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Wednesday, 23 September 2015
‘Guns of Brixton’ by Paul D. Brazil
Published by Caffeine Nights,
Having recently married my very own Eastender, I was looking forward to reading this book, imagining grim gangster tales with which I could regale my new husband, making him think I, too, was a dyed in the wool cockney sparrow (pronounced "sparra", don't you know).
So along with author Brazil, I headed to Brixton (sorry - couldn't resist!) for this novella of just 135 pages. Plunged immediately into the action we encountered gangsters galore from the off. But it wasn't all amoral shenanigans: chapter 1 (inadvertently?) highlighted the importance of gun control as Big Jim accidentally shoots Half-Pint Harry, while collecting an important, mysterious briefcase from him.
Desperate to keep the news of his minion's demise from Harry's boss, Big Jim's boss decides the body should be disposed of discreetly. In between that and a shop robbery carried out in full drag - apparently, considered an excellent disguise (you learn something new every day; if only I weren't already a woman, it could be a useful nugget someday) - the briefcase goes missing. And comedy ensues as our hapless antiheroes go to great lengths to try and retrieve it.
There were rather a lot of characters but the comedic twists and witty use of language kept me engaged.
Filled with expletives and nagging women, the author saves himself from clichés of gritty London gangsterism by not taking the subject matter too seriously. Tongue in cheek throughout, the humour is sometimes close to the wire and won't be to everyone's taste, like when a priest comments "I'm sweating like Jimmy Saville in a morgue".
Think Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch, in book form. But, without the pleasure of looking at Brad Pitt, or my new husband.
Reviewer: Joanna Kennedy
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. Photo courtesy of Kasia Martell
Joanna Kennedy studied French and German at university. She works in the aerospace industry and is a chartered marketer in the UK. She describes herself as a voracious reader, enjoying genres as varied as crime thrillers, historical fiction and autobiographies. Joanna lives in London. She is the daughter of crime thriller writer Leigh Russell.