When London gangster Mad Tony Cook gives aging thugs Big Jim and Kenny Rogan the simple task of collecting a briefcase from northern courier Half- Pint Harry he doesn’t suspect that the courier will end up dead in his lock-up or that Kenny and Big Jim will then dress up in drag to rob a jeweler's shop and lose the coveted briefcase. A fast-moving, wild and hilarious search for the missing briefcase quickly ensues, with fatal consequences. Guns Of Brixton is a foul-mouthed and violently comic crime caper that is choc-full of gaudy characters and dialogue sharp enough to shave with.
I've read a bit of Paul D.Brazill’s short fiction on and off over the past year or two, before treating myself to a collection of his short stories at the end of last year – 13 Shots of Noir. Read in December – review here.
Having recently updated this Guns of Brixton short novel, he was kind enough to forward me the all-singing, all-dancing improved version, which took reading priority over my 2013 Kindle edition.
Short, sharp, violent, funny, populated by an interesting smorgasbord of low-life, criminals…….
Half-Pint Harry, Anarchy Al and the like. The action mainly concerns recovering a missing suitcase, interspersed with an accidental killing, a jewellery heist, dingy pubs and greasy cafes, drug use, lock-ups, a car crash, leopardskin Speedos and a priest addicted to re-runs of Lovejoy with loveable rogue Ian McShane!
Great action, even if I will confess to a slight level of confusion over who was scheming to do what whom at times…..it all played out well in the end though.
Great fun, as much for the jokes and banter between the participants and the one-liners thrown in.
“The North’s all the fucking same to me,” said Big Jim……….
“I wholeheartedly agree,” said Kenny. “Mushy peas, black pudding, Pease-pudding, fishy-wishy-fucking-dishy. I usually start to hear the banjos from Deliverance as soon as I get north of Finchley.”
Kenny took a swig of Tizer and spilt the drink over his crotch. It was as cold as a taxman’s heart.
Sleepy Pete, a man with a face like a blackcurrant crumble and the smell of a soggy mongrel , sidled up to Richard, shuffling and sniffling, moving in close and conspiratorially like a double -agent in a Harry Palmer film.
Paul D. Brazill is the author of A Case Of Noir, Guns Of Brixton and The Neon Boneyard. He was born in England and lives in Poland. He is an International Thriller Writers Inc member whose writing has been translated into Italian, Finnish, German and Slovene. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime. He has edited a few anthologies, including the best-selling True Brit Grit - with Luca Veste.
4 from 5
Read early January, 2015.
Owned copy and author gifted copy.