Noirvember Review: John Bowie’s Transference by KA Laity

#Noirvember, Brit Grit, Euro Noir, John Bowie, K A Laity, Manchester, Noir

Noirvember can be a little too much of a look-back-bore at times (at times!) so it’s good to remind ourselves that we’re living in something of a heyday of new noir (neo-noir too, but let’s not nitpick about genre borders just now: life is hard enough at the moment). Maybe we don’t want to think too much about why that is and how much the current landscape blows, so let’s just enjoy what there is to be savoured now.

Mother-Manchester swallowed the train with a blanket of grey. Rain and the smog of industry, breweries and relentless traffic were all around. With no gradual build-up of population, houses and industrial units to the city, it just happened; it was there. Everywhere. Its presence hit me out of the blue like a brick in the face thrown from its many factory walls. I’d been there before, travelled that line, entered it many times. Each time I still got the same awakening, eyes opening; a realisation to the endless brick. And the dank soup of it all.

John Bowie is best known for Bristol Noir, a terrific site where, in full disclosure, some of my writing has appeared (and I received a review copy of this book in hopes of an honest review). There’s a reason for that: a shared love of noir’s dark crystalline beauty. Transference distills that rich vein of noir and blends it with a pure Manchester poison. Too much can brutalise as his protagonist John Black knows. Like so many noir characters, he reluctantly heads back to the city that slapped him down for a final reckoning with the scars and bars he couldn’t put behind him.

As soon as I entered Manchester. As the smoke of the factories stung at my nose. He was in that band once. Now, he’s in another.

Three women look over his shoulder as he navigates the return to his haunted past. My favourite was his agent: ‘an ex-burlesque dancer, stage name M. Pampelmousse’ but there’s also a cop named Cherry, and emphasising the deep roots of the past, a therapist (there’s all kinds of juice in the book’s title). This is noir: their motivations may not be as clear as John believes, but he desperately needs to have faith in someone.

Fittingly for a book that knows where the border between Salford and Manchester lies, it’s suffused with the pulse of the music and familiar lyrics pop up in the prose and the chapter titles, running the gamut from Dice Man to Some Velvet Morning. This is a book for some whisky and a turntable. You can hear the crackle of needle on every page.

Transference by John Bowie is available from Red Dog Press.

Just The Seagulls by John Patrick Robbins

#Noirvember, John Patrick Robbins, Poetry, Punk Noir Magazine

I found myself burnt out as always alone on the beach .
Why the hell was I drawn here , I cannot say .

Maybe I was a junkie for the pain, maybe I just was unoriginal .
And maybe it just reminded me of you .

Either way I was here blown out of my socks.
The ocean is a force unto itself .

It held many a man’s soul as once I held you .
It wasn’t a game or a line, it was my life and I was tired of giving my soul to get nothing in return .

If I was paying dues then I must of had a hell of debt my friends .

A blown out liver and a bad heart.

Always on the verge chasing a false promise stuck in the sand while others simply passed me by.

I lost it all and gained shit in return keep your slaps on the back.

Give me a paycheck and a corner booth , let me die with my vices .

But time is a cruel bitch.
But no matter her intentions here I stood always hoping the sunset would find more than a closed door and a swift kick in the ass.

The seagulls live a second at a time .

On the verge of starvation .
Waiting for the tide to bring the next meal.

I questioned many things in this life .

My direction was not amongst these questions.

I watched the sunrise for the view was free.
Cause you couldn’t tax nature’s beauty.

When I left the beach I noticed a parking ticket on my windshield .

The tide brought in many things , and the asshole with a badge killed my buzz.

Full circle was something I was beginning to understand .

The seagulls thrived on nothing as I did the bottle .
We all need something .

I just needed enough to buy another bottle .

Dreams are for the sleeping.

John Patrick Robbins 
Is the editor of the Rye Whiskey Review,  Under The Bleachers and Drinkers Only .
His work has been published here at Punk Noir Magazine, The San Antonio Review,  Oddball Magazine , The San Pedro River Review , Ariel Chart,  As It Ought To Be Magazine, Piker Press, The Mojave River Review .
He is also the author of Once Upon A Nervous Breakdown  from Soma Publishing and Sex Drugs & Poetry from Whiskey City Press.
His work is always unfiltered. 
JPR Nov.jpg

Piano Man by Graham Wynd

#Noirvember, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Graham Wynd, Horror, K A Laity, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

‘That do for you, Tommy?’

Eric had a think. Surely he was always Frank and Earnest: Frank in the north, Ernie in the south. This was north. ‘Frank, love, the name’s Frank.’ Daftie. But she was well fit, a regular gym devotee. He was a bit surprised when she responded so well to his flirting. Above his league but hey, anyone might have a champion sort of day.

‘Sorry, it’s just that you remind me of Tommy.’ She handed him a generous glass of whisky. Posh included her liquor in the pretty little cabinet. The woman was drinking some bubbly with a double-barreled French name, but he went right for the good stuff. ‘I’m just going to change the music.’

