A Note On Productivity

Friday gone, the 26th June, saw the publication of my twelfth book, Just Like Jesus. The Friday before that saw Cutthroat be released. I’ve always strived to be described as ‘prolific’, and I think I’m succeeding. On that note, I wanted to write something on a personal level about my productivity.

I don’t tend to get into personal stuff too much. I’d rather just write my stories, find somewhere wiling to publish them, and just get on with things in my personal life privately. Maybe it’s because it’s after two in the morning and I’m unable to sleep, I don’t know, or maybe it’s because of stuff I’ve talked about recently which has brought back a lot of memories.

Anyway, so, I was talking with my girlfriend a couple of days ago and it occurred to me that I don’t remember much of what happened in my life for the majority of the years between 2004-2006, from roughly October of the former to June of the latter. My high school girlfriend and I broke up and, rather than handle things head-on in a mature and reasonable way, I decided to drop out and go into work. Months went by in a blur as I moved from job to job – potato factory, mechanic, carpet fitter, and then a three month period on the dole in the summer of 2006 before going back to mechanic, albeit in a different garage. I can’t say I enjoyed any of these jobs, but I had no qualifications and did whatever I could (laughably, at 32, I still don’t have any qualifications and still work on this basis).

I didn’t see much of friends during this time. For the most part I locked myself away, tired and miserable. Plus, they were still at school. On the weekends, they all went to the pub. I went with them a few times, but it was a dank and dingy pub, a waste of a Saturday, and, more than any of those things, it made me miserable. I resolved to stop going. I’d rather be miserable in my own room, where I could at least listen to The Doors, than in that dirty pub inhabited by sad, angry men. I’ve never been a drinker, either, so it wasn’t like I could just get drunk and ignore the surroundings. I’ve been teetotal pretty much all my life (for reasons I won’t go into here), and it was round that time I found out what Straight Edge was.

A lot of people who discover Straight Edge talk about the strength it gave them, how it made them feel like they were part of a community, part of something bigger. I had no community. For the longest time it was just me, and being Straight Edge just further cemented my status as an outsider.

I spent a lot of this time period sleeping. I wrote a bit, when I could, but for the most part I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t necessarily sleep because I was tired. I’d sleep my weekends away because I didn’t have anything better to do. I didn’t have anywhere I needed to be and there was no one I needed to see. I didn’t need to do anything until Monday, when I went back to work.

When I told my girlfriend this, she said something I’d never really considered before – ‘It sounds like you were depressed.’

It seems so obvious, but I’d never thought about it. I’d always just assumed I was sleeping because I didn’t have anything better to do and, as such, because I was lazy.

Maybe I was depressed. After saying it out loud, to a person, for the very first time, it certainly sounds like I was. I don’t want to throw that word around lightly. I’ve never seen a doctor about it and it’s never been diagnosed. I know I’m prone to bouts of melancholia, but they tend to pass, eventually. They tend to pass when I work, but I’ll get to that.

I mentioned that things started to look up in 2006. In the summer of that year, while I was on the dole, my friends all finished high school. We spent more time together. I met girls that they knew from school, who would prove to be important later on. In September things changed. People started jobs, or went off to university. I started at a new garage, in Cramlington. I hated it. I dreaded waking up in the morning. I longed for five o’clock every single day. I went back to sleeping away my weekends. I’ve never mentioned this before, and in the interest of the disclaimer at the front of the book that says ‘these characters are not based on anyone living or dead’ I won’t give too many details, but the most loathsome characters in my book Fatboy are based on people I worked for – I mean with – at this time.

I hated it, but like I’ve said, I’m not qualified for much else. Then, in December, I met a girl. She was a friend of the girls I’d met in the summer, while I was on the dole (I said they’d be important). She made things bearable. It strikes me now just how important she was. It strikes me now that, without her, I probably wouldn’t have survived the entirety of my tenure at that garage. It eroded at every fibre of my being. It wasn’t so much the job itself, but the people who ran the business. One of them in particular.

On top of that, I lived in a household that didn’t believe in the sincerity of mental health issues, that believed so long as I had a job, so long as I was working, so long as I could pay my board, that’s all that mattered. So I swallowed down any issues I had and pretended they weren’t there, but do you know what I couldn’t hide? Anger. I was angry all the time. Even when I was with the girl, the girl who made me happy, I was still seething inside. There was always something at the back of my head, some slight, some annoyance. I know I made her sad, sometimes. I know that sometimes I did it on purpose, though I didn’t realise it at the time. I was self destructive. There was a part of me that didn’t want to be happy, that wanted always to suffer, and I took it out on other people. I took it out on her. One of the most easygoing, patient, and generous people I’ve ever known, I would find a way to make her angry, press a button that would make her want to fight. She won’t read this, but I’m sorry.

