This new work, as well as Red Esperanto, are are part of the author’s series of noir novelettes set in various cities around the world (and also available in Italian translation.)
In Red Esperanto, set in snow-smothered Warsaw, boozy English hack Luke Case encounters Jolanta, a beautiful young woman with a gangster husband. In Death on a Hot Afternoon, Case escapes Warsaw and heads into the heat of Madrid where he meets a mysterious torch singer and a journalist with a violent past.
More Luke Case novelettes are coming soon. Meanwhile, here’s that excerpt I promised from Death on a Hot Afternoon.
Nathan Jones made a series of loud grunting sounds and jabbed a pudgy finger at the dusty old television set that was stuffed into a cluttered corner of Bar Sierra y Mar.
“That’s not what happens when you kill a man, Luke,” he said, with a slight slur.
On the flickering screen, a fading American fashion model had just picked up a sawn-off shotgun and blasted a gigantic, tattoo-latticed, German wrestler to bits. As she’d stood over his corpse, she’d grinned and said something to the camera which, even dubbed into Spanish, had sounded more than somewhat cheesy.
The commercial break was now showing an advertisement for indigestion tablets which I suspected Nathan would have found useful.
He picked up a spicy chorizo sausage, stuffed it into his mouth and closed his eyes. His breathing acquired a regular rhythm as he chewed maniacally and swallowed with a gulp. When he opened his rheumy eyes, he glared at the television and grabbed a handful of napkins from the bar. After he wiped his thick lips and greasy hands, he rolled the napkins into a ball and dropped them onto the already littered floor. I’d been sharing a flat with Nathan for just over a month now and he was normally fastidiously tidy, even when drunk, so something had clearly spooked him today.
He sighed, swigged down half a glass of Alhambra Mezquita. Burped. Leaned close.
I held my breath.
‘What really happens is …your whole life turns upside down and never stops twistingand turning. It gets out of control. You know what I mean?’
He blinked rapidly and looked like a deer caught in a freewheeling truck’s blinding headlights.
I nodded sagely as he spoke, trying to look as understanding and sympathetic as possible, although I really had no idea what the hell Nathan was talking about. He certainly wasn’t my idea of a cold blooded killer, that was for sure. But then, not all of us were what we seemed.
© Paul D. Brazill 2102.
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