I’m woefully behind on reviews, having more or less come to the conclusion that I will never catch up and therefore must stop agreeing to try. Here are a few in brief that I can’t help mentioning.
IT’S ALL TRUE (ALTHOUGH IT MAY NOT HAVE HAPPENED): Bratkovič has a collection of stories that offers a noir take with a lot of mordant humour. His protagonists usually manage to cock things up through their best efforts to succeed and by wanting more than their abilities can produce. My favourite is probably ‘The Tribe’ in which a messianic leader wreaks havoc in a mental institution. ‘The Tie’ and ‘The Bicycle Thieves’ make the most of the blackest of black humour. Check it out.
BUFFALO AND SOUR MASH: Richard Godwin, known best for his sleek and sexy thrillers tries something new here: a Western! Well, sort of a western because the rodeo comes to Surrey. Now if that doesn’t already intrigue you, there’s also his usual mix of psychotic violence and sexual obsession as well. Murphy has a single-minded plan to bring the rodeo to the UK until he finds a new obsession to get racy Rhona to be its star — but Rhonda has plans of her own. If you like Godwin’s style, you’ll be intrigued by his appropriation of the western.
DARK MINDS: I’m only a few stories into this collection but I wholeheartedly recommend it. Solid quality and a good cause: All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to Hospice UK and Sophie’s Appeal. There are forty authors here, some the top of the field, many are exciting newcomers (and yeah, folks I know but then I only hang out with quality). In hard times we turn to crime: at least keep it fictional, right? Because we have enough crime to deal with in the government 😉
RAISE THE BLADE: Tess had a fab story in an anthology I edited so I was really pleased to see her publish a novella with Caffeine Nights. Then I decided to save it up for when I could savour it — and forgot! So I’ve cracked it open and it’s just as terrific as I knew it would be. In fact it’s been hard to tear myself away from it to do the things I need to be doing, but I highly recommend it. Tess has a great style that’s deceptively easy-going until WHAM! Pick this up.
The all new version of Exiles: An Outsider Anthology – now published by Artizan– is out now!
A powerful short story collection was edited by the Bukowski of Noir, Paul D. Brazill. Exiles features 26 outsiders-themed stories by some of the greatest crime and noir writers, K. A. Laity, Chris Rhatigan, Steven Porter, Patti Abbott, Ryan Sayles, Gareth Spark, Pamila Payne, Paul D. Brazill, Jason Michel, Carrie Clevenger, David Malcolm, Nick Sweeney, Sonia Kilvington, Rob Brunet, James A. Newman, Tess Makovesky, Chris Leek, McDroll, Renato Bratkovič, Walter Conley, Marietta Miles, Aidan Thorn, Benjamin Sobieck, Graham Wynd, Richard Godwin, Colin Graham, and an introduction by Heath Lowrance.
Grab it from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and every other Amazon.
Number 13 Press
There’s a reason people refer to Godwin as The Dark Lord. He loves to explore the depth of depravity in the modern world. This novella from our shared publisher Number 13 Press might be a little lighter on gore than some of his more brutal books but it makes up for it with paranoia and sexuality. There’s the blackest of black humour here too, especially in the names like protagonist Samuel Verso (the medieval terminology for the sides of a sheet of parchment are recto and verso).
Verso is a publisher and the nexus of a web of problems. His best selling author has disappeared, his partner demands they move into ebooks, his wife is so far beyond anorexia that she lusts for having her limbs removed — and he suspects that he’s being followed, but by whom?
Everybody has a fetish: for his wife Phyllis it was ‘something inside her that was trying to emerge into day…she could only find when the cutting began’; for his partner Belinda it was the desire to see desire in every person she met; for Samuel it is books. Part of the reason he resists the move to ebooks is not only his growing paranoia about code taking over the world but a genuine desire for the book itself. His lover Maxine feeds this fetish: ‘She read from the novel and Samuel recalled publishing it. He could smell the print rising from her hand as he fondled her breasts.’ As she tells him later, ‘I read to you to turn you into a man.’
