"We’re all lying in the gutter, but some of us are staring at the spaces between the stars…"
...is one hell of a sentence by Paul Brazill and already telling what kind of narrative he uses in his novella "Kill Me Quick". While there is an ongoing story, often times Brazill delivers more of a quick sketch of what is happening, so it is needed to look between the lines and see what is actually missing here. He doesn´t explain things as much, so the "painting a picture with words" isn´t really happening, but it moves the story along rather fast from one scene to the next.
Which also means any kind of motivation is up for me, the reader, to grasp why any characters do what they do. But when Brazill takes a closer look how and why for example Seatown has gone down the toilet he doesn´t need much but a short description to nail it. Which leads me back to the quoted sentence of the blurb which is extremely fitting, and the context even more, as everyone and everything is in the gutter. Some more, some less.
Mark Hammonds, former bass player of a band named Coronet Blue (big, very big in Poland - couldn´t have been "big in Japan" obviously) returns to Seatown - which is aptly named - after having been away for years. Alas, not everybody has a warm welcome for him as his encounter with some thugs at the beginning of the book shows. With a smashed hand playing music isn´t going to happen anymore, not that he has much going on in the first place. Out of luck his answer to everything is heading to the bar and getting pissed. Which sorta, kinda, eventually influences his decision making quite a bit too.
You have pretty much everything in Kill Me Quick. From a godfather like Don Corleone type to Eastern European strippers to a biker gang, who for some reason are wearing wolf masks, to shaddy drug deals to different scams and murder (and an rather interesting idea how to dispose of the body) and old acquaintances who want to harm him more often than not.
Kill Me Quick is a bit of an oddball crime book with all the pitch black humor and wordplay while the out of luck lowlifes run from one unlucky event to the next. It must be a British thing as everything is delivered with that dry kind of understatement only the Brits have mastered. Not Monthy Python exactly, but with this kind of absurd characters it goes into a similar direction. That kind of where even the strangest situations are funny even they are not funny at all.
Brazill uses a ton of songs and music references in his book. A bit like a soundtrack of an whole era, a neverending jukebox which spits out song after song after song. An era which like Seatown has seen better days. If there is a page without music I haven´t found it yet.
At the end of the book I was almost waiting for someone to sing "Guns Of Brixton", but THAT would have been a bit of a stretch.
(Full disclosure: I received a free pre-publication ARC of "Kill Me Quick" from the author, Paul D. Brazill)