Book Review – Gumshoe Blues: The Peter Ord Yarns by Paul D. Brazill

My first encounter with the work of Paul D. Brazill was courtesy of the Close to the Bone Publishing website with a short story entitled “The Last Shot”and I enjoyed what I read. I’m a huge fan of this style of dark pulp/noir writing, so it was a no-brainer for me to click on the ad for the author’s latest work “Gumshoe Blues” and pre-order a copy for my tablet. Once loaded and opened, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. The pages oozed with rich, multi-layered plot progression and detail.

“Gumshoe Blues” was one of those books I couldn’t put down and I finished it in one session and three cups of dark roast coffee. Brazill seamlessly blends gritty subject matter with flashes of one-liner comedy throughout the stories. Admit it, who can’t fail to crack a smile at a character named Bryn Laden?

Here’s the Goodreads/Amazon blurb:


Following the breakdown of his marriage, in a booze-addled flash of inspiration, Peter Ord decides to become a private investigator. Dark farce and tragicomedy soon ensue. Peter must tackle many challenging cases, and when he comes under the radar of a local crime lord, he may have bitten off more than he can chew. With sidekicks, like boozy hack, Bryn Laden, failure is not an option – it’s compulsory.

“Gumshoe Blues: The Peter Ord Yarns” is made up of four short stories – “Gumshoe Blues,” “Mr. Kiss and Tell,” “Who Killed Skippy?” and “The Lady and the Gimp.” They follow the dubious adventures of bargain-basement private investigator Peter Ord who operates out of Seatown, a rainy, bleak, north-east of England coastal town that, naturally, sees more than its fair share of shady characters and hangouts.

Written in the first-person viewpoint – as all good PI stories should be in my opinion – we go on a grim journey with our ‘hero’ as he ambles from job to job in a sleazy, corrupt seaside town where you get the feeling the sun never shines and nobody smiles.

Brazill’s descriptive work shines as he paints a written image of the colorful, memorable characters and places Ord encounters – pubs, bars, strip joints, cemeteries, and caravan sites to list just a few. I believe that in noir the location is just as much a character as the people who live there, and the author knocks it out of the park with his descriptions and dialog.

If you haven’t read any of Paul D Brazill’s work before, “Gumshoe Blues” is a great way to begin the experience. I’m looking forward to reading more of his work and have just bought “A Case of Noir,” and “Supernatural Noir” for my tablet.

The Haunted Pen Rating:

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