Eventually, naturally, I drove her away. She got tired of my bullshit, or else she just wanted to see what else was out there for her without me – the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. So I was alone again. Without her, I sank into some kind of hole. I was fine, at first, but then my endless days stretched out before me. I’d awake in the morning and some days, as my alarm rang shrilly in my ears, I’d hear a voice say ‘Kill yourself.’ Other mornings I’d wake up and it wasn’t words, but images. A violent, bloody fantasy, in which I took one of the Stanley blades kept in storage at work, and sliced open the big juicy vein near the inside of my left elbow. In this fantasy I didn’t necessarily want to die. I don’t know what I wanted. It was a statement. An angry fucking statement that I wanted out, and the only way I could see to do it was through blood.

One day, I took one of those blades. I stood at my toolbox early one morning, the day barely begun, and I tested. I tried. I pressed that sharp blade to my left wrist. It wasn’t the single vicious stroke I had envisioned. I barely broke the skin at all, though I cut it in a few places, trying to get deeper, braver, each time. When they healed, they were thin red scabs, and I was embarrassed. I don’t think anyone saw me do this, it was a big garage. If they did, no one said anything. I covered them up as best I could. I taped kitchen roll to my wrist, same way I did when I got a new tattoo and needed to keep it clean while it healed. For what it’s worth, I’ve never cut myself since.

I had friends help me through this time. I never told them about the cutting, or the dark thoughts, but they were present, and that was enough. I’d watch and discuss cowboy movies with Pete (who I’ve barely seen in the last ten years). Calum and I would drive all through the night, just talking shit, no destination in mind. He’s my best friend. He’s my son’s godfather.

A few months after the break-up, I met someone new. Well, not new. I’d known her for a while. We ‘met’ in the Haymarket bus station the morning after I’d been to a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club gig and I’d spent the night sleeping on Pete’s floor at his student accommodation. Anyway, we were together for a month or two, and one night she told me she wanted me to open up. She said I was a closed book, that I didn’t give anything away. I wasn’t sure what she wanted to know. She knew I liked her, wasn’t that enough? She wanted more, a connection perhaps, so I confided in her. We’d been spending a lot of time together. I’d met her daughter, spent time with her, too, the rest of her family. Maybe this all made me too confident. But I told her what I hadn’t told anyone else (and what I hadn’t told anyone since, until recently), about the depressive spells, and about the cutting.

The next day, while I was at work, she broke up with me via text.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel inclined to open up to anyone again for a very long time.

Fast forward a couple of years. My son is born. I try my hand at writing crime fiction. One of my earliest attempts at the genre, Red Eyed Richard, is published in issue three of Thuglit. I got paid for it. This began an addiction I didn’t at first realise I had acquired.

My writing remained sporadic. Juggling a job (the garage was far behind me now) trying to make ends meet while also struggling with a newborn didn’t exactly leave much time to write. I did what I could when I could. I wasn’t writing every day, and I found there were times I could be snappy or argumentative. About a year later, I made the commitment to, in at least some capacity, write every day. Early on, I was still prone to skipping days here and there. Those days I missed? I was irritable, and I always felt like there was something missing.

I write every day now, and I have done for the last few years. I’m not going to say I’m the picture of zen, because I’m not. I can still snap, I still get agitated, but I’m nowhere near as bad as I once was. I’m not as angry. I certainly don’t want to cut myself. I don’t sleep my days away, and if I do end up sneaking in a nap on an afternoon it’s usually because I got up at five am to write.

At this stage I’ve written twelve books and more than fifty short stories. Writing also afforded me the opportunity to interview Mark Lanegan, my favourite singer, but I’ve told those stories enough times already. Maybe I’ll go fully in depth some other time.

I’m loathe to say I have depression, as I can’t be sure that’s what I feel and I don’t want to minimise anyone who does, but for the point I want to make for all of this I’ll use the word for the sake of simplicity. My productivity is driven primarily by one thing: it keeps the depression at bay. I’m not saying it’s an  approach that will work for everyone, but it’s the one that works for me.

