Crime Writer Jesse Rawlins takes 6 STABS at Amazon Author Jason Beech ... proving this genre's a Messy Business, and you can NEVER GO BACK
Photo: Amazon Crime Author Jason Beech
His work is "Messy Business"
Greetings everyone. Center Stage host Mick Rose here. A bit worse for wear. Singed my left arm pulling tonight's pizzas from the oven. Reminded me of those heraldic signs they used to post outside a lotta factories: We have gone 28 days without an Industrial accident.
Grabbing a calendar and usin' my fingers, I reckon Center Stage went 75 Days without an ounce of Bloodshed. But we can kiss that streak Goodbye: cuz crime author Jason Beech is about to dance the 6 Stabs two-step with psychotic crime writer Jesse "Heels" Rawlins. Better him than me. Hope y'all enjoy the show!
Welcome to 6 STABS, Jason Beech. You know you’re about to bleed in exchange for this interview, right? But as you’ve learned over the past decade, crime writing’s a Messy Business.
It’s a bloody business, so what else can it be but a messy business? Pass the mop, Jesse.
Your latest book—NEVER GO BACK from Close To The Bone Publishing, releases November 29th—but the Kindle version is already avaible for pre-order from Amazon.
What 6 words best describe your book, Jason? Please keep in mind I’m gonna stab ya for each word you dish me.
Hot murder. Cold homecoming. Brutal awakening.
And watch it, that knife’s a bit pointy.
This new crime thriller launches with a murder—committed in Spain by one Mr. Barlow Vine. Two-part question, one stab: Without telling us who he kills or why, what’s this dude’s back story? Lawyer? Doctor? Disreputable-degenerate football coach who likes to throw his weight around? A wannabe crime writer just doin’ a bit of first-hand research?
And more importantly from my perspective: Do we meet Mr. Vine before he wastes this bloke? Or after the criminal deed’s been done?
Football coaches are way too loud—he’d be noticed straight away and carted off to the clink. So Barlow Vine’s a real estate agent, or a realtor if you prefer, who’s pulled himself up by his bootstraps from being a council estate tearaway. You meet Barlow as he’s come back to his hometown after the murder.
Barlow’s in denial that he’s now a criminal and thinks he can find some form of safety back home.
For those who don’t know, you were born and forged in Sheffield, England: roughly 168 miles north of the capital London. But you boldly moved to New Jersey-USA to teach and coach what you call “football”—the game folks in my redneck part of the woods call soccer. And, now having a soccer foot in each country, you routinely set some of your stories on English soil: while others such as your 2018 novel CITY OF FORTS unravel on the mean streets of America.
Which spurs me to ask another two-part question. The first half is simple: What motivated you to stage this murder in Spain?
The second half is also simple. But I’m going to stab you viciously, Jason. Why? Because I shouldn’t have to ask it, sir. Your book description on Amazon notes that after Mr. Vine’s committed the life-altering act of murder he’s faced with the task of returning to his “hometown.” While the surname Vine suggests he live in England? Please do tell us Mr. Beech the name of his hometown and where it’s located.
Spain was an easy choice. I know Spain. My first ever holiday abroad was in Spain, at a hotel later closed because it suffered a bout of Legionnaires disease. The last time we visited was in 2012, for my nephew’s wedding. I thought the town, Nerja, the perfect place for an English expat to miss desperately when he left to go back to the cold, grey streets of Sheffield—his hometown.
Sheffield is one of Britain’s five largest cities. It’s northern England, central U.K., and about four hours drive north from London if you get good traffic. It’s post-industrial. It still makes steel, in fact more than it did before the war, but most work gets done by robots. Most employment is now in public services like the National Health Service and the universities. Sheffield University works on many NASA projects.
The city got bombed to shit in the Second World War and cheap, nasty-looking buildings replaced the bomb sites. They’re now starting to beef up its appearance, but the first thing many people see as they enter the city is the cold, brutal Park Hill flats which Gargoyle over Sheffield.
However, it’s got some lovely parks, and the city’s southwest is the country’s fourth richest area. But it cannot match Nerja’s warmth and vibrant colours. So it’s a hard homecoming for Barlow Vine.
Regardless of whether you got wonked in the head with a football or some miscreant spiked your tea, you decided to spice NEVER GO BACK with some strange kids in Sheffield decked in Edwardian garb. I ain’t no fashion maven. So what the hell is Edwardian garb, Mr. Smartypants? And how do we distinguish this clothing from lets say Jacobean threads or Jesse Rawlins garb like faded Wrangler jeans?
Faded Wrangler jeans would never have washed in Edwardian Sheffield. The kids wear black trousers, white shirts, they could be second-hand clothes, but they’re not what you’d expect kids to wear in this day and age. They live in some rundown house on a godforsaken hill on the city’s outskirts and live a very strange life with their mother and an accordion. It would only get stranger if they were to wear Jacobean threads, whatever they are.
Although I suck at math I’m gonna do my best to frame a 3-part question. So brace yourself for some razzle-dazzle Mr. Fashion Courtier. As happens all-too-often, Barlow’s motivations for murder involve a woman. What’s this gal’s name? Is she from Spain? And does she cause trouble for Barlow—such as going to the cops and accusing him of murder?
She’s Maria. She’s Spanish, she’s salty, she’s full of colour and life, and I can’t give much more away than that. But the murder takes place out in the sticks—so it’ll take a while to find the corpse.
Okay, now somewhere in this deceitful mess, Barlow finds himself confronted by some “dead-eyed killers who want to use him for their own ends.” Care to share some insights about these killers? I’m thinkin’ they could be ex-wives wanting their latest husbands killed. Or maybe ex-mother-in-laws—jonesing for sexual favors ….