‘Oh but I like that piano man,’ Eric laughed. ‘You know, sing us a song Mr Piano Man, sing us your songs all right…’

She looked at him blankly, then chuckled and snapped the CD case shut. ‘This is a string quartet, La jeune fille et la mort.’

‘Oh, I don’t know Morty at all. I liked that Saddo though.’ He was laying on the cheeky chappie a bit thick but they expected it, didn’t they? Posh women like this. Taking a walk on the wild side. Well, he was up for it. Very up for it.

‘Satie,’ she said with a wan smile, sitting beside him on the sofa. It was not a comfortable sofa though it looked pretty with all these curlicues on the ends.

‘Saddie, yeah. His songs are sad but kind of nice.’

‘It was a year ago Tommy…left.’ She smiled a sad smile at him. ‘You remind me of him.’

‘So you said.’ Eric hoped she wouldn’t talk too long. He was ready to get down to it, before the whisky flowed too much. It was hitting him a bit hard after all those cheap lagers. He should pace himself until they were done. Maybe he could take a bottle with him as a kind of memento. She had plenty to spare. ‘But I want to make you forget all about him.’

Eric moved closer to her on the sofa, leaning in for a kiss. Her lips were surprisingly cold. Well, he could fix that. He set his glass down on the shiny lacquered table. ‘Let’s cuddle, love.’ He slipped his arm around the curve of her waist.

A sudden wave of dizziness fogged his brain. Too much whisky. Tut tut, he didn’t want it to affect his performance. So far all was well downstairs. It had been weeks and he was gagging for it.

‘Tommy always liked it on this sofa,’ she said from somewhere above him. ‘Said it was easy to brace himself on.’

‘Oh yeah, for certain,’ Eric said, hearing his words slur. Christ, he hadn’t had that much. Maybe the good stuff was stronger. He rallied. ‘Let’s get to it and I’ll make you forget everything Tommy ever said.’

‘I can’t forget. I can’t ever forget his cruelty. He hurt me.’

What was her name? Elizabeth, Mary—some name like a queen. ‘Listen, love,’ Eric said then forgot what came next. He slipped onto the floor and stared up at her, eyes goggling. ‘Hey…’

‘Happy anniversary, Tommy,’ she said sitting astride him. ‘You’re going to leave me again, I know. But I have to do it until I get it right.’ She held the knife aloft. It glinted like her eyes.

Eric saw the blade fall but he didn’t really feel anything but wet. Posh birds. You just never knew.

A writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour, Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub. Publications include LOVE IS A GRIFT and EXTRICATE from Fox Spirit Books, SATAN’S SORORITY from Fahrenheit 13 Press,  as well as tales in the 2016 Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks and the Anthony Award-nominated Protectors 2: Heroes . Wynd’s stories have been translated into German, Italian, Polish and Slovene. See a full list of stories (including free reads) here. Find Wynd on Facebook and Twitter.


I Lost You On Blue Monday by Tomasz Kowalczyk

#Noirvember, International Noir, Music, Polski Noir, Punk Noir Magazine, Tomasz Kowalczyk




Composer/pianist: Tomasz Kowalczyk (contact via e-mail:

Animation: Leszek „Hill” Górka


Recommended Read: The Man in the Palace Theater by Ray Garton

#Noirvember, Films, Horror, Punk Noir Magazine, Ray Garton, Recommended Reads, Short Stories, Supernatural Noir

Showbiz writer John Bellows has fallen off the grid. He arrives at his old workplace looking distinctly dishevelled and convinces one of his old workmates to accompany him to the run down Palace Theater.

Ray Garton’s The Man In The Palace Theater is splendid. A beautifully written, atmospheric and haunting short story.

The Man In The Place Theatre


The Tut by Paul D. Brazill

#Noirvember, All Due Respect, Brit Grit, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Paul D. Brazill, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

After enduring forty-five years of a marriage that was, at best, like wading through treacle, Oliver Beacock Robinson eventually had enough and smothered his wife with the beige corduroy cushion that he’d accidentally burned with a cigarette two fraught days before.

Oliver had been, for most of his life, a temperate man and he had survived the sexless marriage – its colourless cuisine and half-hearted holidays – with a stoicism that bordered on indifference. But his patience had been stretched to the breaking point by Gloria’s constant disapproval of almost everything he did.

And then there was the “tut.”

The tut invariably accompanied Gloria’s scowl whenever Oliver poured himself an evening drink or smoked a cigarette. She would tut loudly if he spilled the salt. Or swore. Or stayed up late to watch the snooker. The tut, tut, tut was like the rattle of a machine gun that seemed to echo through their West London home from dusk till dawn until he reached the end of his tether.

