Messy Business – Books, Writing, Stuff

Books and books and books …

“I loved this fucking book.” – David Nemeth, Unlawful Acts

“Psychologically complex.”

“This book has some serious grip.” – David S. Atkinson

“They’re barely in their teens, but already they’re streetwise, courageous and honourable, qualities that are tested to the nerve-wracking limit in this gritty coming-of-age tale from a master of description. Compelling reading.” – Brendan Gisby, author of The Bookie’s Runner

“A special book.” – Aidan Thorn, author of Rival Sons

“An excellent slow burn novel.” – Keith Nixon, author of the Solomon Kane and Konstantin series.

“Jason Beech’s City of Forts masterfully blends urban noir with coming of age drama. Tense, atmospheric, and haunting.” – Paul D. Brazill, author of Too Many Cooks and A Case of Noir

“Beech writes in attention-grabbing, visceral prose…” – J. Salem

“This was a fast-paced action adventure. It kept me on my toes and turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. Very good read!” – Latisha Austin

Never Go Back is worth your time. Especially if you like watching people suffer …” – Aurelia Pitchstone

“Beech has an almost preternatural insight into his characters’ psychology, personalities, and motivations, and combined with his quirky, addictive style, Never Go Back keeps the reader not only turning pages, but sweating bullets along with Barlow.” – Joanne M. Reinbold, author of Missing


Image: Disc Shot Assassination Attempt by Mysticsartdesign

Featured post

Slow Bear by Anthony Neil Smith

Anthony Neil Smith’s Slow Bear is a funny animal. The protagonist is a one-armed Native American who was a cop on the rez, but is now poor as muck and idling away the hours at a casino where he enjoys time with employee, Kylie, and talking his way into trouble.

When he shoots someone in a panic because he made a threat to bring him down, this book turns into a rollercoaster of set-ups and mad, bad decisions.

It’s funny in the sense that Micah ‘Slow Bear’ Cross knows how crap he is, but he’ll still punch his way through an equally crappy situation until he reaches peak crapness and finally sees triumph. It’s not a triumph of overcoming the odds and beating his enemies, but one of self-realisation in that he can do better, that he has another person to live for – Kylie, who’s been kidnapped by sex traffickers. I loved that ending, though the plot is pretty open-ended.

It has an atmosphere slick with oil and gas, characters as dirty, has a driven rhythm, and I enjoyed it a lot.

You can buy Slow Bear from Fahrenheit Press, Amazons UK and US, and other retailers.

Stuff I Added to the TBR List – 1 June 2020

No words, just images.

A Small Sacrifice by Dana King

Dana King’s A Small Sacrifice is an entertaining and smart private dick novel. Nick Forte gets into a case all about clearing a woman’s son from the murder of his child, which quickly escalates into attempts on his life as he realises this thing reaches deeper into Chicago’s underbelly than at first glance.

The plot is intricate, smart, and well played. The violence is short and sharp, and spare. King doesn’t dwell on the kid’s murder, but at the book’s end, there’s some graphic bloodletting. The book’s core is the mystery, the process, his internal monologue and the wrestle of his conscience about what he must do to stay alive in the mess he’s trod in. And that is where it sings. The action is fun when it happens but it’s definitely the second act to the chit-chat and finding his moral compass.

Good fun.

You can buy A Small Sacrifice at Amazons US and UK.

“I fucking love this book” – David Nemeth, Unlawful Acts, on Never Go Back.

Stuff Added to the TBR List This Week

No words. Just images.

Buy Never Go Back

Nightmare Asylum and Other Deadly Delights by Sonia Kilvington

Sonia Kilvington’s Nightmare Asylum and Other Deadly Delights (Close to the Bone publishing) is a creepy beast of a book – all short stories, some flash length, every one of them delving deeeeeep into the characters’ psyches. And what dark, twisted and sometimes sad minds they are. Kilvington has really dug into motivation, though sometimes I’m not sure it’s motivation but some trauma which carries characters onto the rocks against any wishes they ever had.

That sense of uncertainty pulls and pushes until disaster strikes. Even when it turns out for the best, there’s that restlessness which means the character can’t quaff a nifty glass of champagne and enjoy the rest of their lives. They’ve got a shoulder to constantly look over to see what else is on their tail.

It’s unsettling. I’m not the fastest reader, but this book slowed me down more than usual. I had to put it down for a couple of days because you have to shake the cold from your spine before you start again. For example, Winter Baby. Told in a way that the loss of the character’s baby doesn’t just make you feel sympathy, it settles in your bones as if the loss is yours. The transition from family bliss to the rotten collapse of your world, where you’re forgotten along with the child, is something that I know will pop into my mind any moment in the future, and I’d guess the same for anyone whether you have kids or not. Beautiful and vile at the same time.

Cry Baby further explores the strangeness of some men, here a mother’s boy who pines for his mum so much that he’s triggered by Sylvie, a woman he sees in a bar wearing the kind of dress his parent wore when in his formative years. He sizes the woman up, calculates his plan, and then preys on her weakness, but his obsession is not quite what you’d feared, though it’s totally off-the-wall. Crackers, and totally, weirdly entertaining. Strange men wanting a sense of control from uncontrollable females runs through a lot of the book. Soulmate, though more straightforward than Cry Baby is still wary of the man with a crooked view of women. In this one, the protagonist’s computer is hacked when an online lover she’s never physically met becomes mad that she didn’t answer her quickly enough. What follows is a dash to save her job, her savings, and her life.

The finest example of the rogue male is Perfect Love, about a male robot programmed to love. The droid gains a semblance of sentience, but his programming is strong (coded by a male?) and when the love of his owner doesn’t match his concept of the emotion you can imagine how pear-shaped it all goes. Reminded me of that strange film, Ex Machina (Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander), but instead of the female robot wanting to escape, here the male robot wants to latch onto its love, with overbearing consequences.

It’s not all dodgy fellas. There’s sibling jealousy, horrible women, and a whole bunch of Gothic madness to set you up for a cracking read. Good stuff.

You can buy Nightmare Asylum … from Amazons US and UK.

You can find Sonia at her blog, Sonia Kilvington, Writer.

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