Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stories for Sunday: Paul D. Brazill and Sandra Seamans

Sorry for the absence here on Pulp Serenade – tried to take a little vacation, but even up in Maine the work caught up with me. Back in New York, trying to catch up with everything, in particular blog land. So, for my return post, here are a couple of stories that both share the same bitter sentiment:

Ain’t memory a bitch?

Over at Blink Ink Paul D. Brazill exhibits another example of his distinctive brand of compact noir with "Cold Night in Hell". No one else writes them this short, this dark, and this good. Head over there now and check it out.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned Sandra Seamans’ “Survival Instincts”, an edgy thriller about a young girl hiding from a gang of ruthless killers. This week, she’s back with another stellar story over at Beat to a Pulp that shows her versatility. “Midnight Showdown” is a Western, but don’t expect any grand desert landscapes or fertile plains, as Seamans supplants these with the foreboding shadows of noir. When sheriff Tom Gage steps out of the saloon for his nightly rounds, the last person he expects to see is Frank Martin, a man from his past that Tom thought he had put behind him.

Funny how the past has a way of sneaking up on you. And always at the least opportune moments.

“Midnight Showdown” shows Seamans’ excellent skill at compression. She packs two lifetimes of unspoken conflict and repressed confrontation into this single moment, when both men finally confront the truths about each other and themselves.

"They faced each other, both men easing the folds of their coats behind their gun butts. Blood brothers, bitter enemies. The rain broke as their pistols flashed in the night."

Read Sandra Seamans' "Midnight Showdown" here at Beat to a Pulp.


  1. Thanks again Cullen.Haven't read Sandra's story yet but I really look forward to it.

  2. Read Paul's story a while back and it gave me chills. Great read from a great writer. Love the 'compact noir' title. He's definitely lived up to it with the slew of shorts he's written. Also read Sandra's story on Pulp Pusher. With her, you kind of expect great writing, but I think with each new story she surpasses expectations. Stellar stories from two stellar writers. Thanks for bringing them into the spotlight. Now I'm off for some beat-down at Beat to a Pulp where I hear a Midnight Showdown is going down.

  3. What a great review! I think Sandra has done an excellent job and you have really captured the analysis of what makes a simple story rise to excellence. It's all about the human relationships and what we can identify within ourselves. Thanks for your excellent, clear commentary.

  4. Fine recommendations, Cullen.
    Much obliged.


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