I’m a northerner, a Geordie, maybe that’s why I feel so awkward about being so personal in this post. I don’t talk about my feelings, not in public. If it wasn’t now four in the morning and I hadn’t been able to sleep, I doubt I’d have written this at all. If I manage to get any sleep tonight/this morning, I’ll probably remember what I’ve done, be overcome with embarrassment, and quickly come delete this post.

But, then again, maybe I’ll just leave it. It holds a lot of memories.

Standard

Just Like Jesus

My new book is out today! Available as both Kindle and paperback, here’s the description of my twelfth and newest:

‘Ed and Dan are old friends. When Ed finds himself jobless and down on his luck, Dan is quick to offer him work. But Dan is a drug dealer, and now Ed is his driver.

Life is good, cruising the summer sun drenched roads of Northumberland, hooking up with girls.

But the good times can’t last forever. Not when there are hidden jealousies threatening to tear them apart. Not when there are dangerous men, like Smithy, who only cares about his money…’

Not only that, but also out today from Close To The Bone is Tom Leins’ newest, Ten Pints Of Blood! Tom is one of my favourite authors and I’m very pleased to be release day book buddies with him.

Here are links for Just Like Jesus:

US:
https://www.amazon.com/Just-Like-Jesus-Paul-Heatley-ebook/dp/B086JYWFFZ/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=just+like+jesus+paul+heatley&qid=1593162419&sr=8-1

UK:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08BWBV7D7/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=just+like+jesus+paul+heatley&qid=1593162142&sr=8-1

Screenshot_20200626-100455

Standard

A brief break from Cutthroat…

I’ve been pushing my new book Cutthroat a lot lately so I feel I’ve gotta take a break from the shameless self promotion of my new book Cutthroat (oh my gosh, look at that, here’s a link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cutthroat-Paul-Heatley/dp/1643961071/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=cutthroat+paul+heatley&qid=1592828051&sprefix=cutthroat+pa&sr=8-1) to shamelessly self promote one of my earliest books The Motel Whore And Other Stories via Natalie Nider’s review of it in the link down below. Be sure to check it out, it’s a great review! Anyway, if you’re interested in reading it for yourself, here’s a couple of links (paperback links, the individual novellas/novelettes are available standalone for Kindle at 99p/99c a pop):

UK:

US:

https://www.trainwrecktendencies.com/post/the-motel-whore-other-stories-by-paul-heatley-book-review

Standard

Cutthroat

It’s release day! Cutthroat is my eleventh book and is out right now! It’s my version of a Parker novel crossed with Get Carter, set in 1978 Newcastle Upon Tyne and written by a Geordie Richard Stark. Also, I love the cover Zach McCain has done for it, can’t speak for anyone else but it gives me major Black Dahlia vibes.

Check it out and be sure to tell me what you think!

UK:

US:

cover-heatley-cutthroat-5

Standard

FahreNoir At The Bar

A few weeks ago a YouTube channel for Fahrenheit Press authors was started up by Derek Farrel, and a number of Fahrenheit and Fahrenheit 13 authors were invited to give a reading from their works. Down below you can find a link direct to my reading of the Prologue and Chapter One of my book Bad Bastards. Prepare to be soothed by my Geordie/Northumbrian tones, and plenty of swears! At the minute there are eight other videos with an average runtime of five minutes, and there’ll be more added every Friday. Anyway, check it out, and I hope you enjoy!

 

Standard

2019 Reading List

A little bit belated, but here’s my reading list from the year just gone:

