out of the door cradling a crossbow that I knew he had made himself. He was tall and gaunt, with a long white beard and a bald head. He was wearing a frayed black suit. He swayed a little as he walked toward the car.
‘You took your time,’ he said. ‘My babies are getting hungry.’
I heard the pigs scream and a chill skewered my soul.
‘Don’t worry,’ I said, as I got out of the Dodge. ‘I have a little extra snack for them.’
‘Then come on in, ladies,’ said Cyrus. He opened up the passenger door and winked at Mathilda. ‘You’re just in time for tiffin.’
I picked up my purse and slammed the car door. Straightened my skirt.
Mathilda was already hobbling alongside Cyrus, arm in arm with him.
It was going to be a long day.
Dedicated to The Soska Sisters.
‘From France, to Spain, to the north east of England, hit men, gangsters, corrupt cops, drunks, punks, and petty thieves all tumble toward the abyss. The stories in The Last Laugh are vivid and violent slices of Brit Grit and international noir, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to cut your throat. The Last Laugh is a violent and blackly comic look at life through a shot glass darkly.
“If you took Ken Bruen’s candor, the best of Elmore Leonard’s dialogues, sprinkled in some Irvine Welsh, and dragged it all through the dirtiest ditch in South London, the result will be something akin to Brazill’s writing.” – Gabino Iglesias (author of Zero Saints and Gutmouth)
“A broad range of cultural strands come together in the melting pot and form a delicious stew of criminal adventure… The observations are sharp and the characters create small nuclear explosions as they collide with each other.” – Nigel Bird (author of Southsiders)
‘Brazill isn’t just a writer; he’s a poet and you can take any of his stories and write a master’s thesis on just the language employed.’- Les Edgerton (Bomb!, The Bitch)’
More characters to make your smile muscles ache!
‘Another extraordinary fun filled book of short stories from Paul D Brazill you just have to read. A veritable cornucopia of exquisitely described characters that any one of them could make a novel feature in their own right – assuming they were alive at the end of each piece.
Picking up a few tips on how to ‘off’ someone, or not to by accident! My disposal of bodies list is growing with every book.
The hint of a secret – is Brazill really a nut or is he hiding behind the persona? I’ve been having the last laugh, two chapters every night; it beats a cup of cocoa any time. More characters to make your smile muscles ache. It’s wonderful! Can’t help but thinking that there is a serious crime thriller writer lurking in there waiting for a name change? Pat McDonald British Crime Author.’
Over at Col’s Criminal Library, Col says:
’20 short stories here from the master.
Humour, violence, action, horror, scams, capers and more.
Cross paths with …….posties, barmen, club owners, Petula Clark, pig farmers, Frank Sinatra, Pink Floyd, Heaven 17, Ronnie and Reggie, Polish molls, Ukrainian whores, nagging wives and hen-pecked husbands, dead pimps, hitch-hikers and taxi drivers, literary agents and exploding seagulls.
Visit…… run down pubs and Knightsbridge, Covent Garden and Warsaw and Cambridge bookshops, casinos and betting shops, dirty record shops and Brazill’s Northern creation – Seatown,
Cultural references abound, razor sharp observations, pithy put downs and sharp one liners.’
‘The likes of Paul D. Brazill makes reading an absolute joy.’
Read the rest HERE.
‘The Last Laugh by author Paul D Brazill brings together a variety of old and new stories in one darkly, gritty collection. Peppered with classic one liners and black gallows humour these are tales of international noir, Brit grit and bad luck blues. Existing fans will enjoy renewing the acquaintance of classic characters, scenes and stories. While new readers are in for a treat with marvellous stories such as “Route 66 & All That”, “Red Esperanto”, “The Weather Prophet” and the classic Seatown capers. Mr Brazill cleverly finds poetry, comedy and beauty in the grime, grit, filth and fury of the underworld. His literary tales stride across the continents in Doc Marten boots with a whiplash smile. Highly recommended to any crime fan looking for something special. Enjoy.’
