Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paul Brazill in the Beach Hut.

Another lazy day at the Beach Hut.

Jim is behind the bar slurping vodka from a well-worn coconut shell, staring out to sea quoting Bukowski. John is sitting on a barstool staring into space, sipping a Mohito, fantasizing about fishing with Hemingway. It’s another lazy afternoon in Jim’s Beach Hut.  The sun is out, the waves are lapping, the sand is doing what sand does. Noir master, Paul D. Brazill, sidles up to the bar looking hipper than a hipster with surgically enhanced hips. Right on island time. The Spanking Pulp lads drain their vessels and straighten their postures.

Noir scribe Paul Brazill (not to be confused with the porn star who has a similar name) was born in the UK and now lives and writes in Poland. He is the author of A case of Noir, Guns of Brixton and was the editor of the Exiles anthology. He has written short fiction for various magazines and has been published in anthologies alongside Lee Child, Ian Rankin and of course the Beach Hut’s bar keep James A. Newman.

JD: Mr Brazill, sir, thank you for honouring The Hut with your presence. And thanks for giving me a break from Bukowski.  He’s been doing that for hours.

JAN: What’s your poison, Paul? And I’m telling you, Daysh, for the last time, that the Mohito was NOT Papa’s favourite drink

PB: I'm a beer man so a pint of Strongarm, from my home town, Hartlepool. Strongarm equals weak will.

JD: I prefer Castle Eden Ale myself, but each to his own.
Jim works the bar as John taps his Mohito glass. Jim turns the cocktail board around, pours Johnnie Black into a glass and slides it across the bar. John scowls at him then shrugs and takes a bite of the whiskey. Jim follows this by putting together a glass of Eden and a pint of Strongarm from some dusty old export bottles knocking around in what looks like a pirate's slops-chest below the bar.

JD: Paul, you're well known for your Roman Dalton series. How did you come to create that character?  And are you a Werewolf? If so, we're gonna plan one hell of a Full Moon Party this month.

PB: I used to be a werewolf but I'm alright nooooooooow ... Roman Dalton came from the Tom Waits song Drunk On The Moon which gave me the idea of a werewolf PI prowling the city at night. The name? Roman came from Romulus and Remus - the twins raised by wolves that founded the city of Rome- and Dalton from Patrick Swayze's character in the film Roadhouse.

JAN:“People run from rain but sit in bathtubs full of water.”  I like the short story form, I like the flash fiction form. Paul, you are a master of it. Do you believe in economy of language. I mean, can we make more by what we take out?

PB: I think I just have a short attention span when it comes to writing.

JD: "See Spot Run" is an all time favourite of mine.  It's about as succinct as you can get.  But seriously, Hemingway is the writer who has most influenced me and it is probably Burroughs and Bukowski for Jim.  Who are your literary idols and influences?

JAN: Let's put it another way. If you could take two books to a desert island where you were to be exiled for crimes against purple prose. One book you have to read again and again as it'll be the only entertainment other than collecting seashells. The other book you'd have to use as kindling to start the first fire for survival. What two would you take? And why? 

PB: The 'good' book would be The Picture Of Grey because it's the book that keeps on giving. I've read it more times than another novel. It's also remind me of the 'civilized world'. In both its good and bad ways, of course.
Oscar - Good

Jane\ - Bad

The 'bad' book would be the complete works of Jane Austen since I can't stand that soppy, namby-pamby, frocksploitation cobblers.

JAN: I'm with you there. And if you could take a few records. What would they be? I must say, Paul, I like your taste in music. In fact we have a gramphone here in the beach hut. The Grams linked to the web so we can play any freaking record through the avenues of time. What will it be?  I personally think the 60s, 70s and 90s were an awesome time for guitar based music. I know John is an 80s fan, he got like a penchant for Phil Collins (laughs)

PB: Well, it's have to be as urban as possible. So Tom Waits - The Heart Of Saturday Night, Foreign Affair, Raindogs- Sketches Of Spain- Miles Davis, What's The Matter Boy? - Vic Godard, the soundtrack to Guys and Dolls, some Steely Dan, Sinatra, Nina Simone, The Fall, Love, Nuggets, Josef K, Funkadelic, more and more ...

JAN: We live in a post-punk decadent society. This is what makes us write dark fiction. Discuss.

PB: Noir has been around a lot longer than that! Crime fiction makes order from chaos and noir makes chaos from order. Talcy Malcy Mclaren made cash from chaos but I'm not making any cash from noir, that's for sure.

JAN: Paul, what's you thoughts on tuning? I spend night after night talking about detuning with crime writers and how certain guitar players change their tuning...Nick Drake, Keith Richards, Lou Reed....... You played in a band ,right? Did you ever change the tuning on your guitar and what guitar did you play? I'm thinking Fender Jazz, but I am probably wrong.....What is your perfect guitar?  