Don’t stare at me like my ideas are stupid. You’re the one who wrote about weird Edwardian wannabe kids, Mr. Beech.
These dead-eyed killers keep the unemployment numbers low. They’re good at killing. They do what they need to do to keep ahead of the game, though they enjoy it a little too much.
The main killer is Kevin Fishwick. Barlow can’t take him seriously with a name like that, but he soon will.
I like to stare. Just for the sake of it.
Guess that explains why you became a writer. We’re good at staring into space. But before I turn you over to the medics, Jason ...
Besides your novels CITY OF FORTS and MOORLANDS, you’ve also published story collections under the name BULLETS, TEETH & FISTS. Some of your stories center on humor—while some I’d call quite violent. Where does NEVER GO BACK fall into this mix in terms of violence?
Never Go Back is violent, though I wouldn’t say explicit. It has its moments, but I like it short and sharp, with consequences. It’s not a comedy, but my editor at Close to the Bone called it witty. I’d go with violent crime drama with funny bits in. That’s the poster blurb right there.
Well, Jason. You're looking like a poster boy for a Band-Aids campaign, so now's not the time to be "blurbing." Sure hope Barlow Vine appreciates the drubbing you took on his behalf. Meanwhile, it's bourbon time for me. Thanks Mick Rose for hosting us!
NEVER GO BACK releases on November 29, 2019 but is available for pre-order on Amazon
Anyone who's inclined can visit Jason Beech on Facebook. Congratulations are appropriate. Condolences are NOT. He brought this suffering on himself. Mr. Beech can also be found on his blog Messy Business. His regular features include: "Stuff I Wish I'd Written"—during which he tries to con us into thinking he's "civilized." How? He reaches out to other writers, and duly asks them questions about their favorite books.
Never read stories by Mr. Jason Beech? You can get a FREE taste below at Brit Grit author Paul D. Brazill's Punk Noir Magazine.
"The Kid with the Sad Face" by Jason Beech
Photo: Publisher-Editor & Crime Fiction Writer Jesse Rawlins a/k/a Heels
The Legend of Crime Writer Jesse Heels Rawlins by Center Stage Host Mick Rose
Visitors at Center Stage and crime magazine Story and Grit have likely seen and read author interviews and books reviews by crime writer Jesse Rawlins. But who is this gal of devious Southern Charm, lightening-quick with her wit, and ever-eager to inflict bodily harm?
According to Legend, Ms. Rawlins "stumbled into a life of crime" when her tawdry tale "Dick Tracy (Dirty Jobs)" appeared at illustrious flash fiction crime magazine Shotgun Honey in February 2017. Seven months later she tumbled into The Gutter at Flash Fiction Offensive with her debut story, "The Ensenda incident" (which crime and mystery writer James "Jim" Shaffer dubbed an "International Shit-Kicker").
Flashing her Trademark stilettos, Ms. Rawlins also made two splashy appearances at Canada's eclectic Red Fez Magazine—founded by Leopold McGinnis, and artfully presented by a charitable host of fez-wearing editors. Jesse's flash fiction debut "The Jimmy Choo Blues" was followed by the zany short story crime caper "Inside Pandora's Box" (later republished at Poland's Punk Noir Magazine).
Forging her way across the Atlantic Ocean in late December, courtesy of Spelk Fiction Editor Cal Marcius in England, Jesse paid tribute to her Southern Redneck descendants from the United States (whose roots reach back to England) with her flash fiction crime tale, "The Proxy." But she turned up at Spelk again in March 2018 with her startling crime noir "Kiss Me Goodbye, Baby ..."
Vacillating between hardboiled crime and humor, a number of Jesse's 2018 yarns kindly found good homes with Arthur Graham & India Brittany LaPlace at Horror Sleaze Trash, Mark Westmoreland's Story and Grit, and North Carolina's The Rye Whiskey Review. These adventures include a dark sexually-charged tale she considers her signature story, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf." Meanwhile "Dick Tracy (Dirty Jobs)" was republished at Under The Bleachers (fondly known as The Frat). Barroom poet and Editor-in-Chief John Patrick Robbins subsequently graced Ms. Rawlins with the nickname "Heels." And a degenerate Legend was born.
Photo: Crime Fiction "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf by Jesse Rawlins
If one believes the rumors, after earning the nickname Heels, Ms. Rawlins culled a like-minded band of merry, murderous miscreants, who helped her snag the publishing and editing torch at 10-year old crime magazine the Flash Fiction Offensive (FFO) on February 4, 2019 in a bloody Gutter coup. She quickly created and launched Gut-Shots (short stories that pack punch). And with help from Miscreant Friends, FFO will celebrate its 11th Anniversary this December.
Gut-Shots: Short Crime Stories that Pack Punch (Created by Jesse Rawlins)
While editing and publishing endeavors slowed her fiction writing ventures, the increasingly psychotic Ms. Rawlins continued to punish authors at a frightening pace in 2019. So she was pleased when Brit Grit crime writer and Punk Noir Magazine publisher Paul D. Brazill gave her zany crime caper "The Bayou Boobie Blues" a fine home in July. All told, tall tales penned by Ms. Rawlins made 15 appearances in the two-year-period of September 2017 thru September 2019, including the Winter 2019 print collection of Ramingo's Porch from Pski's Porch Publishing. Where her criminal debauchery leads Jesse next? I doubt even Heaven knows. But I suspect we haven't heard the last from Jesse "Heels" Rawlins.
Photo: Crime Fiction Writer Jesse Rawlins a/k/a Heels presents "The Girl Next Door"
Photo: Crime Fiction by Jesse Rawlins "The Ensenada Incident"
Photo: Crime Fiction by Jesse Rawlins "Kiss Me Goodbye, Baby ..."