Over at Amazon.com, Dave Wilde says:
‘Reading Brazill’s Last Laugh is a bit like finding yourself in an episode of the British version of Shameless after a night of pub crawling and wondering how the hell you found yourself there. Pubs, drinking, blokes, tough guys, drunks, cheats, comedians, East European whores, and some rather off-color jokes fill out this volume. To me, this book is as much about the atmosphere and the mood and the poetry of the pub as it is about the plot in these stories. Some of the stories easily morph into each other and the mood of being slightly off-kilter is always there. There are passages in here you might want to read more than once. The characters and the material are so rich.’
There has been a long and varied tradition of songwriters taking their song titles from books: Venus In Furs – The Velvet Underground, Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush, Lost Weekend – Lloyd Cole, 1984- David Bowie, Absolute Beginners- David Bowie.
And, of course, it goes the other way too.
And it’s no surprise that many Brit Grit writers have taken the same approach, usually using punk and post- punk songs as inspiration.
Here we go 2,3,4:
Mark Timlin published a book called Guns Of Brixton years before I did.Ian Ayris’ April Skies uses the Jesus and Mary Chain, Tony Black’sLondon based short story collection is invariably called London Calling – The Clash again. Ian Rankin recently chose The Associates’ Even Dogs In The Wild. Nick Quantrill used a Wilco song for the title of The Late Greats, and The Crooked Beat is one of The Clash’s lesser known songs.James Hilton’s debut thriller is Search and Destroy – Iggy and The Stooges, Jim Iron and John Steel’s Glory Boys is taken from a Secret Affair song. Ray Banks used The Stranglers for No More Heroes. Nigel Bird gave us Mr Suit (Wire) and Beat On The Brat (Ramones). Graham Wynd chose The Fall’s Extricate and Steve Suttie gave us the Road To Nowhere (Talking Heads).
And it’s not just punk songs that work as crime fiction titles. Nick Triplow used a Tom Waits song for Frank’s Wild Years and Adrian McKinty has used five of Mr Waits’ ditties, the most recent being Rain Dogs.
Sheila Quigley always uses song titles for her books, starting withLindisfarne’s Run For Home, and more recently The Sound Of Silence. Andy Rivers used The Beatles for Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Aidan Thorn chose When The Music’s Over (The Doors).
And that’s only this side of the pond. Josh Stallings Young Americans (David Bowie) and K A Laity’s White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane) are just a couple of recent American examples that come to mind.
And there are plenty more, I’m sure.
So, who did I miss? And any suggestions?
(This post first appeared at the All Due Respect blog.)
Over at Amazon.com, Nick Kolakowski says:
“Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One” – hits a nice Ted Lewis level. Unsentimental, brutal.
“The Last Laugh” – Let’s just say that ennui is a killer.
“The Postman Cometh” – talk about going out with a bang.
All the stories in here are good, which isn’t something you often find in your typical crime-fiction collection. If you’re looking for a good journey through the underbelly of Brit Noir, this is your book.‘
The sale lasts from 4- 9 August.
‘From France, to Spain, to the north east of England, hit men, gangsters, corrupt cops, drunks, punks, and petty thieves all tumble toward the abyss. The stories in The Last Laugh are vivid and violent slices of Brit Grit and international noir, full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to cut your throat. The Last Laugh is a violent and blackly comic look at life through a shot glass darkly.’
Grab The Last Laugh for less than a quid HERE!
Over at Amazon.co.uk, Daz Pulsford gives The Last Laugh 5 Stars and says:
‘Mr Brazill is up to it again – mixing dark, twisted humour with madcap crime capers, the odd turn of menace and no end of inventive descriptions for the (frequently) awful weather. I mean – he really does know how to use the weather to set a dismal, depressing scene: one of the advantages of growing up in Britain…
Across these pages you’ll find a mix of flash and short stories, a few sharing the same characters: our erstwhile ‘handy man’ from the depressing, gritty realism of Seatown, to our travelling Luke Case, a loner who flits across Europe, seeking out new and interesting ways to earn a living (most of them involving crime and desperate dames).
Whilst the longer stories showcase the dark, treacly noir humour that Paul is known for – sometimes so thick you’re waiting for the brevity before things get fatal – it’s in the shorter pieces that the breadth is really on show. There’s macabre fiction, a bit of actual gory horror, and more than a touch of Tales of the Unexpected: all in brief stories that sizzle with an inventive idea and run their fiery course.’