Category Archives: recommended reads

Recommended Read: Histories Of The Dead by Math Bird

histories of the dead‘History’s never written by the dead.’

Math Bird’s Histories Of The Dead is a brutal and brilliant short story collection that is bookended by two truly powerful short stories- ‘Histories Of The Dead’ and ‘Billy Star.’

The rest of the stories in the collection are just as well-written, moving and compelling. These are evocative stories of hard men and women living hard lives and Bird proves himself to be a master storyteller throughout.

Highly recommended.

Recommended Read: A Mint Condition Corpse by Duncan MacMaster

a mint condition corpseComic book artist, part-time sleuth and multi-millionare Kirby Baxter arrives at a Canadian comic book convention intending to catch up with old friends but he is very quickly caught up in a murder investigation.

Duncan MacMaster’s A Mint Condition Corpse is a joy. Fast-moving, funny and choc-full of great characters, observations and dialogue.

Highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Untethered by John Bowie


John, the protagonist of Untethered, is a man with a dark and secret past who is living a new life under witness protection.  As he sits alone in his flat, drinking and writing in his journal, John becomes embroiled in the search for a missing neighbour.

John Bowie’s ’90s set Untethered is a violent and inense read. Lyrical, moody, funny and as gritty as hell, Untethered is like a British blend of Jim Thompson and Nelson Algren.

Recommended Read: Down Among The Dead by Gary M. Dobbs

29681110_10155479695237883_1833152320_oIn war torn Britain, Chief Inspector Frank Parade is sent to investigate the suspicious deaths of a man and woman whose corpses have been found in a small Welsh mining village.

Gary M. Dobbs’ Down Among The Dead is a gripping historical police procedural with a great sense of time and place.

A terrific read.

Recommended Read: Snuff Racket by Tom Leins

snuff racket

Hapless Paignton PI Joe Rey is hot on the trail of a rare and much sought after ’70s Giallo video film when he is quickly dragged down into a whirlpool of violence and sleaze.

Tom Leins’ Snuff Racket is even better than his debut Skull Meat. There’s blood, guts, cracking one-liners and a hell of a lot of dark humour here.

Oh, and as the man said, Snuff Racket really is not for those of a sensitive disposition.

Recommended Read: Monday’s Meal by Les Edgerton

MONDAY'S MEAL COVER FOR EBOOK VERSIONWho makes the best beer in the world? Maybe the Czechs or Belgians.

But when it comes to short stories, well, the American’s pretty much rule the roost, they really do. Flannery O’ Connor, Raymond Carver, Dorothy Parker, Charles Bukowski, Richard Ford,  Kyle Minor. Loads and loads more.

And you can add Les Edgerton to that list, of course.

Monday’s Meal by Les Edgerton was first published in 1997 and contains twenty-one tales of dirt realism. Sharp slices of American life. They’re set in New Orleans and Texas. Sometimes in bars or behind bars. They’re about café owners, hairdressers, nightclub musicians, prisoners, ex-cons, drifters and drinkers.

Monday’s Meal opens and closes with ‘Blue Skies’ and ‘Monday’s Meal,’ tales of strained relationships. But the real meat is sandwiched between them. And Monday’s Meal  is a particularly  meaty collection.

Some favourites: ‘The Mockingbird Café’ is the story of a man in a low-rent bar trying to mind his own business; ‘Hard Times’ is bleak and scary and brilliantly written; ‘The Last Fan’ is a tragic look at a shattered marriage; ‘My Idea Of A Nice Thing’ is a touching and sad story of an alcoholic’s  crumbling life;’Telemarketing,’ is the story of a young couple just trying to get by; ‘I Shoulda Seen a Credit Arranger,’ is a fun Runyonesque crime story.

And there’s plenty more to enjoy in Monday’s Meal. Edgerton has a strong and sure grasp of the lives of people who are standing on the edge of a precipice.

The eBook of Monday’s Meal is to be published by the splendid Down and Out Books. It’s currently being offered as a prepub sale. It goes on regular sale on April 23.

