Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Corpse Wore Pasties - Jonny Porkpie

 After reading a lot of Brit grit recently, I was looking for something a bit different, a freshener, and Jonny Porkpie - author, narrator and hero of his own book, as well as self-styled Burlesque Mayor of NYC - certainly delivered the goods in style.

When a burlesque performer drops dead on stage, Jonny's got a problem. Not only is it his show, but 50 witnesses saw him hand the girl the 'prop' that killed her. With the cops not looking any further than him for a suspect, he's going down if he can't uncover the murderer before Officer Brooklyn and Officer Bronx pin some damning evidence on him. Trouble is all 5 girls in the show and a number of others had both motive and opportunity.

In some ways this is an old-fashioned murder mystery, with Jonny interviewing the suspects in turn and sorting out just who could and would have done away with the dead girl. But with larger than life characters and set against the sleazier side of the Big Apple, The Corpse Wore Pasties turns into a killer romp through New York City. Its tongue is kept firmly in cheek, while cheeks grind furiously into the New York night. Like burlesque, it is a little bit dark, very sexy, and often hilarious.

More from Jonny Porkpie here:  http://www.jonnyporkpie.com/

Monday, January 16, 2012

Life Needs Some New Ideas...

Life imitating art. Well, not just imitating. Like Hollywood, life seems intent on just rehashing old movies.

Still, I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when they counted the money.

"Six months. Six months in a frigging hole!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quote Of The Moment...Black Friday

"No, he's wrong," Charley said. "It's still Friday the thirteenth." And he went on looking at Hart.
Rizzio frowned and scratched the back of his head.
Charley said, "It's Black Friday and for certain people it's a day that never ends. They carry it with them all the time. Like typhoid carriers. So no matter where they go or what they do, they bring bad luck."
"Meaning me?" Hart murmured.
Charley nodded slowly. Then very slowly he reached into his overcoat pocket and took out the gun.

- Black Friday, David Goodis 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brit Grit Too, ed. Paul D Brazill


 For a fair number of reasons, absolutely everybody should buy this book. Number one reason might as well be because all of the authors are giving their money to charity. It's for the kids.

There are another 32 excellent reasons collected between the covers, so the warm glow of generosity is not the only good feeling you'll be getting out of your purchase. Editor Paul Brazill has gathered 32 of the most exciting young (in author years) talent that the UK has to offer.

If that seems like a lot, don't worry, there's no let up in quality. It literally hums and buzzes from every page, like a chippy sign on a wet Saturday night. The gritty rain-soaked back streets of Britain also give enough of a common thread to hold the whole thing together while allowing an astonishing array of talent to share the same pages.

Some of my absolute favourites are from familiar names like Nigel Bird, Richard Godwin, Luca Veste, Charlie Wade, Fiona Johnson, Gerard Brennan, and, of course, there's the editor's own contribution. That's a lot of genuine noir talent pulled together.

And while we're on familiar names, Hard Times by Ian Ayris is the sort of dark little tale that exemplifies the best of British. It twists under your skin and then smacks you where it hurts, nothing overblown, not a word wasted, but with such texture that you can feel the dirt getting under your fingernails.

Let's be honest, you'd pay a coupla quid just for that little lot. Even it wasn't for kids. But there's plenty more. One of the delights is coming across new authors (new to me, that is, 'cause I'm not the quickest on the uptake) and getting completely blown away by them.

Andy Rivers' superb Geraldine comes immediately to mind. A twisted tale of football fans and murder, told with real sympathy (underneath the macho exterior) and a genuine voice. The narrator honestly feels like somebody I've met and forgotten. Iain Rowan and Luke Block's respective contributions - amongst others - will also have me looking out for their names.

All in all, this feels like a snapshot of a nation: a dank, musty, blackly-humorous, rain-sodden little nation where everybody's going to hell but a lot of people can really write. Frankly, you should buy it even if you hate kids. It's that good.