Tuesday, 25 April 2017

FEBRUARY 2017 - READING LIST AND PICK OF THE MONTH

11 books read in January - now 11 books read in February - WTF! Let's hope I can retain my reading mojo for the rest of the year.

They were...

John Murray (with Sharon Murray and Abby Jones) - Code Name: Papa (2015) (2)

Larry D. Sweazy - Where I Can See You (2017) (4.5)

Mick Herron - Dead Lions (2013) (4)

Patrick E. McLean - The Lucky Dime (2017) (4.5)

Georges Simenon - Maigret's Dead Man (1948) (4.5)

Thomas Pluck - Get Plucked: 13 Twisted Tales (2015) (3)

Joe R. Lansdale - The Steel Valentine (1991) (4)

Daniel Vlasaty - A New and Different Kind of Pain (2017) (4.5)

Frank Westworth - Third Person (2014) (4)

Larry Fondation - Common Criminals: LA Crime Stories (2003) (3)

Todd Luchik - The Children of the Transmission (2015) (2)

Book of the month - no 5 STAR read, but a few that ran close - all 4.5 STARS ......Larry D. Sweazy, Daniel Vlasaty, Georges Simenon and Patrick E. McLean - on balance The Lucky Dime - a short story from McLean gets the nod
Book of the month!







So 4 rated 4.5 STARS,

3 rated 4 STARS, a Joe R. Lansdale short, a Frank Westworth Stoner short and a Mick Herron - Slough House novel.

2  a 3 STARS - Larry Fondation and Thomas Pluck - both short story collections.

and a couple of 2 STAR disappointments - Todd Luchik with a short story that I didn't get and a co-authored bit of non-fiction nonsense that nearly bored me to tears - Code Name: Papa from John Murray and cohorts.

More useless trivia......

11 different authors.

5 of the 11 were new-to-me authors........simple maths tells me 6 authors have been enjoyed before.  . I'd be interested in reading more from most of them in the future.

I'm definitely done with John Murray.

Mick Herron - I'd read his shopping list.

Joe R. Lansdale - I probably have his shopping list on my shelves already.

Patrick E. McLean has his full novel out 1st May - The Soak, which I will probably get.

I've loved 3 books already from Larry D. Sweazy and have a fourth to get to - A Thousand Falling Crows.

Larry Fondation, Frank Westworth and Georges Simenon - I have more sitting on the Kindle and the library tubs to get to.

I'm up to date with Thomas Pluck, Todd Luchik and Daniel Vlasaty for now at least!

Gender analysis - no surprises here - 10.33 male reads, .67 female


I think 10 authors hail from the US, (3 contributed to the one book)
2 authors are English, 1 deceased was from Belgium.

10 were fiction reads, 1 was a memoir of an espionage-type-covert-secret-agent-life

2 were collections of short stories, 3 were short story reads that have been published on their own.

8 were published this decade - with 1 from 1940s, 1 from the 90s, 1 from the 00s.

4 of the 11 books were pre-owned - 1 an Amazon FREEBIE! 5 titles came from the publisher, 2 from the authors, courtesy of signing up to their websites for author updates..

Favourite cover? Larry Fondation - Common Criminals: LA Crime Stories.


Get Plucked from Thomas Pluck is my second favourite cover.

My reads were this long - 326 - 254 - 350 - 29 - 240 - 100 - 29 - 79 - 40 - 145 - 16
Total page count =  1608 (2687 in January)

4 < 50,
2 between 51 < 100,
1 between 101 < 200,
2 between 201 < 300,
2 between 301 < 400,
0 > 400 pages

Mick Herron's Dead Lions was the longest @ 350.













Monday, 24 April 2017

FEBRUARY 2017 - ADDITIONS TO THE LIBRARY - 6 OF THE BEST!

A few good looking acquisitions during February......




Irish crime from the publisher - Bonnier Zaffre
For fans of Alex Barclay and Niamh O'Connor, Little Bones introduces Cathy Connolly, a bright young heroine set to take the world of crime fiction by storm.

Attending what seems to be a routine break-in, troubled Detective Garda Cathy Connolly makes a grisly discovery: an old wedding dress - and, concealed in its hem, a baby's bones.

And then the dress's original owner, Lavinia Grant, is found dead in a Dublin suburb.