  • The Line That Held Us – David Joy
  • Bluebird, Bluebird – Attica Locke
  • Riverside: Newcastle’s Legendary Alternative Music Venue – Hazel Plater and Carl Taylor
  • The Mordbidly Obese Ninja – Carlton Mellick III
  • Uzumaki – Junji Ito
  • My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • My Darkest Prayer – S A Cosby
  • Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash – Eka Kurniawan
  • The Punisher Omnibus Volume 2 – Garth Ennis
  • The Season Ticket – Jonathan Tulloch
  • Pig Iron – Ben Myers
  • The Ice Monster – David Walliams
  • Batman The Dark Knight: Master Race – Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
  • The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade – Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
  • The Border – Don Winslow
  • Point Blank – Richard Stark
  • Ellerbisms – Marc Ellerby
  • Smoke – Nigel Bird
  • Bloody January – Alan Parks
  • The Witches – Roald Dahl
  • Slow Horses – Mick Herron
  • Be My Girl – Tony Hutchinson
  • Rival Sons – Aidan Thorn
  • How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks – Jennifer Lee Thomson
  • All Things Violent – Nikki Dolson
  • Comeback – Richard Stark
  • Natchez Burning – Greg Iles
  • Sleevenotes – Mark Lanegan
  • Skin – Peter Milligan
  • Hewligan’s Haircut – Peter Milligan
  • The Chain – Adrian McKinty
  • Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice – James M Cain
  • I Spit On Your Graves – Boris Vian
  • The Drive-In – Joe Lansdale
  • The Great And Secret Show – Clive Barker
  • Skellig – David Almond
  • The Eye Of The World – Robert Jordan
  • Six Stories – Mat Wesolowski
  • Blood In, Blood Out – John Lee Brook
  • The Criminal – Jim Thompson
  • My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix
  • Doctor Sleep – Stephen King
  • Batman: Gotham After Midnight – Steve Niles
  • The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman
  • Batman: The Black Mirror – Scott Snyder
  • Batman: Broken City – Brian Azzarello
  • Batman: Zero Year Secret City – Scott Snyder
  • Batman: Zero Year Dark City – Scott Snyder
  • Batman: Gates Of Gotham – Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins
  • Happy – Grant Morrison
  • Face It – Debbie Harry

 

If I had to pick my favourites of the year, I reckon I’d go with Face It – Debbie Harry, My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix, My Sister The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite, The Eye Of The World – Robert Jordan, and My Darkest Prayer – S A Cosby.

Standard

Stealing Christmas Chapter One

As you may know, I released my new Christmas crime novella a couple of weeks ago, Stealing Christmas, and I thought I’d share here the opening chapter. If you find it appeals and you can’t go another moment without reading the rest, or picking it up and putting it to one side for December, you can find a link at the bottom of the post. Kindle and paperback both available. Enjoy!

 

