Follow the Money 1, Tess 0

After my somewhat critical review of Follow the Money season three in Punk Noir magazine the other day, I’m left eating my rather stylish hat.

Because no sooner was the ink dry on my blog post than I came across this little piece on the BBC News website, which could have been lifted word for word from the Follow the Money script.

In this case, the Metropolitan Police, HM Revenue & Customs, and the Financial Conduct Authority are joining forces to investigate Bureaux de Change and currency transfer businesses in London that are suspected of laundering money made through the illegal drugs trade. Almost exactly the model young punk Nicky was aiming to set up in Copenhagen in Follow the Money.

It’s probably pure coincidence, but I can’t help wondering if someone high up in one of those organisations watched the series and said ‘hey, guys, what if that’s happening here?’. Either that, or the writers at Follow the Money use the occasional crystal ball.

Either way, the storyline was obviously hugely well-researched and relevant to today’s criminal enterprises. I’m impressed with the authenticity, but I still think it would have made even better drama if the series had focussed on the crime rather than the various characters’ personal lives. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? Anything to save having to eat that hat…

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When Follow the Money stops following the money…

ftm3-credit-drWhat happens when Scandi-noir TV drama Follow the Money stops doing what it does best?

That’s a question I asked myself throughout the third season, shown recently here in the UK on BBC4. It took me a while to sort through my reactions, but I scribbled down a few thoughts and Paul Brazill has kindly published them at Punk Noir magazine.

Have a shuftie and see whether you agree with me – or not! I’ll be interested to find out.

Edited to add: for some reason that official poster makes the three leads look like vampires! But I can assure you it didn’t go that far off-piste…

Black, white or shades of grey?

Fellow crime writer and aficionado Margot Kinberg read my review of Brotherhood at Punk Noir magazine the other day and it set her thinking. In particular, the bit where I mention my theory that US drama tends to be morally ‘cut and dried’, whereas the British equivalent is more ambivalent.

I’m the first to admit that the statement is a. only my opinion and b. a shocking generalisation! It’s also probably more appropriate to film and TV than to books, which tend to have more space to develop their characters and plot lines. But Margot has brought her encyclopaedic knowledge of crime writing to bear on the subject, and come up with an excellently-researched blog post of her own, liberally illustrated with examples.

It makes for fascinating reading, and is much more well argued than my original blog post ever was. So do go and see what she has to say on the whole subject, and whether she agrees with me or not (I’m taking the fifth on that one, but it seems to have generated some healthy debate). I’m delighted that my wafflings sparked her, er, little grey cells into action.

What price brotherhood?

brotherhoodThose nice folks at Punk Noir magazine have reprinted my review of the TV series Brotherhood, which I originally posted on here last year.

If you missed it first time round and want to see what I liked (quite a bit, actually!) about this raw, gritty US crime drama based on the real-life figures of gangster Whitey Bulger and his politician brother, then head over to Punk Noir now. And while you’re there, take time to have a good poke round, because the zine is full to bursting with Good Stuff (TM) – fiction, poetry, news, reviews and book recommendations, all with a noir-ish theme.

That Voodoo That You Do

AR-180318931What do Blazing Saddles, Voodoo and knitting needles have in common? Quick answer – they all feature in my latest short story, which is currently darkening the pages of Punk Noir magazine.

‘That Voodoo That You Do’ is a tongue in cheek earlier episode or ‘missing scene’ from ‘Gravy Train’ which might help to explain some of the antagonism between Ballsy McBollockface and the unfortunate Bradley. It was inspired (if that’s the right word) by the wonderful Hedy Lamarr remark in Blazing Saddles, and by a rather left-of-field conversation I recently had with my Other Half.

You can find the story at Punk Noir magazine now. I hope you like it, and that it’ll whet your appetite for more of the same humour in the rest of the novel, which is due out in less than two weeks’ time. And that it won’t put you off watching such a classic film ever again.