Searching for answers, Cathy is drawn deep into a complex web of secrets and lies spun by three generations of women.

Meanwhile, a fugitive killer has already left two dead in execution style killings across the Atlantic - and now he's in Dublin with old scores to settle. Will the team track him down before he kills again?

Struggling with her own secrets, Cathy doesn't know dangerous - and personal - this case is about to become...
Down and Out Books via Net Galley
As if things aren’t bad enough in Penns River, development and funding of a new religious-themed mall grinds to a halt when heavily-armed assassins cut down five leaders of the town’s fledgling drug trade while eating lunch in the food court. The television minister behind the mall has associates not normally associated with a ministry, outside drug gangs may be muscling into town, and the local mob boss could have an angle of his own. The cops have this and all the usual local activity to contend with in a story that extends beyond the borders of Penns River.

Praise for Resurrection Mall…

“Dana King’s Resurrection Mall is a patchwork of desperation from a depressed river town written with genuine style and grit.” —Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of What You Break

“Another thoughtful, taut, suspense filled novel from one of America’s best new writers, the great Dana King.” —Adrian McKinty, author of the Sean Duffy trilogies

French crime from Pushkin Vertigo
WINNER OF THE 1957 GRAND PRIX DE LA LITTÉRATURE POLICIÉRE

It was fate that led her to step out in front of the car. A quiet mountain road. A crushed violin. And a beautiful woman lying motionless in the ditch.
Carrying her back to his lodging on a beach near Barcelona, Daniel discovers that the woman is still alive but that she remembers nothing - not even her own name. And soon he has fallen for her mysterious allure. She is a blank canvas, a perfect muse, and his alone. But when Daniel travels to France in search of her past, he slips into a tangled vortex of lies, depravity and murder. The Executioner Weeps is a macabre thriller about the dangerous pitfalls of love.

Akashic Books via Edelweiss site - a debut novel!
It's 1997 at the dawn of the digital age in San Francisco. Ex-journalist and struggling alcoholic David "Itchy" Crane's fledgling "information consultancy" business is getting slowly buried by bad luck, bad decisions, and the growing presence of the Internet. Before Itchy can completely self-destruct, a crooked private investigator offers him fifty grand to find a missing girl named Ashley. Crane takes the job because the money's right and because the only clue to her disappearance is a dead-on oil portrait of Crane himself painted by the mysterious missing girl--whom he has never met.

As Crane's search for Ashley rapidly becomes an obsession, he stumbles upon a series of murders, gets slapped around by thugs and intimidated by cops, and begins to suspect he's being framed for the murders by a psychotic Guatemalan hit man. Left with no avenue but survival, Crane goes on the offensive, fighting to clear his name, solve the murders, and find the beguiling portrait artist Ashley, who may have a few surprises of her own.

Rob Pierce and the follow on to Uncle Dust from All Due Respect
Vollmer’s a young guy, grows up on ugly streets. He survives by being uglier, hurting people for money, hurting people because he likes hurting people. When he’s hired to track down Dust and bring back the money he stole, keeping Dust alive isn’t a priority. Neither is keeping anyone else alive, even people he loves. Vollmer’s killed people he loves before. “With The Right Enemies” is the bullet-drenched follow-up to “Uncle Dust,” Rob Pierce’s acclaimed debut novel about a bank robber’s disastrous fling with domestic life. 

"Rob Pierce is one of the more imaginative literary voices in our new emerging era of noir." -- James Grady, Six Days of the Condor

"A detailed and empathetic portrait of a personal struggle with demons we may not all face directly, but which always lurk beneath our carefully calculated covers. Pierce rips off that lid and exposes the common darkness of all our souls, whether we want to admit it or not." -- Will Viharo, Hard-boiled Heart, Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me

Fourth or fifth in Ziskin's Ellie Stone series - from Seventh Street Books
February 1962CAST THE FIRST STONE 

Tony Eberle has just scored his first role in a Hollywood movie, and the publisher of his hometown newspaper in upstate New York wants a profile of the local boy who's made good. Reporter Ellie Stone is dispatched to Los Angeles for the story. But when she arrives on set to meet her subject, Tony has vanished. His agent is stumped, the director is apoplectic, and the producer is dead.

