2016 Books: Round-Up

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.

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Exiles: An Outsider Anthology

exiles artizan

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.

Rogue: Tess Makovesky

Next Rogue up — why it’s Drag Noir star Tess Makovesky.

1. Who’s your Rogue?

It was time to take protection away from the protection racket. It was time to protect the victims from the Monk.” The hero in ‘Singing From the Same Sheet’ is nameless, faceless, part of the scenery. The people around him depend on him to help with their day to day woes, but barely notice him otherwise. He has a few surprises up his sleeve, though, particularly when it comes to an unpleasant local crime boss called The Monk. But just what does separate the good from the bad? Perhaps not as much as you might think…
2. What crime would you really want to get away with?

There are times, when the government is doing what governments do best, when a modern take on the Gunpowder Plot springs to mind…
3. What author can’t you do without?

Too many to mention since I’ll happily devour books by almost anyone if they capture my interest. However current favourites include Ann Cleeves, Peter May, Joanne Harris and Joanna Trollope. I love Cleeves’ invention of Vera Stanhope: she’s bossy, impatient, often rude, but warm-hearted and so true to life.
4. What movie best captures the criminal life?

Some of the low budget British films by the likes of BBC Films or Film Four are pretty good at that. Something like Mona Lisa, which perfectly sums up the pointlessness and tedium of a lot of crime, or The Bank Job, or for a more modern take on gang culture amongst the younger generation, My Brother the Devil.
5. Are you a criminal mastermind or just a mild-mannered dreamer?

I’m sure that in a past life Tess was an assassin who wore a slinky red dress, smoked cigarettes with the filter cut off, and hid stiletto blades in her stiletto heels. So, is that still the case? Well, I could tell you, but then I’d have to drown you in a vat of vodka…

Website: www.tessmakovesky.com

Blog: https://tessmakovesky.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tess.makovesky

Buy it at Amazon US or UK.

Out Now: Bonkers in Phoenix

Rogue Bonkers in Phoenix

Get your Rogue on! Yes, the hard-hitting anthology of 22 killer tales is out now from Near to the Knuckle. Watch the trailer and check out the list of names included —

You find yourself on the wrong side of town. It’s late and your only option is to walk down a narrow pitch-black alley. Your heart is pounding. You’re sure that you can hear footsteps, but there’s no one in sight. The sound of soft feet approaching, is getting ever closer. You start to break into a jog. There’s a light at the end of the alley but suddenly a figure steps from the shadows. He is smartly dressed and smiling and yet you have a bad feeling about this. He reaches into his pocket…

Rogue the second anthology from the Near to the Knuckle website brings you a whole host of talent all bringing you their best stories featuring Rogues. This anthology was brought to you by this list of Rogues:
Gareth Spark, Tess Makovesky, Gabriel Valjan, Craig Furchtenicht, Paul Brazill, Richard Godwin, Aidan Thorn, Gary Duncan, Dave Jaggers, Walter Conley, Cal Marcius, T Maxim Simmler, Mark Cooper, Bill Baber, Robert Cowan, Ryan Bracha, Matt Mattila, Graham Wynd, Benedict J Jones, Liam Sweeny, Alan Griffiths and Keith Nixon

Buy it at Amazon US or UK. Listen to the Fall song that inspired my story.

Coming Soon: Bonkers in Phoenix

Rogue Bonkers in PhoenixI’m joining the illustrious gang of miscreants involved in the new anthology ROGUE from Near to the Knuckle. It includes many luminaries like my pal Paul D. Brazill, Tess Makovesky, Gareth Spark, Aidan Thorn and others. Check out the page for more name-dropping. As the title suggests, I have two wild rogues who go a bit off the deep end in the desert.

I’ve had a couple of stories appear at the site (Don’t Call Me Darling and Just Waiting) so I’m chuffed to be in the anthology. And yes, a trifecta of Fall song titles. May the gods bless Mark E. Smith.