Chapter One
The Christmas lights on the outside of the first house illuminate the whole street.
“Jesus Christ,” Teddy Norton says. It’s not his first viewing, but it still gets him. “Pretty sure she’s added more bulbs to it every damn time I come round. You reckon people on this block go about their homes with sunglasses on?”
Bud Corrigan stares at the house. The flickering of the lights dance across his features. It’s the first time he’s seen it. He shields his eyes as he peers out. “Cindy must really like Christmas, huh?”
“Who knew?” Teddy says. “This looks like the house of someone that actually enjoys the season, and she never looked to me like she enjoyed anything.” Teddy grits his teeth. Cindy was in charge of human resources at the factory where they’d both worked just a few short months ago. She was the one found out about Teddy’s…history. She was the one that got them both fired.
Bud stares at the house like the lights have him hypnotised.
Teddy taps him on the arm. “Come on. We’ll roll round the back, go in that way.”
“You don’t think it’s too well lit? People might see us.”
“See us? It’s the best cover we’ve got. Can you see anything through those windows?”
Bud leans forward, against the passenger side door, right up to the glass, trying to see through the house’s windows. “No, guess not.”
“We could probably hit every light switch in the place and still no one would be able to see us.”
“Okay, sure, good point.”
Teddy starts up the van, rolls down the street and round the corner. He takes his time through the slush on the road. Snow is piled high on the sidewalks and next to the parked cars there. It’s not snowing right now, but the sky above them looks heavy with clouds. There isn’t a single star visible. It’ll likely snow again, and hard, before the night is out.
“How long ago did the party start?” Bud says.
Teddy checks the clock on the dashboard. “An hour.”
“She’ll be there now, right? I mean, there’s fashionably late, but an hour would just be rude, right?”
“She’ll be there. It didn’t look like there was anyone home. We’ll check first, don’t worry.”
Bud is worried, though. He’s never done this before. This is his first time. He chews his bottom lip and his knees bounce. He’s balled his hands up in his lap to stop them from fidgeting. He’s balled them up so tight his knuckles are bone white.
The other houses on the street have made an effort, but none of them compare to Cindy’s in terms of lights per square inch. It makes Teddy think of the Griswold home in Christmas Vacation. He thinks maybe her husband is the joyous one, just like Clark in the movie. The big kid. Probably put all those lights up himself right at the start of the month, spends the rest of the year counting down until he can do it all over again.
It’s eight o’clock, Christmas Eve. Cindy’s house is the first on their list. They’re starting in the centre of town, working their way out. Phil’s will be last. He lives on the outskirts, the biggest house in town for the biggest swinging dick. Phil owns the factory where Teddy and Bud worked. Where Cindy works. Phil was their boss. He didn’t fire them personally – got his brother, the head of security, to do that – but he surely signed off on it.
They intend to be done in three hours, tops. Three hours then they’re gone, out of town, keep driving, and find somewhere new to start over. Kiss this shitty little place goodbye. Merry Christmas. They’re giving themselves the biggest gift of all come Christmas morning, and they’re not gonna wait for no fat man in a red suit to deliver it, they’re gonna go out and get it themselves.
New lives.
There’s a group of carollers going from house to house. They’ve already been to Cindy’s, moved on after receiving no answer. Now, three doors down, a husband, wife, and child stand in their doorway, listening to them tunelessly work their way through We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Still, as bad as it is, they smile. They all smile, singers and listeners alike. It’s Christmas Eve. The happiest time of the year. Everyone’s in a good mood.
The back wheels of the van skid a little as Teddy takes the corner, but he manages to right it. Slows a little more.
“Remember when we used to do that?” Bud says.
“Do what?” Teddy is concentrating on the road, he doesn’t have time for reminiscing.
“When we usedta go carol singing to get a little cash together.”
“I remember about three houses outta five usedta give us cash for singing. The other two times we just had to wind the song up and stand there lookin like a couple of assholes twiddling our thumbs.”
Bud laughs. “Yeah, but they were usually the old people. The elderly. They had the biggest smiles, though.”
“Oh yeah, that’s what I was in it for – the fuckin smiles. I had the voice of an angel, man. I deserved payment for that shit.”
“It’s true, you really hit those high notes. I was a decent, uh…what’s it called…”
“Baritone.”
“Yeah, that’s it. I was good at that.”
“If you say so.”
“I do. And you don’t sound like an angel no more. What went wrong?”
“Cigarettes and booze, man.”
“You’d sound more like Tom Waits if we tried it now.”
Teddy grunts. “Uh-huh. Mark Lanegan.”
“Brian Johnson.”
“Howlin Wolf.”
Bud laughs.
Teddy slows, stops at the back of Cindy’s house. It’s easy to tell which is hers. There are no lights on the back, but it’s hard to miss the glow that emanates from the front.
“Then we’d take all that loose change and we’d go hang round the liquor store until someone came along who’d go in and buy us beer.”
“Keep us warm on those cold nights,” Teddy says, not really paying attention, looking up at the dark windows of the house, making sure it’s as empty as he tried to convince Bud it is. He remembers how no one answered for the carollers. He’s just doubting himself, is all. Listening too much to his nerves.