Ellie is on the story, diving headfirst into a treacherous demimonde of Hollywood wannabes, beautiful young men, desperately ambitious ingénues, panderers, and pornography hobbyists. Then there are some real movie stars with reputations to protect. To find the killer, Ellie must separate the lies from the truth, unearthing secrets no one wants revealed along the way. But before she can solve Bertram Wallis's murder, she must locate Tony Eberle.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

DAVID F. ROSS - THE MAN WHO LOVED ISLANDS (2017)


Synopsis/blurb…

The Disco Boys and THE Band are BACK ... In the early 80s, Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller were inseparable; childhood friends and fledgling business associates. Now, both are depressed and lonely, and they haven't spoken to each other in more than ten years. A bizarre opportunity to honour the memory of someone close to both of them presents itself, if only they can forgive ... and forget. With the help of the deluded Max Mojo and the faithful Hamish May, can they pull off the impossible, and reunite the legendary Ayrshire band, The Miraculous Vespas, for a one-off Music Festival - The Big Bang - on a remote, uninhabited Scottish island. Absurdly funny, deeply moving and utterly human, The Man Who Loves Islands is an unforgettable finale to the Disco Days trilogy - a modern classic pumped full of music and middle-aged madness, written from the heart and pen of one of Scotland's finest new voices.

'Crucially Ross's novel succeeds in balancing light and dark, in that it can leap smoothly from brutal social realism to laugh-out-loud humour within a few sentences. It is a triumphant debut novel, which announces a real new talent on the Scottish literary scene' Press and Journal

'More than just a nostalgic recreation of the author's youth, it's a compassionate, affecting story of a family in crisis at a time of upheaval and transformation, when disco wasn't the only thing whose days were numbered' - Herald Scotland

'By turn hilarious and heart-breaking, more than anything Ross creates beautifully rounded characters full of humanity and perhaps most of all, hope. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It’s rude, keenly observed and candidly down to earth' The Scotsman

A bit of a departure for me insofar as it’s not a mystery or some gritty crime fiction. The Man who Loved Islands is a novel about friendships - past, fractured and soon to be mended. Always assuming our main players can forgive, both themselves and each other.

It’s the third in a loose trilogy of book from Ross – the earlier ones were The Last Days of Disco and The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespas.

We have estranged friends Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller and a realisation in middle-age of the importance and enjoyment, their youthful relationship had for them both. Twenty plus years later and with the interference of Hamish May they get the opportunity to resurrect it and enjoy a new adventure.

Best read ever? No but I liked the separate tales of both main characters and friends and family on the periphery. Ross invites us into their lives and we share their individual journeys over the past few years. The author flip-flops the narrative with chapters alternating past and present and differing locations.

We spend a lot of time on the party island of Ibiza and there’s a lot of musical hat-tips and references – some of which weren’t especially familiar to me by title. A trip to You-Tube with a list of tracks soon corrected that. In the 80s I was more of a beer and football bloke, than a dance and raver type. I’m too old for both now!

I liked all the characters and their escapades. I could relate to a lot of the follies of youth – the nights on the beer, the arguments, the laughs, the fights and the hurts. The only difference being, I’m happy to leave my youth and friends from 30 years ago – back in the past. I have a different life now.

There are some moments of pure comedy gold – a couple of amputees with a spinning harness and a hard-on, getting down and dirty brought tears to my eyes.  

Towards the end of the book and our climactic celebratory re-union gig in remembrance of a deceased family member, there’s the surprising addition of rising tension to our tale.

All in all a great read. 

4 from 5


David F. Ross  was answering a few questions on the blog yesterday – here

His website is here. He’s on Twitter - @dfr10

  
Read in April, 2017
Published - 2017
Page count - 310
Source - review copy from publisher Orenda Books
Format - paperback

Saturday, 22 April 2017

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WITH DAVID F. ROSS






















Scottish author - David F. Ross has his third book out in the loose Disco Days trilogy - The Man Who Loved Islands..........

The Disco Boys and THE Band are BACK ...

In the early '80s, Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller were inseparable; childhood friends and fledgling business associates. Now, both are depressed and lonely, and they haven't spoken to each other in more than ten years. A bizarre opportunity to honour the memory of someone close to both of them presents itself, if only they can forgive ... and forget.