Wrapping his wife’s body in the fluffy white bedroom rug, Oliver supposed that he should have felt guilty, depressed or scared – but he didn’t. Far from it. In fact, he felt as free and as light as a multi-coloured helium balloon that had been set adrift to float above a brightly lit fun fair.

Oliver fastened the rug with gaffer tape and dragged the corpse down the steps to the basement. As the head bounced from every step, it made a sound not unlike a tut and he had to fight the urge to say sorry.

He’d done enough apologising.


Oliver poured himself a whisky – at eight o’clock in the morning! – and it tasted better than any whisky he had ever tasted before. Looking around his antiseptic home, the sofa still wrapped in the plastic coating that it came in, he smiled.

Savouring the silence, he resisted the temptation to clean Gloria’s puke from the scarred cushion that had been the catalyst of her death. Taking a Marlboro full strength from the secret supply that was hidden in a hollowed-out hardback copy of Jaws – Gloria didn’t approve of fiction and would never have found the stash there – he proceeded to burn holes in every cushion in the house.

And then he started on the sofa.

Oliver’s brief burst of pyromania was interrupted when he thought he heard a tut, tut, tut from the hallway. His heart seemed to skip a beat or two, but then he gave a relieved laugh when it was just the sound of the letter box, flapping in the wind.


Disposal of Gloria’s body proved much easier than Oliver would have expected. On a bright Sunday morning in April he hauled Gloria’s corpse into the back of his car, keeping an eye out for nosy neighbours, and drove towards Jed Bramble’s rundown farm, and the village of Innersmouth.

Jed was an old school friend and fellow Territorial Army member whom Oliver occasionally used to meet for a sly drink in the Innersmouth Arms’ smoky, pokey snug. He was also a phenomenal lush. The plan was to get him comatose and then feed Gloria’s body to his pigs. Oliver knew the farm was on its last legs, along with most of the livestock, so he felt sure that the poor emaciated creatures would be more than happy to tuck in to Gloria’s cadaver.

Perched on the passenger seat Oliver had a Sainsbury’s bag stuffed with six bottles of Grant’s Whisky. Just in case, he had a bottle of diazepam in his pocket, which he’d used to drug Gloria.

Just outside Innersmouth it started to rain. Tut, tut went the rain on the windscreen. At first it was only a shower but then it fell down in sheets. Tut, tut, tut, tut, tut.

Oliver switched on the windscreen wipers but every swish seemed to be replaced by a tut. He opened up a bottle of whisky and drank until the rain resumed sounding like rain.

Outside the dilapidated farmhouse, Jed stood with a rifle over his arm, looking more than a little weather-beaten himself. His straggly hair was long and greasy and his red eyes lit up like Xmas tree lights when he saw Oliver’s booze.


The cold Monday morning air tasted like tin to Oliver as, hungover and wheezing, he pulled Gloria’s body from the car and dumped it in the big sty. The starving wretches took to their meal with relish. Watching, Oliver vomited, but he didn’t try to stop the proceedings.

Back at the farmhouse Jed was still slumped over the kitchen table, snoring heavily. Oliver collapsed into a battered armchair and started to sweat and shake. He’d decided to stay with Jed for a few days, keeping him safely inebriated until Gloria’s remains were completely consumed. But as the days grew dark the tut returned.

The tick tock of Jed’s grandfather clock, for instance, was replaced by a tut, tut. The drip, drip, drip of the leaking tap kept him awake at night and became a tut, tut, tut. The postman’s bright and breezy rat-a-tat-tat on the front door seemed to pull the fillings right from his teeth. He turned on the radio but even Bob Dylan was tut, tut, tutting on heaven’s door.


The usually bustling Innersmouth High Street was almost deserted now. The majority of the local people were cowering indoors – in shops, pubs, fast food joints. Oliver walked down the street with Jed’s rifle over his shoulder. No matter how many people he shot he still couldn’t seem to escape the sound of Gloria’s disapprobation.

Tut went the gun when he shot the postman.

Tut, tut when he pressed the trigger and blew Harry the milkman’s brains out.

Tut, tut, tut when he blasted fat PC Thompson to smithereens as he attempted to escape by climbing over the infant school wall.

Oliver heard the sirens of approaching police cars in the distance and realised there was only one thing left to do.

Pushing the gun into his mouth he squeezed the trigger.

The last sound that he heard was a resounding TUT!

The End.




60 Free Film Noir Movies

#Noirvember, Films, Noir, Open Culture, Punk Noir Magazine

There are links to 60 Free Film Noir Movies over at OPEN CULTURE.

During the 1940s and 50s, Hollywood entered a “noir” period, producing riveting films based on hard-boiled fiction. These films were set in dark locations and shot in a black & white aesthetic that fit like a glove. Hardened men wore fedoras and forever smoked cigarettes. Women played the femme fatale role brilliantly. Love was the surest way to death. All of these elements figured into what Roger Ebert calls “the most American film genre” in his short Guide to Film Noir. In this growing list, we gather together the noir films available online.