“Wasn’t so hard to find someone to go in for us when it was December,” Bud says. “People were always a lot nicer at Christmas.”
“Maybe they still are and we just don’t notice as much anymore.” Teddy checks the windows of the other houses. The neighbours. Checks for lights, for movement, anyone watching them. Doesn’t see anyone. It’s not a night for people to lurk at their windows and be suspicious of every car on the road. It’s a night to relax with family and watch Christmas specials on the television, to sip egg nog and sing songs at the piano. To tuck up the children on the one night of the year they’re eager to get to bed. Santa Claus is coming to town. “C’mon, let’s go.”
Teddy kills the engine, pockets the keys. They both slide from the van and make their way to the back gate. They’re lucky – it’s not locked. Bud looks at Teddy. “Get in,” Teddy prompts.
“Figured we’d have to climb the fence.”
“Yeah, well, we don’t, so get movin.”
They both wear black. Jeans, jumpers, woollen hats. They look suspicious as all hell, it’s true, but it’s also necessary. When they’re driving, they take off the hats, wear heavy coats that aren’t black. If a cop passes them on the road, looks inside, they don’t want to arouse his interest. If he pulls them over, they don’t want him questioning the evening’s all-black fashion choices. If he asks, they’re plumbers on an emergency call, trying to save someone’s Christmas from being ruined entirely from a burst pipe.
Snow in the back yard crunches underfoot. It’s thick, untouched. No kids have played in it, no dogs have run in it. Not a single snowman. Near the back door there’s a gas-powered barbecue, wrapped up for the winter, practically buried under white. Teddy recognises the shape of it. They go to the back door. Teddy keeps an eye on all the nearby windows. He carries a toolkit. It’s held close to his side. Bud carries the bags. Holds them close, too. They both stop at the back door, listen. They look at each other.
“I don’t hear anything,” Bud says.
“See, what’d I tell you? She’s gone to the party.”
Bud nods along. “Yeah, good.”
Teddy tries the handle, on the off-chance they’ll get as lucky with the door as they were with the gate, but it’s not to be. He’s not disappointed because he’s not surprised, but it was worth checking. He gets down on his knees, checks the style of lock, then opens up the toolkit. Pulls out a hammer and chisel. Before he sets to work he turns to Bud, looks up at him. They’ve been over this already, but sometimes it’s worth repeating things to Bud. He’s prone to forgetting the important details. “If there’s an alarm, forget the gifts. Straight upstairs, grab the jewellery. Got it?”
“Yeah man, I know, I know.”
“Uh-huh. I’m gonna hit this now – you keep a look out.”
Bud turns his back on Teddy, holds watch. Teddy places the chisel in the centre of the door handle, hits it hard with the hammer. The lock flies out the other side, hits the floor with a thud. The door opens. It’s not his first time.
They listen. There’s no alarm. Teddy pats Bud on the arm, squeezes his bicep. “Let’s move.”
They get inside. Teddy stays in the kitchen, checks drawers and cupboards and cookie jars for wallets, purses, change. Bud goes straight into the front room, checks the gifts. Shakes each box. Anything that sounds like jewellery, feels like it might be expensive, he tears it open, checks. Teddy doesn’t find anything in the kitchen, but as he heads through, on his way to the stairs to go up to the bedroom, he notices that Bud has come up with a Rolex, a pair of earrings, a necklace. He’s working fast. Teddy is impressed. It’s probably the nerves.
The lights on the Christmas tree are on. They twinkle. There are a couple of fake candles flickering on the fireplace. It all looks decidedly dim in contrast with the front of the house.
Teddy reaches the landing, checks the bedroom. Straight to the vanity table. He empties out the contents of the jewellery box, upends the necklace stand. Bud appears behind him in the doorway. “Reckon I got all the gifts worth anything,” he says.
Teddy shakes his bag. “Cindy sure has a lot of jewellery.”
“Anything good?”
“Well, I’ll say this for her, she’s never looked cheap.”
Bud goes to the built-in wardrobes, rummages. Pulls out a couple of suits, stuffs them into the bag. Teddy spots him.
“Fold them, Bud, fold them. They ain’t gonna be worth anythin if they’re all crumpled up and damaged.”
Bud looks confused. “I’ve never folded a suit before.”
Teddy narrows his eyes. The only time he’s ever had to wear a suit he was in court. “Well, just be gentle with em, okay? We’ll fold them after. Try not to crease them.”
“Sure.” Bud folds a suit in half – jacket and pants – and feeds it into the bag.
Teddy looks round the room. He checks under the bed. “We’re done here. Let’s go.”
They leave the house as quietly as they entered, checking the windows again before they crunch through the yard and back to the van. Bud carries both bags. He slides open the side door, puts them in. Doesn’t throw them, doesn’t want to make more noise than necessary. He grabs a new pair of plates. They have a change for after each house they plan to hit.
Teddy starts the van. Bud gets in, straps in, Teddy drives on. Takes his time, goes nice and slow, keeps in control of the steering wheel. Doesn’t want to skid, to sideswipe one of the parked cars and set off its alarm.
“D’you think they’re having a good time?” Bud says.
Teddy narrows his eyes. “What? Who?” Sometimes Bud comes out with non-sequiturs, and no matter how many times Teddy has berated him about this, it doesn’t stop him. Part of the reason being Bud doesn’t understand what a non-sequitur is.
“The people at the party. Do you think they’re enjoying themselves?”
Teddy shakes his head. Other than to acknowledge where they are, Teddy hasn’t given them a thought. “The fuck do I care?”

