The Interrogation Room – An Interview With Paul Greenberg

Next up in The Interrogation Room… Tom Leins catches up with Paul Greenberg to discuss his new short story collection, Dead Guy in the Bathtub (All Due Respect).

Firstly, congratulations on the publication of Dead Guy in the Bathtub! How hard was it to select the stories – and indeed the running order?

Thanks Tom. I really appreciate it. Choosing the stories was easy. I sent everything to my editor and publisher, Chris Rhatigan and I let him decide!

My biggest concern about the running order was where do you place the title piece? It’s like making an album. Do you lead with the title track or bury it on side two? We put it towards the top of the order.

Do you have a favourite story in the collection? If so, why is it your favourite?

I like “He Touched Me.” It’s about the underbelly of an extreme collectibles market. It’s got Elvis, passion and decapitation.

What is the oldest story in the book? How do you think your style has evolved since then?

The oldest story in the collection is “Bobby’s Big Brain.” It’s the first story I ever had accepted at Out of the Gutter, back in 2012. As style goes, I try to adhere to Elmore Leonard’s ‘10 Rules of Writing’. Why? Because Elmore Leonard. So you won’t find me “using an adverb to modify the verb said, he admonished gravely”.

Do you think crime fiction is too safe? Do you read mainstream crime fiction, or are your tastes firmly rooted in the independent scene?

I’ve read a ton. Mainstream, indy, vintage pulp fiction, hardboiled and noir authors. Plenty of unsafe out there. Unsafe is good. Like you for example, Tom! (Make out the check to Paul S. Greenberg…)

Your collection has been published by All Due Respect/Down & Out Books – do you have any favourite ADR/D&O authors or titles you would like to recommend?

I’ve read: Chris Irvin, Beau Johnson, Marietta Miles, Tom Pitts and Paul Brazill. All highly recommended. Did I forget Joe Clifford?

Which contemporary writers do you consider to be your peers?

Peers? I have no peers. They just won’t have me.

If your career trajectory could follow that of any well-known writer, who would you choose, and why?

If I had an Andy Warhol ‘15 Minutes of Fame’ trajectory I’d be happy. Then again, probably not…

Do you crave mainstream success, or is developing cult status satisfying enough?

I’m just here for the groupies.

Finally, what are your future publishing plans?

I’m working hard on a second collection of stories. The working title is “Dead Guy in the Dumpster.” See you next year!

Bio:

Paul Greenberg has been writing since he was a child. His first published work was a review of The Police at The Rat, a legendary Punk club in Boston. An avid reader of crime fiction Paul started writing and submitting to crime fiction journals in 2012. Since then his work has been placed in Out of the Gutter/The Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, All Due Respect, Horror Sleaze Trash, Yellow Mama, Spelk, Thrills Kills & Chaos and Near to the Knuckle. Paul spent many years working in record stores in the Boston area, and is a former employee of Capitol Records. He resides on the Northshore of Boston with his wife and two sons.

Dead Guy In The Bathtub @ Down & Out Books

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Book Review: Gunshine State by Andrew Nette

GUNSHINE STATE

Author: Andrew Nette

Publisher: Down & Out Books

Release Date: February 2018

Gunshine State is the story of Gary Chance, a former Australian army driver, ex-bouncer and thief, who finds himself in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, working for Dennis Curry, an aging criminal with a lucrative side-line in high-stakes poker games. Curry has hatched a plan to rob a high-roller named Freddie Gao, and has assembled an unlikely crew to help him do so. Inevitably, the plan backfires bloodily – setting in motion a violent chain of events that sees Chance scrambling to get clear of the wreckage before circling back in search of his pay-day.

Gunshine State is a tremendous heist-gone-wrong thriller which will delight fans of Richard Stark’s Parker books. The resourceful, cynical Chance is a fully formed flesh-and-blood protagonist – not an indestructible tough guy – and the crew he tangles with is eclectic and similarly well-judged. Nette’s plotting is crisp, and the story zig-zags memorably between the Iron Triangle in South Australia, Surfer’s Paradise, Canberra, Bangkok and Melbourne.

As the heist unravels and the plot unfolds the absorbing location details and invigorating set-pieces help to keep the narrative fresh. All in all: a top-notch thriller. I look forward to the (in-progress) sequel, Orphan Road.

Review by Tom Leins

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Book Review: Pennies For Charon by Benedict J. Jones

PENNIES FOR CHARON

Author: Benedict J. Jones

Publisher: Crime Wave Press

Release Date: March 2015

When the son of one of London’s leading barristers asks ex-con turned private investigator Charlie ‘Bars’ Constantinou to look for a missing call-girl, Charlie throws himself into the case – only to get sucked into the warped world of a serial killer who believes that the soul of the city demands human sacrifices if it is to reward its inhabitants with riches.

I’m usually a stickler for reading series characters in order, and it pains me to admit that I came to the Charlie Bars series arse-backwards – reading the rural rampage thriller The Devil’s Brew before tackling Pennies For Charon. (Confession: I still haven’t read series opener Skewered either…!)

Charlie Bars may be a rehabilitated South London bad-boy, but this gripping story takes in all corners of the city with its sweeping focus. From barflies in South London boozers with Colonel Gaddafi haircuts to self-made London fetishists in the corridors of power – everyone gets a fair shake from Jones.

Boasting a string of excellent set-pieces – not to mention a number of grisly scenes crammed with inventive violence – Pennies For Charon is a tremendous book. It’s a seething contemporary London novel – simultaneously concerned with re-mapping the capital and contorting the mythology of London’s criminal underbelly into new and unusual shapes.

If anyone wants to write a contemporary series of UK private eye fiction then they need to be willing to go toe-to-toe with Jones. I suspect Charlie Bars won’t be dislodged easily, and I hope this character runs and runs.

Heavily recommended.

Review by Tom Leins