As regular readers will know I recently reviewed, and really enjoyed, Paul’s 13 Shot of Noir, which if you haven’t already bought it you should do so immediately. So another day another Brazill ebook. Does Death On A Hot Afternoon live up to the high standards set by 13 Shots? Well, see below and find out…
Luke Case is a middle-aged hack working for a Madrid magazine run by local who fancies himself as a patron of the city’s art scene. One afternoon, he is chatting with another hack, Nathan, who starts telling him in a roundabout way about a murder he committed many years before – one he’s been on the run from ever since. The whole afternoon gets boozier and when Case ends up drinking with Lena K, a young Torch singer who seems to have appeared from nowhere on the Madrid scene, he finds he might have the chance of enjoying a very nice evening with her and a friend! But the evening takes a turn for the worse and leaves Case wondering just who this Torch singer is and what it is that she wants.
As witnessed in 13 Shots, Brazill has an excellent writing style and a lovely turn of phrase and you can witness it here in spades:
People fired sharp looks at me like bullets from a machine gun.
Along with some clever dialogue:
“Well, a cliche to me is like a red rag to a bull. I avoid them like the plague.”
Case, for all his seediness, makes a great narrator and protagonist even if he seems to be attracted to trouble the way iron filings are attracted to magnets. The build-up is beautifully done and then – slam – the pay-off comes quickly and the rug has been pulled from beneath Case and the reader. It’s a lovely and controlled bit of storytelling. I’ve heard some folks complain that it’s not long enough. I can understand what they mean (great characters, not wanting it to end etc), but I thought it was the perfect length – in and out and no messing about.