Friday, 30 December 2011

NazilliVille: 100 for Harry

NazilliVille: 100 for Harry: There is now a Facebook page for 100 For Harry - Please come and show your support.!/groups/30235...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

California by Ray Banks

 Ray Banks has done it to me yet again. A straightforward linear tale. No intermingled plot lines. No unexpected surprises. Yet once again I felt totally compelled to finish this novella in one sitting.

Banks totally captivated my attention. Ask my opinion as a reviewer how does he do it? Buggered if I know! It's just top notch and totally immersive, addictive prose. The secret I think is in the voice. His characters come out of the page at you raging and frothing in Blu-Ray 3D HD and demand your attention.

California is the tale of one man's fight to keep his cool. Of course he fails at this spectacularly and yet he is provoked time and again. The logic Banks uses to justify his characters actions is irrefutable. Banks doesn't so much tell a story as he drags you along to experience the action. An absolutely first class read.

Download California HERE

Off The Record - A Charity Anthology edited by Luca Veste

 Luca Veste should be applauded for putting together such a huge charity project that encompasses thirty Eight writers from the USA and the UK. All profits are going to benefit two children’s literacy charities in the UK and the US. Check out the links below and show them your support:

There are not one but two Forewords. To represent the UK is Matt Hilton. To represent the US is Anthony Neil Smith.

Off The Record’s content is inspired by, as the name might suggest, classic song titles. There is every spectrum of music represented in fictional form including such classic songs as: Stairway To Heaven, Comfortably Numb, Light My Fire, Sheila Take A Bow, Free Bird, Venus In Furs, Life On Mars, Behind Blue Eyes. An eclectic range of choices if ever there was one. Thirty eight voices all putting their unique slant on these classics titles.

This review could be several thousand words long to be honest. Such a huge range of talent is represented. I’ll reign in my gushing enthusiasm and give you a few words about each tale.

Neil White’s Stairway to Heaven brings us a prisoner whose desperation and despair leads him to a fateful act. Col Bury’s Respect features a vigilante who the reader can’t help but root for. Steve Mosby’s God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters is beautifully told and deliciously melancholic and tells of a deep connection with the sea. Les Edgerton's Small Change made me smile with its interesting twist.

Heath Lowrance brings a violent and disturbing but intelligently told tale with I Wanna Be Your Dog. AJ Hayes writes his prose with the mindset of a poet his Light My Fire is no exception to this. Redemption Song by Sean Patrick Reardon gives you a lot of detail for the minimal work count afforded. A tale well told. Ian Ayris blends violence and thoughts of literature in they way only he can in Down In The Tube Station At Midnight.

Nick Triplow's A New England brings us stark social commentary and a humane act. Charlie Wade brings us humour with a violent edge in the Smiths inspired Sheila Take Bow. Iain Rowan's Purple Haze an adeptly told tale of some lads out of their depth on the wrong side of town was believably told. Thomas Pluck brings us Free Bird and outlines that sometimes you just have to do something regardless of the consequences.

Matthew C. Funk brings obsession and S&M to the table with Venus In Furs. R. Thomas Brown at his intelligent and thoughtful best brings us revenge in Dock Of The Bay. Chris Rhatigan doesn’t waste a single word in the intense Shadowboxer. In Roll Me Away by Patti Abbott brings us sadness and irony.

I Wanna Be Sedated by Chad Rohrbacher a haunting tale in every sense of the word. Court Merrigan brings Back In Black (A Hiram Van Story). A dark tale with a darker conclusion. Paul D. Brazil does what he does best and entertains in that way only he can. Humour and dark deeds mixed deliciously in the blender of his imagination. Nick Boldock master of the clever ending brings us Superstition a tale of one man fortunes.

Bye, Bye, Baby is Vic Watson’s excellently told melancholic tale. Blood On The Dancefloor by Benoit Lelievre is a dark tale of competition and perhaps also jealousy. American Pie by Ron Earl Philips was reflective and ultimately heart warming. Detroit Rock City by Chris La Tray has an expansive emotional feel to it. Exceptionally well drawn characters. Super Trouper by Nigel Bird zooms in to the minutiae then expands effortlessly to the big picture. Classic Nigel Bird.

Pete Sortwell's So Low, So High seemed to almost perfectly encapsulate the title. I greatly enjoyed Julie Morrigan's Behind Blue Eyes a good old fashioned gangster tale. David Barber with Paranoid takes the straw that broke the camels back and uses it to violent effect.  McDroll brings us Nights In White Satin and a tale of quiet despair, the kind of tale she does so well.