 

 

Standard

Stealing Christmas

My tenth book is now available! As you can probably guess from the title, it’s a Christmas themed crime novella to compliment my release last year of Christmas Stockings. I love Christmas, what can I say? I keep it up with these surprise releases and one day I’ll be known as the Sufjan Stevens of Christmas crime fiction.

Anyway, here’s the description of the new book, and below that is a link to the Amazon UK page to buy it directly:

‘Life has been tough on Teddy Norton and Bud Corrigan. A pair of lifelong best friends and perennial losers, they’ve never had anyone but each other, and they’ve never had more than they could scrape together. Now it’s Christmas, and they want more than they’ve been given.

Teddy’s good at breaking in. Bud’s good at lifting heavy things and doing what he’s told. They’ve got a list of houses they want to hit, of people they want to hurt the same way they’ve been hurt. They’re all at a party. Their homes are all empty…right?

Stealing Christmas takes the villains from Home Alone, makes them the heroes, then throws them in a blender with Of Mice And Men and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.’

 

Standard

Bad Bastards

So, a couple of things. Firstly, I have a website these days! If you wanna check it out, just visit:

http://www.paulheatley.com

It’s got links to all my books, and a couple of pictures of me looking moody in the woods. Cos, y’know, why not.

Secondly, I have a new book out! Bad Bastards is available right now from Fahrenheit 13, an imprint of Fahrenheit Press. If you wanna check that out, link below:

http://www.fahrenheit-press.com/books_bad_bastards.html

Bad Bastards is a noir love story, telling the tale of Patton and Tammy, and Tammy’s father who is a member of the eponymous Bad Bastards Motorcycle Club. It also includes a trailer park hitman, a militia, and a creepy best friend. There’s a lot going on in this one, but it remains fast-paced and brutal, just like the rest of my works. I’m gonna post the prologue and chapter one down the bottom of this post. But you know what else is cool? Fahrenheit made a t-shirt for it! Here it is:

BBMC_Unisex_360x

Doesn’t that look amazing? I’m so pleased with this. I have merchandise! Haha. If you’re interested in getting one for yourself (and be sure to check out the book, too!) you’ll be able to find the merchandise section on the Fahrenheit link I posted above. Anyway, as promised, here’s the prologue and chapter one of Bad Bastards.
Prologue
Be Prepared.
Be Quick.
Be Wary.
Harvey thinks, Fuck this shit.
Harvey thinks, if he’d known what a fucking clusterfucking fuck this whole thing would be, he’d’ve chased this kid soon as he’d laid eyes on him.
Be Prepared.
Be Quick.
Be Wary.
Shit, he remembers. I did chase this kid.
But he was persistent.
Harvey should’ve chased him further.
Now it’s too late.
Now what he’s got is one hell of a fucking mess to clean up.
Bullets.
Blood.
And a fuckload of bodies.
Be Prepared.
Be Quick.
Be Wary.

