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.
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