Be My Baby  “Killing For Company is by Cath Bore. Excellent descriptive writing and with a well constructed unexpected conclusion. California Dreamin’ by Eric Beetner feels so realistic you can almost feel the sun beating down upon you. A classic revenge tale. A Day In The Life “How Many Holes” by Steve Weddle a cautionary tale: Don’t mess with folk you don’t know. My own Karma Police is a Sci-fi tale. Good taste prevents me from reviewing my own work.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Simon Logan a  very stylish feel to it. One of my favourites. Luca Veste picks Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb for his selection. A gritty tale that also manages to encapsulate it’s title nicely. Nick Quantrill never disappoints and Death Or Glory is yet another strong well detailed tale from the Hull writer. Two Little Boys by Helen Fitzgerald gave me a good chuckle or two. A tale of an alternative therapy that is an accident waiting to happen. Ray Banks tells the tale of a worthless character who we feel no sympathy for. A tale with a most satisfying conclusion.

I could gush about this collection but then you’d get bored and I really only want to convey a simple message: Buy this book not only is it a great value uplifting read but it is for worthy causes. A fantastic mix of up and coming talent and some established names all of whom I am proud to feature along side. There really isn’t a bad story on it. Mr Veste should rename his blog which is called Guilty Conscience. His own conscience is clear he’s done sterling work here.

UK: Download Off The Record HERE
US: Download Off The Record HERE

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Deadland,USA-Mindless Consumerism-Vol. 1

Heath Lowrance brings us the first in a new zombie series – Deadland USA – Mindless Consumerism. The more I read by Lowrance the more I enjoy his writing. He writes in a strong, clear and distinctive voice.

I know from my own efforts that Zombie fiction is a cliché ridden minefield. One has to be original or at the very least interesting to stand out from the herd. Lowrance has opted to start with interesting in this ongoing serial. A cynical, wise cracking, street smart young man is voice of the narrative in the form of a journal. This allows Lowrance to talk to his audience and add a little black humour into the mix.

There's plenty of action in this opening episode. The dialogue is excellent and believable. I'd say this is an exceptional start to a series I'm going to enjoy reading.

Download Deadland Vol. 1 in the UK HERE

Download Deadland Vol. 1 in the US HERE

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Yes, we have lost our marbles! Our sanity has gone up in a flash of smoke. An offer so good it won’t be beaten.

If you purchase Nigel Bird’s critically acclaimed novella SMOKE which is on special offer at just 86p/$1.34 we will give away a PDF copy of my flash fiction collection absolutely FREE for nowt, zilch, nothing, gratis.
(This offer also works in reverse. If you purchase my own Flashes of Revenge I will send you a FREE PDF copy of Nigel's novella)

Offer ends 31/12/2011.

Here’s what some very talented people say about Nigel Bird’s Smoke:

So this is how it went for me last night. I went to bed thinking I'd make a start on Nigel Bird's brand new novella SMOKE and then hopefully manage to get some sleep in. Two hours later I was still reading. Feeling guilty that it was 3am I turned off the light, only to switch it back on at 4.30am to finish reading this superb tale about the high jinx that two young lads get up to in Tranent.”  - McDroll.

“Being familiar with Nigel Bird's bitter-sweet short-stories, I was fascinated to see how trying his hand at a longer piece would turn out. This novella is a little different from many of the aforementioned short-stories in that the writing voice is unashamedly Scottish. And brilliantly so. I think of all the UK short-story writers plying their trade at the moment, along with the inimitable Mr Paul D. Brazill, Bird is the one writer that has most successfully found a voice for the US market. That being so, I loved the fact he's returned to his Scottish roots for 'Smoke'.”  Ian Ayris.

“It's no secret for crime fiction fans that Nigel Bird is the real deal.

Smoke features all of his strengths -- complex characters, a well-constructed story and very fine writing. Working-class
comes to life here, from chip shop wars to dog fighting rings. Violence is a way of life for the characters in Smoke, which makes the moments of humanity all the richer.

Jimmy emerges as the most likable character. He's trying to rise above his disfigurement and the general s*** life he's had. I hope Bird continues to write about him.” –
Chris Rhatigan

Nigel Bird's debut novella, Smoke, is the story of a town, Tranent, and the rough edged characters that live there.

Smoke is a spin off from Bird's great story An Arm And A Leg-which was included in this year's Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime.

The main characters are Carlos, who actually lost an arm and a leg at the end of the aforementioned story and is hell bent on revenge, and Jimmy, a young kid with a good heart who has drawn the short straw in life. And they have a mutual hatred of the Ramsey brothers, who are making their fortune organizing dog fights.

Smoke is reminiscent of Allan Guthrie's Savage Night in the way it cleverly interweaves different strands of the story and its great mixture of colorful characters, absurdest humour and hard boiled crime.

It's a funny, gripping and moving book which left me desperate to read a follow up! Recommended.
Paul D. Brazill.