Recommended Read: When The Music’s Over by Aidan Thorn

when the music's over

Revenge is bittersweet for failed musician Benny Gower.

Gower murders Birmingham drug-dealer Harry Weir and goes on the run.

Retired enforcer Wynn McDonald is reluctantly sent to track down Gower.

What ensues is a lethal cocktail of hardboiled crime fiction as well as a touching study of regret and disappointment. The action is brutal, the characters are vividly drawn, the pacing is gripping.

Aidan Thorn’s When The Music’s Over is a powerful slice of Brit Grit crime fiction that is highly recommended.

Recommended Read: Spalding’s Groove by Richard Prosch

Spalding’s Groove contains two short stories that act as a kind of side order to Richard Spalding's GrooveProsch‘s cracking debut crime novel Answer Death.

The first story is Spalding’s Groove which kicks off when a has-been TV star comes into Dan Spalding’s shop to sell some records.

The second story is Cinderalla Makes Good and tells the tale of a man whose brother has died in a car accident. Both stories are very well- written and great fun.


Recommended Read: Answer Death by Richard Prosch

answer_death_promoDan Spalding is an ex-cop who runs a second-hand record shop. One morning, he chases a shoplifter and soon finds himself embroiled in murder  and more.

Answer Death is the first in Richard Prosch’s new crime fiction series and it really is marvelous stuff.

Fast moving, fun and full of sharp twists and turns, Answer Death is like a cool breeze.


Recommended Read: Slaughterhouse Blues by Nick Kolakowski

slaugherhouse bluesFiona and Bill – the stars of Kolakowski’s cracking debut A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Sapsare  lovers on the lam  from New York gangsters The Rockaway Mob. Bill is hiding out in Havana and Fiona is taking a job in Nicuragura when they are tracked down. Mayhem and violence quickly ensue.

Like A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps, Slaughterhouse Blues is jam packed with high-octane action, gaudy characters, witty dialogue and enough sharp twists and turns to give you whiplash. Five hardboiled stars.

Recommended Read: Down To No Good by Earl Javorsky

down to no good.In Earl Javorsky‘s first Charlie Miner novel – Down Solo– the private eye discovered that he’d been killed but – for reasons unknown to him –  had come back to life. In Down To No Good, Charlie attempts to come to terms with this situation, as well as deal with the various other problems in his life.

Charlie also agrees to help Dave Putnam- his booze soaked Homicide Detective pal- investigate a flamboyant psychic who had helped the Los Angeles police in the past.

Down To No Good is a fast-moving and funny crime fiction thriller that is full of great characters and sharp satirical asides. The supernatural elements don’t detracting from this cracking yarn but give it a distinctive flavour all of it’s own.

If you enjoyed Down Solo then you’ll certainly love Down To No Good. Highly recommended.

Recommended Read: May by Marietta Miles

MayMarietta Miles’ May takes place on Folly Island in the 1980s and in Shreveport, Louisiana  during the 1970s.  There’s a storm coming  to Folly Island and May Cosby is just hoping to survive it, and any other disaster that might befall her.

In the course of this tense and claustrophobic book we find out a lot about May and the people she encountered over the years.  As well as as moving backwards and forwards in time to tell May’s story, Miles also gives us a look at the POVs of a couple of the book’s supporting cast; the hapless Tommy and  the vicious John Karl Jr. And we see how they impact on May’s life.

Marietta Miles once again proves herself to be one of the best noir writers working today.  May is a brutal, brittle and brilliant gem.

Recommended Read: Stasi Child by David Young

stasi childIt’s 1975 and a teenage girl’s mutilated corpse is found near the Berlin Wall. Oberleutnant Karin Müller of The People’s Police is told that she has to work alongisde The Stasi to find out the dead gir’s identity.

David Young’s Stasi Child kicked off his hugely successful series of crime thriller books and it’s easy to see why the books have been so popular. Stasi Child is a hugely enjoyable blend of police procedural, cold war thriller and high octane action. A whip-crack of a read.