Review: Kill Me Quick

KILL ME QUICK!
Paul D. Brazill
Number 13 Press

We’re all lying in the gutter, but some of us are staring at the spaces between the stars…

Seatown may not have a lot going for it – apart from the Roy Orbison lookalikes and Super Seventies Special every Thursday night, of course – but it is at least the place Mark Hammonds calls home. And after a decade away, it’s the place he returns to when he has nowhere else to go.

From dead bikers to dodgy drug deals, from one downbeat bar to the next, from strippers to gangsters and back again: the luckless former musician bounces from one misdeed to the next along with a litany of old acquaintances, almost as though he never left. And if only he can shake off everybody who wants to kill, maim or otherwise hurt him, maybe he could even think about staying.

After all, there’s no place like home, eh?

I got a pre-release ARC of this book, but that doesn’t affect my review because you already know that I’m a sucker for Brazill’s stories and their perfect mix of mordant humour and crazy crime shenanigans. I’m glad to see a return to Seatown, one of my favourite locations. The seedy seaside town has seen better days, but things keep hopping for the wild whirl of criminals, lowlifes, lawless looters and even musicians there.

This novella is a crazy crime jukebox that takes in everything from crooners to croakers without missing a beat. The soundtrack of  Seatown touches on its once great era then follows as it slips down to the end of its rope, lurching last drunken dance at your cousin’s wedding.

Bass player Mark Hammonds starts off in a bad place — thugs crushing his playing hand — then things get much worse as the story belts along. They also get more crazy. Pubs, clubs, hotels and caravans: around every corner lurk more problems for the luckless bassist. Like a lot of Brazill’s down-on-their-luck characters, you find yourself rooting for him despite his self-destructive plunges into disaster, but you’re not too sure he can survive.

Get it. If you have anything like a sense of humour and a heart as black as the inside of a body bag, you’ll love it. Besides, best corpse disposal trick ever (pity it’s only once a year).

Some bon mots:

‘It was glittery enough to host a glam rock revival and the loud ’80s pop they played was so cheesy you could use it to top a pizza.’

‘A red-faced man in a shiny supermarket suit shuffled beside him, nodding like one of those toy dogs everyone’s dad used to have in the back of their cars in the ’70s.’

‘Specks of dust floated in the shard of sunlight that sliced through the broken slat and spotlit a pool of blood at Mark Hammonds’ feet.’

‘There was a flash of lightning, a crack of thunder, and a storm gouged the sky open, battering them with rain.’

Story for a Sunday: Masquerade

As part of the Near to the Knuckle Halloween extravaganza, my story ‘Masquerade’ went live last night. It’s a kind of prequel to Satan’s Sorority. 13 stories in 24 hours: text and audio! Darren Sant & Craig Douglas outdid themselves — and you’re the one who benefits. Check out all the deliciously decadent treats and be prepared for a trick here and there.

Winner of Satan’s Sorority!

Satans Sorority Promo Image SLJI put all the names from the blog & Facebook in the Randomiser and out came:

Jimi Kelso

Congratulations! If the rest of you would like a commemorative badge, shoot me your address via email [victoriasquid at gmail] and I’ll send you one.

Thanks so much for entering — and just look at the fabulous image by the lovely SL Johnson. Get her for all your design needs and she’ll do you right.

Win a copy of SATAN’S SORORITY!

Pledging Sigma Tau NuI am giving away a prize package of ONE print copy of SATAN’S SORORITY plus one “I’m pledging Sigma Tau Nu” promo badge and a couple of little surprises to some lucky winner here at the blog on Halloween (Saturday, 31 October 2015).

Enter to win by posting here (or on my Facebook page) with your name and the declaration: “I’m pledging Sigma Tau Nu!” The winner will be chosen by random. Be sure to include your email or I’ll choose the person via random lottery.

Deadline: noon (GMT) on Halloween.

Big thanks to Lys Guillorn for making the swanky badges.

Listen to a snippet of the novella read by Darren Sant of Near 2 the Knuckle. They’re going to have a big Halloween extravaganza that includes my story ‘Masquerade’ that’s a kind of prequel to Satan’s Sorority.

Spooky Women

There are so many influences on Satan’s Sorority, some of them direct, others more subtle. There’s an offhand mention of the avant-garde artist ‘Leonorini’ performing rituals in the early 20th century. I just wrote a brief prequel of sorts for the Near to the Knuckle big Halloween Extravanganza. Keep your eyeballs peeled for that — and your ears! Darren Sant is going to be recording the works for your aural pleasure. In my story I write about Leonorini’s big debut splash in NYC, where art and magic cross paths.

I swiped her name from the very real avant-garde artist Leonor Fini, who has long fascinated me. Her work taps into the mythic and magic effortlessly. The illustration at the top is her sketch of a witch. She used masks and transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary. Benjamin Britten wrote a play about her. She designed costumes and decorations for theater, ballet and opera, and later in life she wrote novels. In short, genius.

I realised when it comes to the actual magic, however, what I was seeing was the singular vocal talents of Diamanda Galás. If you ever have a chance to see her perform, take it. There’s nothing like it.

Surreal artists like Leonora Carrington, Lee Miller, Remedios Varo and more have been too often overlooked by the mainstream. The newly released Eve’s Hollywood by Eve Babitz will doubtless stir up the wilder side of the art world. There’s revolution in the air, thanks to some spooky women. And I just discovered this lovely version of the Classics IV tune yesterday: lovely, ain’t it?