Absurdly funny, deeply moving and utterly human, The Man Who Loved Islands is an unforgettable finale to the Disco Days trilogy.

I'm happy to welcome him onto the blog today, answering a few questions - a bit of a reversal. I'll have some thoughts on the book itself tomorrow.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Is the writing full-time? What’s the day job or what were you in your pre-writing life?

The writing definitely isn’t full-time. I’m the Design Director of a large Scottish-based architectural firm and that pays the bills. However, I don’t see them as dramatically different conceits. Both are fundamentally about people; how they react and respond to the environment that you – as architect or writer – create around them. My books are set in real places as context and often utilise real events as background and I suppose that sensibility comes from a designer’s need to observe rather than speculate.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?

I’ve been fortunate that there’s been a few. Appearing at Aye Write! and the Edinburgh International Book Festival were both good fun to do, but I guess the touring and promotion of the German translation of The Last Days Of Disco in major German cities last year was perhaps the most exciting.
What’s your typical (book) writing schedule?

I don’t really have a formal or fixed approach to writing. My actual job is way too unpredictable to allow any disciplined time management for writing. The first book was written largely while I was working overseas during a 12-month period in 2011. The second and third were a bit more organised mainly because I had something of a contractual obligation deadline with them. They were essentially five to six-month timescales written in sporadic creative bursts. I wish I could be more organised but I’m too indoctrinated in a non-9-to-5 culture.

Do you insert family, friends, and colleagues into your characters?

Yes, but mainly just characteristics or interesting fragments, although The Last Days Of Disco has an important female character called Lizzie King. Elizabeth King is the name of my wife’s best friend and we’ve both known her since we were kids. It was initially a just a bit of fun from a time before I had any interest in having it published, but she thought it was funny so I just left it in. There are also real people who infiltrate the books. Margaret Thatcher is a fairly significant character in The Last Days Of Disco, Boy George played an important peripheral part in The Rise & Fall Of The Miraculous Vespas, and there are a number of real people - such as the brilliant Scottish band Teenage Fanclub – in The Man Who Loved Islands. With the exception of Thatcher, for whom I have nothing but disdain, the rest are all treated very respectfully.

How long did The Man Who Loved Islands take from conception to completion?

Probably around six months. I finished it in September of last year, a bit earlier than I had initially anticipated.

Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?

A bit of both really. I imagine writing is maybe a bit similar to doing a complicated jigsaw puzzle; looking for the edges and borders allows you to fill in the other parts of the puzzle having established these key parameters of timeline and context. However, my books are very character-driven and having invested significantly in their personalities, motivations, dreams and concerns, my job is simply to make sure the characters act – and react – authentically. I spend a lot of time on dialogue, and that is often the part that develops and changes the story as it progresses and different ideas emerge.

Are there any subjects off limits?

No. Apart from ones that simply don’t interest me enough to write about.

Any unpublished gems in your bottom drawer?

The (hopefully) next published book is a belter. It’s called Glaswegian Rhapsody and is set in the city over a 30-year period. Its structure is stolen from New York Trilogy by Paul Auster, and also Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, in that it features three separate but connected stories about the city and the people who live (or lived) in its underbelly. There are several cameos from Jim Rockford (from the 70s TV programme The Rockford Files). And of course, there’s a blistering soundtrack…naturally.

Can you tell us a bit about your previous books?

I have two books published prior to The Man Who Loved Islands, and all three form something of a Trilogy in that, although not strictly related in terms of plot, they feature a large cast of characters with some coming more to the fore in different books. Hopefully, The Man Who Loved Islands ties up all the loose ends.

Each of the books is essentially about the hopes and dreams of the central characters – especially the younger ones. In The Last Days Of Disco, those hopes and dreams belong to Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller who leave school to start a mobile DJ business in 1982 as the Falklands War begins and a smaller, but no less significant one begins between them and a cabal of local gangsters. In The Rise & Fall Of The Miraculous Vespas, those same gangsters find themselves funding the unexpected success of a local indie-music band as they scale the heights of the UK charts.

The Man Who Loved Islands brings these two separate stories up to the present day but is perhaps a more mournful reflection of life not turning out in the way that the central characters had hoped. There’s regret, depression, pain and an acute sense of time running out for all of them. It’s a laugh-a-minute..!

Is there one of your books you’re more proud of that any of the others? Which and why?

