By Paul Brazill
Published on: August 30, 2019
Blog Tour by: Blackthorn Book Tours
Written with a voice and style so strong that it was as if the narrator in my head was from a 1940’s noir film set in New York. However, it wasn’t too long before I realized the voice narrating the story in my head needed to change accents because it is actually set in Seatown, England featuring a main character who has most definitely seen better days.
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 is a set of four stories featuring Peter Ord, a private investigator who clearly works for people on the shady side of ethics and morality. The stories give a constant twist and turn feel as we go along with Peter in his daily life where he introduces us to just about everybody. No character is too minor in this book for Peter to tell us all about them. Whether it be a waitress delivering a drink or a man standing next to a machine. When they enter a scene we learn of their quirks, their middle school nicknames, who they dated and any other bits of information Peter may know. If we aren’t provided with their history, then we are given descriptions that so incredibly unique and descriptive that you can visually see them.
“Paddy’s face was like a blackcurrant crumble and so lived-in that squatters wouldn’t stay there.”
The four stories included are: Gumshoe Blues, Mr. Kiss & Tell, Who Killed Skippy?, and The Lady & The Gimp. Gumshoe Blues is the longest, but what is interesting in all four is how they build on each other. Random characters and incidents that you believe are just tidbits mentioned in passing take a larger role in the following stories. I found the Who Killed Skippy? to be my personal favorite in which Peter is hired to protect Craig from himself. Perhaps it’s my favorite because the opening scene is in a graveyard, or is because a ‘murder of crows’ is used within the story. I mean, who doesn’t love the phrase ‘a murder of crows?’ But I suspect it’s due to finally learning about what happened in a unique animal incident referenced within the first story.
Overall, fans of gritty noir stories will enjoy this book. Characters are quirky and memorable and it doesn’t hurt that it comes with a good dose of dark humor. Also want to give props to the author for all the extremely well-thought out characters. It must have been incredibly fun to create all their backstories.
Thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours for the reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.
Paul D. Brazill was born in Hartlepool, England and now lives in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where he’s been TEFL teaching for more than a decade.
His books include Last Year’s Man, A Case Of Noir, Guns Of Brixton, Small Time Crimes, and Kill Me Quick. He’s had stories published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 8, 10 and 11, and his writing has been translated in Italian, Polish, Finnish, German and Slovenian.
You can usually find him on Twitter @PaulDBrazill and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pauldavidbrazill/