PB: Ha! I'm the worst person to ask! I played bass and had to get someone to tune it for me. I borrowed it from Peter Ord who is left handed so I played it upside down. And it only had 3 strings! I'm a complete non musician, though I have written a few songs. I'm a writer not a fighter.

JAN: I played four string electirc guitar and stuck with it. I'm interested in Poland, Paul. What's the allure?

PB: I did a TEFL course in Madrid in 2001. The first job I was offered after applying for a few was in a small town in Poland called Skierniewice. Two weeks later I moved there. I've lived in a few places since then, Warsaw was the longest, I think. I like the job and the country is no great cultural leap for the British and Irish I think - though when I first moved here it was quite different, of course. I don't really question why I live here, I just get on with it.
Warsaw. Yesterday.
JN: I also did the TEFL thing and work here in Thailand by accident rather than anything else. I remember getting my first short story acceptance whilst doing the TEFL. 12 dollars for a story about a woman who has a baby in front of me in a hotel room. It was kind of strange. The highlight of my career anyway was that first acceptance after hundreds of rejections. That was the high-point. What advice would you give to new or young writers, Paul? Just keep battling on the trad route or throw something out self-published?  

PB: I think these days self-publishing may mean your stuff may not stand out from all the other stuff. The trad way is fine but takes a lot of time and patience and may lead to nothing. I'd go with a good indie publisher. That seems the best way and there are some top indie publishers out there.

JD: Paul Brazill, thank you for your time.

For more info about Paul Brazill, interviews, articles, links to books and much more visit the author HERE His books can be found on Amazon and other cyber stores.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Vultures on a High Wire

AUTHOR of The Phantom Lover and other Thrilling Tales of Thailand Jim Algie was kind enough (or led astray enough)  to write some words about The White Flamingo, third in the Joe Dylan series. 

Jim Algie is also the man behind Bizarre Thailand - Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic. 

Jim has had a career in subterranean rock circles as a musician, cable TV host, campus radio DJ, roadie, soundman and punk critic. Jim Algie has lived in Barcelona, Berlin and Casablanca before relocating to Bangkok in 1992. His features and stories have been published around the world in publications such as the International Herald Tribune and his short fiction has been included in anthologies, like the Bram Stoker-winning "Extremes 2: Fantasy and Horror from the Ends of the Earth." Several of his stories have picked up prizes.

He has also worked as a security guard at an insane asylum. 
Which is awesome.

I hand you over to Jim.


I tend to look at the genre fiction of crime and horror not through the telescopic lens of the Ivory Tower critics and academics, but as the blood brothers of such musical genres as rock and punk. The structures and riffs may seem easy enough, but it’s in those individual flourishes, and especially in the guts, the raw power and the spirit, that enables the writer or musician to make their mark and add their own signature style.

As an underground rocker himself, James Newman understands that similarity and leaves plenty of original fingerprints all over this hardboiled mystery. Set in Fun City, which is located somewhere between Pattaya and William Burroughs’ Interzone, the plot orbits around the killing and gutting of a prostitute on a pool table.

Enter Joe Dylan, the private detective with an opiated orangutan on his back and a thirst for justice that outstrips any cash incentives.

Newman’s specialty is hard-hitting, brass-knuckles prose that works well in the crime fiction genre.

“The human waste dripped down to a reservoir of ruin and relief down the city drains where monitor lizards and awful pythons dwelt among the shite, tampons, used condoms: the excesses of Fun City, its center, its soul: a dreamless sludge of spent desire.”

The author also excels in succinct, smartly written characterizations. Of one bargirl he writes:

“She moved with the grace of an animal, barefoot in the jungle, wary of snakes and centipedes, these were her movements, rather than those of a sophisticated woman in the city.”

Such elements contribute some classical touches to what is a raw punk rock symphony full of death-knells and serrated melodies that go straight for the jugular.

At times I was thinking that, even by the standards of noir, this is a nihilistic and misanthropic book, but that’s not a fair reading. Newman finds a little light, and a lot of pathos, in the darkest places.

“The sound of music from an open-air karaoke joint; the sound of a woman’s voice being slowly strangled by the hopelessness of love in the big city.”

Into the scrum of suspects comes the titular White Flamingo, a former model with a penchant for marrying into money and seducing her way into adultery, as well as her son, whose proclivity for violent pornography makes him an early target and easy scapegoat in the police investigation.

I am always weary about giving away too many dramatic twists in a plot-propelled novel like this. Let’s just say that the author’s status as a “Ripperologist” (“Saucy Jack” also makes an appearance in Newman’s recent horror novella, “Itchy Park,” which is equally as compelling and grisly as this tale) makes for a ripping read.