Download Smoke in the UK HERE
Download Smoke in the US HERE

Download Flashes of Revenge in the UK HERE
Download Flashes of Revenge in the US HERE

Monday, 19 December 2011

Gun by Ray Banks

 I like to discover new authors with as few preconceptions as possible. I don’t read up on them. I don’t read reviews. I just dive into the icy waters of a new writers imagination. However, everyone I know in the crime writing fraternity, which I am new to, raves about Ray Banks. Still I bided my time and read his novella Gun when I was good and ready.

On the face of it the plot was a simple one. A guy just out of prison wants to earn some cash without the drudgery of the 9 to 5. Who can blame him eh? He runs an errand for a dodgy character that he feels owes him a favour. Things pretty much go downhill for Richie from there on in.

The dialogue throughout the story is absolutely spot on. It is never overdone nor underdone. I have discovered a great secret. The most powerful adhesive in the world: Ray Banks. Try as I might I could not put down my kindle. It was stuck fast to my hand. I was absolutely captivated. Gun had realism, grit, wit, violence and given the tone of the story, surprisingly also hope. Yes you were right my crime writing friends Banks the master has sucked in another one.

Download Gun HERE

Saturday, 17 December 2011

13 Shots of Noir by Paul D. Brazill

Somewhere in a small dark room, possibly in an underground bunker, there is a man. This man studies, with an intelligent gaze, a bank of video screens. He sips slowly at polish vodka and watches. This man sees all human life. He sees parading before him a cast of serial killers, priests, kids with dogs, old curmudgeons and hen pecked husbands. When he’s done observing human life on special monitors he also sees vampires and werewolves. Occasionally he’ll push a button or scribble a line of text and like a master puppeteer he makes them all dance to his tune. He takes in all he sees and then drinks more vodka. When he has computed the results a little ticker tape spews from a console before him. He looks briefly at this and frowns unhappily.  He then turns it upside down, smiles and burns it with a zippo lighter. He switches off the screens and begins to write.

13 Shots of noir is a tonic akin to Lilly the pink's medicinal compound. If you are suffering from S.A.D you'll be G.L.A.D you downloaded this dark and witty chucklefest. Paul D. Brazill masters irony and makes telling a clever tale look easy. His use of misdirection is employed elegantly in one tail in particular. Paul has all the tools of the master storyteller at his disposal and he is not afraid to use them. You’ll find a bit of everything here including werewolf noir in the sublime Drunk On The Moon. A story that has spawned a hugely successful series. You’ll find the straw that broke the camels back in first story The Tut. A tale for all the married fellows out there.

The Ballad of the Kid is a very touching short tale that I enjoyed possibly even as much as Drunk On The Moon. Paul if you are reading this please make The Ballad Of The Kid into a novella or something. An incredibly powerful and emotional story. To me anyway.

The Friend Catcher had one of the best opening lines I’ve read in a very long time. A tale I greatly enjoyed and that craftily brought home a more powerful message than you might at first realise.

The pun Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder alone makes this collection worth buying. Paul’s work is always enjoyable and always a pleasurable read. There are even now folk on my morning bus that won’t sit near me for fear of small sudden explosions of random laughter as I read a kindle app on my phone and make them jump. Thank you Mr Brazill I now have plenty of space on the bus.

In my reviews I often make a big deal about Paul’s humour. However, there is much more to his stories than humour. PDB is not above a bit of crafty social commentary, why not discover that for yourselves whilst playing a Judas Priest record backwards?  13 Shots of Noir is a collection I am more than happy to give five enthusiastic stars to.

Download 13 Shots of Noir HERE

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Drunk On The Moon: It's A Curse (Story 7) by K.A. Laity

I had a fever. Cold sweat stood out on my forehead like molten lava. I shuddered involuntarily. A need to feast consumed every fibre of my being. My nerve endings coursed with need throbbing, pulsating, and yearning. My unholy desire must be quenched. My lust MUST be sated. My fingers jangled on the keyboard as with expert strokes I opened a screen and behold. There it was filling my screen craving my attention:
Drunk On The Moon by K.A. Laity.
Like any true addict I was only too happy to oblige. I clicked download with 1-Click and my need was fulfilled. All was well with the world.

K.A. Laity brings us a contender for my favourite of the Drunk On The Moon stories. I have read nothing by Laity prior to this and so I did not have any preconceived expectations. What she brought was an exceptionally strong voice to the character of Roman. There is less action in this episode than some of the others and yet I felt totally fulfilled with the story. Laity has done Paul D Brazill’s creation justice with this tale.  Snappy dialogue, great one liners and a larger role for Duffy all helped make this an episode I could really get my teeth into. I’m not going to define it any clearer than that, other than to say that Laity has tuned into Paul’s creation perfectly. It’ll be my pleasure to give this howling good read 5 silver tipped stars on Amazon.

