Paul Brazill writes unflichingly realistic gritty hardboiled fiction that mixes the laconic with astute cultural observation. Always entertaining, you can count on a great read. He has a new one out, and he describes it as a rampage across London. Paul met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about Cold London Blues and his experience writing as an exile.
Here’s the blurb: A killer priest is on the rampage across London and an egotistical Hollywood action movie star is out for revenge when his precious comic book collection is stolen. Meanwhile, gangster Marty Cook’s dreams of going legit swiftly turn pear shaped when one of his bouncers accidentally kills one of his salsa club’s regular customers. Razor sharp wisecracks, gaudy characters and even gaudier situations abound in Cold London Blues, a violent and pitch-black Brit Grit comedy of errors.
Tell us about your memories of London and how has Poland changed them?
There’s been a lot of booze under the bridge since I lived in London. However …
Flashbacks: walking down Abbey Road, across the famous Beatles zebra crossing, and seeing Dave Vanian – vampire- esque singer with The Damned – driving a hearse. Shortly after, I was in a warehouse which had a room full of sump oil and a shark floating in formaldehyde. … a drunken Bert Kwok playing air-piano in a Soho club … a tall man carrying a massive white cross down Kensington High Street … The Buena Vista Social Club in Hyde Park, the beer tent only sold Pimms or champagne … eating a chocolate covered scorpion … Astrid Gilberto at The Jazz Café and Ennio Morricone at the Barbican … a woman that was born in an orphanage and whose name on her birth certificate was just a number … Tracey Emin dancing to Stuck In The Middle with you at my friend’s memorial … and lots and lots of time travelling on the tube or on the bus … All seen through a shot glass darkly, of course.
How important is local culture and music to your writing?
The stuff I’ve written in the mythical Seatown- Kill Me Quick!, The Postman Cometh, Route 66 And All That, Who Killed Skippy? et al – are all very much based on growing up and living in the north east of England. There are lots of real people and situations in those yarns although they are viewed askew and through the haze of booze and a faulty memory.
What else is on the cards for you this year?
I’ve recently finished a follow up to Cold London Blues and Guns Of Brixton. It’s called A Rainy Night In Soho and hopefully it will see the light of day at some time.
I have a few books that I’d previously self-published are coming out via Renato Bratkovic’s Artizan publishing. The first – Exiles: An Outsider Anthology – is out now and includes a story from your good self. Here’s the blurb:
A powerful Noir short story collection edited by the Bukowski of Noir, Paul D. Brazill. Exiles features 26 outsiders-themed stories by some of the greatest crime and noir writers, K. A. Laity, Chris Rhatigan, Steven Porter, Patti Abbott, Ryan Sayles, Gareth Spark, Pamila Payne, Paul D. Brazill, Jason Michel, Carrie Clevenger, David Malcolm, Nick Sweeney, Sonia Kilvington, Rob Brunet, James A. Newman, Tess Makovesky, Chris Leek, McDroll, Renato Bratkovič, Walter Conley, Marietta Miles, Aidan Thorn, Benjamin Sobieck, Graham Wynd, Richard Godwin, Colin Graham, and an introduction by Heath Lowrance.
Thank you Paul for an informative interview.
Paul D. Brazill is the author of The Last Laugh, Guns of Brixton, Cold London Blues, and Kill Me Quick! He was born in England and lives in Poland. His writing has been translated into Italian, Polish, German and Slovene. He has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime. His blog is here.