Pledging at Bouchercon

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I handed out pledge pins all over Bouchercon: enough people were amused. I do wish I’d snapped Heather Graham wearing hers.

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Even the bar got into the theme.

The big event: I do enjoy reading even when we had to fit 19 readers into a panel!

I have never signed so many books! And editor Art Taylor won an Anthony that night: hmmm, maybe that will be luck for next year.

Everyone’s ready to pledge! Thanks, Julie Beman (check out Chica Non Grata) and Lys Guillorn (who made the badges and is also a terrific singer).

All the reading, writing and promo makes you thirsty…

satans-sorority-promo

Out Now: Satan’s Sorority

Get ’em while they’re hot! Amazon UK  /  Amazon US

Those devilish girls of Sigma Tau Nu,
there’s simply nothing they wouldn’t do!

1958: Sandra Delites is packed off to college in Connecticut after an ‘incident’ with another girl. Her father thinks a small town university will be just the thing to straighten her out, only he hasn’t reckoned on the sisters of Sigma Tau Nu. Not just any sorority, their rites are bloody and the girls are hot – but not for the boys! President Trixie Faust sees a lot of potential in the newest pledge and Sandra is eager to learn: the thrill of the kill is just the beginning for these college girls gone wild.

Halloween will be extra scary this year. Forget black cats, you don’t want one of these sisters to cross your path.

See the teaser trailer HERE.

Listen to an extract read by Darren Sant HERE.

“Dark humour, the occult, loss of innocence and sex Wynd has well developed, intelligent and believable characters. The flow of the story is perfectly paced which made all the action and tension so much more effective. The novella is not for the faint of heart…. A thumping good read. Top marks here, Wynd is a talent I’d love to read more from.”  – Darren Sant (author of The Bank Manager and the Bum and Tales from the Longcroft)

“For those more learned than me there are plenty of literary and occult references in this story…Sometimes when I read a book I find a single line sums it up perfectly. The poets often claimed that death wore a mask, but they never said it wore a sorority pin. Not yet anyway. —Tony Lane

Number 13More praise for Graham Wynd

Extricate blends forbidden passion and noir so seamlessly, it’s remarkable. Wynd has a very strong voice, and the prose just floats you through the story. I’m always looking for great stories that come from great writing, and Graham Wynd is someone I’m going to look out for in the future.’  -Liam Sweeny (author of Dead Man’s Switch)

‘A twisty-turny noir tale of dishonor amongst thieves that is skewered with hot lust and cold blooded murder.’  -Paul D. Brazill (author of Guns Of Brixton and A Case of Noir)

‘Crime meets erotica in a fevered novella. Graham Wynd has written a fluid and tight story with vivid characters in situations that are inextricably charged with a sexuality from which you will find it hard to extricate yourself.’  -Richard Godwin (author of One Lost Summer, Apostle Rising and Mr Glamour)

‘A fantastic tale of friendship and deceit, interspersed with sex, drink, cards, a loveless marriage, dodgy dealings, but mainly sex as Peter’s obsession and addiction to his best friend’s girl leads him down a dangerous path.’  -Col’s Criminal Library

Bouchercon Bound!

Flying from New York today to Raleigh for Bouchercon! Noir at the Bar tonight, Sisters in Crime breakfast Friday morning and the reading and signing of Murder Under the Oaks on Saturday!

Looking forward to seeing a bunch of folks. With luck my promo buttons will catch up with me somewhere, though I’m rather irked that 3 days will have passed and the ‘1 day delivery’ has not arrived. At least I have the flyers to hand out. Maybe I can sweet-talk my brother into overnighting the badges to me assuming they finally arrive. They’re pretty sweet (thanks, Lys Guillorn!).

Pledging Sigma Tau Nu

TOA/V: Burn, Witch, Burn!

BURN, WITCH, BURN (AKA Night of the Eagle) 1961
Directed by Sidney Hayers
Screenplay by Charles Beaumont/Richard Matheson/George Baxt
Based on Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber
Starring Peter Wyngarde, Janet Blair, Margaret Johnston, Anthony Nicholls, Colin Gordon

This is a fairly good adaptation of Leiber’s Conjure Wife (a brilliant little novel if you’ve not read it), dramatically retitled for American release complete with exclamation point. Snooty psychology professor studies superstitious beliefs with condescending rationality — until he discovers that his wife Tansy has been working magic to build his career. Well, if there’s one thing a guy like him hates more than magic, it’s the idea that his wife might be responsible for his success.

So he makes her burn all her workings and talismans and what do you know? Things start going badly for them both. Seems there’s a rival whose wife also uses magic…

This is a fun film that didn’t get near enough attention on its release (or since really). I love the mixture of academia and magic — obviously one of the things in the cauldron of my mind that helped conjure Satan’s Sorority.

See all the overlooked gems at Todd’s blog.

Advance Praise for Satan’s Sorority

“Sometimes when I read a book I find a single line sums it up perfectly. The poets often claimed that death wore a mask, but they never said it wore a sorority pin…For those more learned than me there are plenty of literary and occult references in this story.  Putting a twist on Goethe’s famous character by making it female was interesting and also made the ending more surprising for me.”

Tony Lane

“Having read some of Wynd’s shorter fiction I had a good idea what to expect.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Dark humour, the occult, loss of innocence and sex are all themes…it’s a thumping good read.”

Daz’s Reviews

Daz liked it so much, he recorded an excerpt! Listen here (and check out his other readings).

Out October 13th from:

Number 13