Download Drunk On The Moon: It's A Curse HERE

That Damned Coyote Hill by Heath Lowrance

Ever since childhood I've been a fan of the westerns starring Clint Eastwood. They seemed less clichéd and the central character the mysterious "man with no name" was so much more interesting than some random good guy dressed in white.

So it is with That Damned Coyote Hill. Lowrance brings us an interesting and enigmatic lead character who is cast firmly in three dimensions. He uses strong descriptive writing and the weather perfectly to bring added atmosphere into the story. That Damned Coyote Hill might have been a fairly standard western revenge tale, however, by adding the supernatural element Heath gives the reader so much more value. An inspiring mix of genres that had me hankering for more.

A well spun tale in which the author avoided the usual pitfalls and kept up a great atmosphere throughout. You have a bit of everything action, strong characters, mood, and atmosphere. I look forward to reading more fiction by Heath Lowrance.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Kick It Again by McDroll

Another great collection of stories by McDroll. Some of the tales although very short managed to capture the imagination perfectly. The first story A Straight Game started off the collection playfully with a couple of humorous characters chewing the fat in a game shop. Things soon degenerate and the tale takes a violent turn for the worse.

No More Choices the second tale is bleaker, starker and tinged in gritty realism. Desperation this time is a motivating factor for a dark deed. The Return Journey is a reflective, haunting and cleverly executed tale that is perhaps my favourite of the collection. McDroll shows a real storyteller’s eye for detail and the backdrop for this story is harsh, stark and believeable.

In The Trip the tension builds surely throughout before reaching an explosive climax.
The use of descriptive language on occasion in this collection was breathtakingly effective. Here's an example from the final tale Unrest: Military helicopters hung overhead like bulky metal dragonflies glinting in the sun.

A very enjoyable 5 star read for lovers of short fiction.

Download Kick It Again HERE

Friday, 9 December 2011

Old Man Coyote by R.Thomas Brown

Old Man Coyote is the first in a series of stories by R.Thomas Brown. This series will explore ghost stories and folklore but in a modern setting. I found that Brown succeeded in giving the story an interesting fable like quality to it. A grandma frightens her grandson with stories about the charismatic old man across town. The stories couldn’t be true could they?

The author manages to captivate the reader with the fairy tale like feel of this story. Strong descriptive writing and good characterisation make this story stand out above the average. A great short read.

Download Old Man Coyote HERE

Thursday, 8 December 2011

11 The Hard Way by Graham Smith

This is Smith's debut collection and I have to say I am impressed. Short stories are difficult to write and getting the right ending can be particularly tough. However, this is where Graham excels in adding that twist or trick ending that really makes a story shine. Some of his endings are surprising whilst others are plain quirky but all are cleverly executed.

Another thing I enjoyed about this collection was the “voice” of some of the characters within the stories. This voice was very strong particularly in the first story Under The Cover of the Streets and stood out well also in Bobby’s Bar.

A quirky and interesting collection that contains all the necessary ingredients for an entertaining read. Smith gives us humour, wit and plenty of action. He manages to get a surprising amount of story within a few words. Some of his tales convey precise descriptive detail and a clear sense of irony such as Shooting Stars. Other stories like the Kansas Kindred Killer showed good deal of plot development for a such short story.

The only negative is that a couple of the stories have a plot kink or two that with closer editing could have easily been ironed out. A great value collection that I would recommend.

Download 11 The Hard Way HERE

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Heartbreaker by Julie Morrigan

Julie Morrigan is one of the most prolific indie writers out there. In the last year I have read two novels and two short story collections penned by Julie. The versatility and ease with which she switches between genres is enough to leave most writers green with envy.

I eagerly await each new release by Julie, as I am now a huge fan of her work. Some writers are natural storytellers and like an expert musician they make it look easier than it is. Julie is such a writer. She never wastes a word and never includes words that don’t belong. Her prose flows along at a great pace but is never rushed, always measured and considered.

Heartbreaker is Julie’s latest novel. I am a huge music fan so I was keen to see what Julie did with the fictional band Heartbreaker. When Alex Weston is hired to ghost write a book about lead singer Johnny Burns and his band she couldn’t predict what effects this would have on her own life. The story is told from the perspective of ghost writer Alex. The story is nicely layered with flashbacks to events in the bands past. These flashbacks help us build up a picture of the band. Believability is something Julie always gets right and you find her insights about the band to be totally credible. I could just as easily be reading about Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin.

If someone else had written this it might have been quite a sedate story. However, Julie always keeps her prose interesting with humour, heart and soul – the stuff of life. With any tangled web of a band there are always secrets and you can expect the same of Heartbreaker but I’m not about to give anything away. You will just have to read this excellent book for yourselves. If you like fictional rock biographies such as Espedair Street by Iain Banks then you will surely enjoy Heartbreaker.

Another triumph for Julie Morrigan the master storyteller who deserves to be a household name. A great five star read.