Chapter One
How it begins:
Patton is fucking a girl.
He knows he shouldn’t be fucking her, but he is.
He thinks he’s in love.
It’s a fool notion. He knows it, same as how he knows he shouldn’t be fucking her, shouldn’t be anywhere near her.
The girl’s name is Tammy Dawson.
Tammy Dawson is the most beautiful girl Patton’s ever seen.
She’s tall, almost as tall as he is, and most of her length can be attributed to her legs. They go on and on, from the tops of her thighs to the tips of her toes.
The rest of her is real swell, too. She’s tight-bodied, like a supermodel. Her hair is long, brown, straight, like a supermodel. She’s flat-chested, like a supermodel, but when he sucks on her pink rosebud nipples, feels them harden between his teeth, it doesn’t matter how big or small her breasts are.
They went to school together, but she’s a couple of years younger. She didn’t look then how she looks now. Kept herself covered up with thick jumpers and plaid skirts that went down past her knees, coke-bottle glasses that covered half her face and made her bug-eyed. Books clutched to her chest like she was trying to hide behind them. Always hiding. The clothes, disguising what was beneath, who she was.
Didn’t matter what she’d worn, though. People stayed away.
People knew who her father was.
Knew who he was with.
Knew the things he’d done.
Same way Patton knows it. Knows it right now, deep inside her, her long legs wrapped around him.
But, right now, deep inside her, her long legs wrapped around him, Tammy’s father is the furthest thing from his mind.
The first time they hooked up, he couldn’t shake Bobby Hodge’s bearded visage. Took him a long time to finish, in the back of his car. The sweat was dripping from him, from the tip of his nose, and running in rivulets down his back. It wasn’t solely the exertion that made him sweat. The constant looking over his shoulder, out the steamed windows, making sure Bobby Hodge wasn’t closing in like some all-knowing force of nature – the fear was making him sweat hard.
They’d met in the bar.
Tammy was dressed different.
Gone were the home-knit hand-me-down sweaters gifted from her grandmother. Gone were the too-long skirts that concealed the toned muscles in her thighs. Gone were those painfully thick granny-glasses.
Instead, she wore denim cut-offs that barely covered all of her ass, and a loose black vest that flashed her bra if she moved too quick. The glasses were gone completely.
She looked like what she was.
A biker’s daughter.
Or a biker’s old lady.
Patton hadn’t recognised her. When he voiced his surprise at her metamorphosis, she said she’d recognised him straight off. Said she remembered him.
Remembered him from school.
She’d always thought he was cute.
That surprised him, too. It wasn’t like he’d been popular, like he’d been on any sports team, like he’d been particularly noticeable. He’d kept to himself. A loner. He’d been as invisible as Tammy had tried to make herself.
So they talked. Then they went to his car, and they fucked.
After, they exchanged numbers. He didn’t expect her to call, but she did. They met up more. They fucked more.
Sometimes they didn’t fuck. They sat together. Lay together. Talked.
Patton fell in love.
Like a fucking idiot, he fell in love with Bobby Hodge’s daughter.
But now, now is one of the times they fuck.
Time has passed, so now Patton is relaxed. He’s at ease. His mind is concentrated solely upon Tammy, below him, around him, what he’s doing to her and what she’s doing to him. He’s not listening to anything beyond her breaths, beyond her gasps. He’s not listening to the house. He doesn’t hear the door open. Doesn’t hear the footfalls out in the corridor, getting closer.
They’re in her house. It’s a nice house, in a not-so-nice neighbourhood. No one bothers Tammy, though. Not the drug dealers or the crack heads. Her father’s name, the club he’s a part of, it still carries as much weight now as it did when they were in high school. More so. The drug dealers work for them. The crack heads rely on them. They won’t go near Tammy.
Whoever’s in the house, it’s not them. Tammy’s is the only house that has never been broken into.
Tammy’s house is under constant surveillance.
By the drug dealers.
By the crack heads.
And they report back to Bobby.
They tell him who comes and goes.
They especially tell him about the guy that keeps coming back. That stays the night.
Bobby is especially interested.
Bobby comes down the hallway. He isn’t trying to be quiet.
First Patton knows of it, there’re hands on his shoulders. They yank him up, drag him from the bed. He can smell sweat, and leather. He can feel the strength in those hands.
Then those hands throw him to the ground. Those hands are decorated with rings. Thick fucking rings. They do more damage than knuckles ever could. They tear up Patton’s face with every blow rained down.
At first, all Patton can think is, I’m naked. I’m getting my ass kicked, and I’m naked.
Then he hears Tammy, on the bed still. She’s screaming.
Then he realises it’s Bobby, the hands, the rings, they belong to Bobby, and he gets scared.
Really scared.
Those fists keep raining down, and he thinks he’s gonna die.
Bobby will kill him. Bobby won’t think twice.
Bobby’s killed men before. Everyone knows it. He’s been to prison for one of them. He got off on another on the grounds of self-defence, though everyone knows that’s bullshit. Same way everyone knows there’s a whole bunch of other corpses that’ve never been found.
That’s me.
They ain’t gonna find me.
Then the punching stops. There’s a boot gets driven into his ribs for good measure, and it’s over.
His head swims. He tastes blood. It’s in his eyes. He can’t open his eyes. They’re swollen shut. The whole of his face feels swollen, and it pulses, it throbs.
Tammy is screaming still, and then she’s not.
Something is said, shouted. Patton can’t tell by whom. It feels like he’s underwater. He can’t hear a thing.
Then those hands have him again, one of them tangles itself in his hair, and it drags him down the hallway. It feels like his scalp will tear from his skull.
And then he’s outside. The ground gets cold, and it’s kind of wet, and Patton remembers that he is still naked.
He feels warm breath on his face. It gets close to his ear, making sure he hears.
“You come back here, and I’ll kill ya.”
Then the door to the house is slammed shut.
Patton is out in the cold.

Standard

Guillotine

My new book Guillotine has been out in the world for just over a week now! As I’m sure you’ll agree from the photos below, it’s a damn good looking book! The cover was designed by prolific artist JT Lindroos, and the book itself has been published by All Due Respect and Down & Out Books, who published my previous work Fatboy.

Thus far it’s seen some comparisons to Quentin Tarantino and Patricia Highsmith, so naturally I’m very pleased with those. It’s also been called my most violent work so far. I’m certainly of the opinion it’s my darkest, I’m intrigued to hear what others think.

Here’s the worldwide link, click on this and it should take you to the appropriate Amazon site wherever you are in the world:

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B07N7MWGJY

Standard