But even Maxine cannot save Samuel from his growing fears that somehow Fontana Rate, ‘the ever elusive bestseller who despised commercial fiction’ and the men who are following him — maybe? Is it all a delusion? As he asks at one point, ‘Is this some elaborate plan to make me realise my resistance to e-books is old fashioned?’ Or are the serial killers, government agents and tutu-ed libertines real? There are a lot of twists and turns along the way and you’ll find yourself reading faster and faster to figure out what happens. But you’ll probably guess wrong.
Check out all the 13ers at Number 13 Press — it’s Friday the 13th after all!
Yes, you can get the brand-spanking-new edition of Drunk on the Moon: A Roman Dalton Anthology for FREE! Thanks to Mr Brit Grit himself, Paul D Brazill, who created the werewolf detective and the crazy City he prowls. Take a gander at the contents:
Drunk On The Moon by Paul D Brazill
The Darke Affair by Allan Leverone
It’s a Curse by K A Laity
Insatiable by B R Stateham
Fear the Night by Julia Madeleine
Back to Nature by Jason Michel
Getting High on Daisy by Richard Godwin
Silver Tears by John Donald Carlucci
A Fire in the Blood by Katherine Tomlinson
Broken Bicycles by Graham Wynd
Yep, that’s right, I’ve got a story in this new edition where I get to take Mr B’s world for a little spin. You can make out like Ton Ton Philippe and snatch it up for free but you better act fast. Click the cover above to buy or just here.
WRONG CROWD by Richard Godwin
Claude meets Maxine knee-deep in the Caribbean and knows he’d do anything to make her his: anything. But keeping her means raising the stakes: cash, guns, gangsters and a return to his bad old habits. Will there be enough of him left to keep her by the time he’s through? Godwin makes Wrong Crowd lethally sexy—which makes this story just right.
The Neon Moon
A Roman Dalton Anthology
Ed. Paul D. Brazill
Another fistful of fun from Blackwitch Press. A bunch of terrific writers run away with Paul D. Brazill‘s werewolf detective Roman Dalton and the dark madness of The City. Matt Hilton brings ‘Booze and Ooze’ while Vincent Zandri takes on ‘Full Moonlight’. ‘Chances Are’ you’ll enjoy Carrie Clevenger’s fresh take on the old cop tale. Ponzi schemes from JJ Toner, darkness from Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw and wild times from Chris Rhatigan, Ben Sobieck and Ben Lelièvre. The lad himself rounds out the collection with ‘The Brain Salad Murders.’ Spend a night with the werewolf detective and you’ll never be the same again — and who’d want to be?
The next rogue up is a familiar one: Mr Glamour himself, Richard Godwin.
1. Who’s your Rogue?
Doing Prince is full of rogues: Mandy, the female protagonist is an art thief and a stripper who gets mixed up with gangster Gary and a man in tight shorts called Nelson as well as the gangster’s wife, Lucy who swings both ways. It’s a predatory world in which Gary, who thinks he is Prince, hires Mandy to steal a painting by Cecily Brown, Sweetie. When she nicks an Emin by mistake she realises she is part of a set up and Gary wants her to strip to Prince’s song Cream for him, but Mandy has other ideas.
2. What crime would you really want to get away with?
The theft of a Caravaggio. [Ooh, good one!]
3. What author can’t you do without?
Among the living, James Lee Burke.
4. What movie best captures the criminal life?
No Country For Old Men. Of course it captures a lot more than that.
5. Are you a criminal mastermind or just a mild-mannered dreamer?
As Gary says to Mandy,
‘You’ve disappointed me, so you can do a little strip for me, you could even work at one of my clubs. Nelson said what you got between your legs looks like a sliced peach, have you ever seen his kitchen?’
Buy it at Amazon US or UK.