The Last Days Of Disco is a bit more personal – and perhaps autobiographical – than the other two, so I’ll always have a soft spot for it. When you realise that you’ve created something that means a lot to other people, it’s a truly fantastic feeling. I’m very fond of the other two (or three, if you include Glaswegian Rhapsody) but in different ways, if that makes sense.


What are the last five books you have read?

The Reflection by Hugo Wilken
Number 11 by Jonathan Coe
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
The Blade Artist by Irvine Welsh

Who do you read and enjoy?

My literary influences are pretty easy to spot. Irvine Welsh, John Niven, Jonathan Coe and Roddy Doyle are perhaps the writers whose books I would always read. Although I’m not a massive crime fiction fan, Denise Mina is a brilliant writer and her books – especially the Glasgow ones – embody the complex and contradictory relationship that I have with the city of my birth.

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

Plenty. Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse, or A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving, or The Rotter’s Club by Jonathan Coe. In terms of sales, I wish I’d written the Bible, and then copyrighted all subsequent bastardised versions of it.


Favourite activity when not working or writing?

I play football at weekends, and I’m still fairly obsessed with music. When I was younger I had over 5,000 vinyl singles and sold them all. Having accumulated almost the same amount of CDs, I’m now back buying vinyl again.

What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?

I’ve just finished a stage play based on The Miraculous Vespas book, and there are some interesting ideas in discussion with that. I also have a book draft in progress called ‘Weekenders’ about six middle-aged female friends who decide to go on a weekend away to Barcelona together, but all are hiding some devastating secrets from each other that will inevitably emerge when they spend four days in such close, claustrophobic proximity to each other.

What’s the best thing about writing?

The words ‘The End’.

The worst?

The 80,000 ones that precede those two.

 In a couple of years time…

…I’ll be another couple of years closer to retirement, and a guitar-shaped pool in the Hollywood Hills, after winning a Best Screenplay Oscar for The Last Days Of Disco.

--------------------------------------------------
Many thanks to David for his time and Anne Cater at Orenda Books for setting this interview up.

David has his website here. He's on Twitter - @dfr10

Friday, 21 April 2017

JANUARY 2017 - READING LIST AND PICK OF THE MONTH



A decent month's reading to start the year. I managed to complete 11 books in the month, a couple of which were re-reads.

They were......


Robin Sloan - Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (2012) (3)

Mark J. Newman - Violence in the Blood (2016) (4)

Barbara Vine - King Solomon's Carpet (1991) (4)

Jaime Raven - The Madam (2016) (4)

Bryan Smith - 68 Kill (2013) (4.5)

Lawrence Block - Hit Man (1998) (5)


Joe R. Lansdale - Dead Aim (2013) (4)

Catriona McPherson - The Child Garden (2015) (4)

Elmore Leonard - Maximum Bob (1991) (4.5)

Charles Bukowski - South of No North (1975) (3)

Jo Nesbo - Blood on Snow (2015) (4)

Book of the month - Lawrence Block - Hit Man - second time of reading and just as enthralling as the first!

More useless trivia......

11 different authors.

5 of the 11 were new-to-me authors........  Robin Sloan, Catriona McPherson, Jaime Raven, Bryan Smith and Barbara Vine. I'd be interested in reading more from 4 of them in the future.

I'm probably done with Robin Sloan.

I must have a couple of dozen books on the shelves and device from each of Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block and Joe R. Lansdale - all are firm favourites!

Jo Nesbo - I'm not quite convinced on him yet - Blood on Snow was my 3rd book from him.

Charles Bukowski has been enjoyed in the past with more to come in the future, but the short story collection I read had a few flat notes.

Young gun Mark J. Newman writes the short, sharp, snappy violent gangster crime books I like to read. Two down from him, with two to go!

Gender analysis - no surprises here - 9 male, 2 females


I think 6 authors hail from the US, though Charles Bukowski was actually born in Germany
3 authors are English, 1 Scottish, 1 from Norway

All 11 were fiction, 1 was a collection of short stories.




7 were published this decade - with 1 from 1970s, 3 from the 90s.

8 of the 11 books were pre-owned! 1 came from the publisher, 2 from the authors.

Favourite cover? Elmore Leonard - Maximum Bob

South of No North is my second favourite cover.









My reads were this long 304 - 51 - 358 - 330 - 258 - 310 - 104 - 294 - 298 - 192 - 188
Total page count =  2687 (890 in December)

0 < 50,
1 between 51 < 100,
3 between 101 < 200,
3 between 201 < 300,
4 between 301 < 400,
0 > 400 pages

Barbara Vine's King Solomon's Carpet was the longest @ 358.














Thursday, 20 April 2017

PASCAL GARNIER - THE ESKIMO SOLUTION (2016)


Synopsis/blurb.......

A crime writer uses the modest advance on his latest novel to rent a house on the Normandy coast. 

There should be little to distract him from his work besides walks on the windswept beach, but as he begins to tell the tale of forty-something Louis – who, after dispatching his own mother, goes on to relieve others of their burdensome elderly relations – events in his own life begin to overlap with the work of his imagination.

Another read from Garnier, my fourth in total and whilst enjoyable not quite up there with the others.

Kind of a dual narrative here - or book within a book. A crime author called Louis is writing a book about his protagonist also called Louis. We spend time in the company of both.

Our author, has isolated himself from his girlfriend in the hope of making some progress on his book, but is distracted by his girlfriend's daughter, his neighbours, an impending trip to England and by his friend Christophe.

I've always been jealous of Christophe......He lives, I bluff: he's a magician, I'm a con artist; he touches, I manipulate. I can't think of him without comparing myself to him. The fact of the matter is he has always put the spotlight on my own mediocrity.

Our fictional Louis is meanwhile doing his bit for population control while similarly improving the financial situations of himself, his ex-wife and her husband and the family of a friend.

I found the writer - Louis annoying and much preferred the company of the other one, though he is hardly likeable. Maybe he was just more interesting to read about.

There is a kind of symmetry to the novel - art imitating art, as the story of our fictional Louis ends and writer Louis mimics his creation albeit somewhat accidentally.

Garnier, as ever has some fantastic turns of phrase......

His mouth flares open like an old hen's arsehole, but very little comes out....

If he was a used car, he'd be unsellable...

A quick read at about 160 pages. Enjoyable but not his best.

3.5 from 5

Pascal Garnier passed in 2010. Gallic Books have been offering his books in translation since 2012.

The Front Seat Passenger, Boxes and The Islanders have all been enjoyed previously.

Read in April, 2017
Published - 2016 (originally 2006 in French)
Page count - 160
Source - Gallic Books
Format - paperback



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

GERARD BRENNAN - WEE DANNY (2013)


Synopsis/blurb….

Incarcerated in a home for young offenders, Wee Danny Gibson has learned how to act in front of his teachers, his educational psychologist and the institute's supervisors. And if he continues to keep his nose clean, he could be rewarded with a day-trip to Castle Ward. But good behaviour is no easy task when his fellow inmates are determined to get in his face. Then there’s Conan 'The Barbarian' Quinlan, a gentle giant who Danny feels compelled to look out for. Friend or liability? Danny can't be sure, but he knows he needs to stay focussed on that little taste of freedom.

Wee Danny is an 18,000-word novella by the author of Wee Rockets.

It’s been a couple of years or more since I read anything from Gerard Brennan and seeing as this was a tick in all the boxes, it’s a slap upside the head for me and a reminder not to leave it so long next time around.

Wee Danny, who may or may not feature in the full length novel – Wee Rockets from Brennan (when I pull my finger out and read it, I’ll know more) - is the star of this 70 page blast.   

Here Mr Brennan had me from the start………

Miss moves as if she knows I want her. She can read my thoughts sometimes. Sends me wee signals to prove it too. Like when the pencil rolled off her desk at the start of this class. It landed right in front of me. I pushed back my chair, ready to pick it up for her but she just raised her hand, cool as fuck. And then she stepped in front of me, hunkered down so that her perfect arse almost touched the floor, and snagged the pencil. She stood and twisted in one dance-like motion and I caught a glimpse of her knickers above the waistband of her black trousers. Then she adjusted the hang of her green blouse. The patch of pink cotton and tanned lower back disappeared and took the spit from my mouth with it. It happened in seconds, but I've replayed the images of Miss's graceful retrieval over and over for the last twenty minutes.

Danny is in an institution, I don’t know why. He’s growing up, he’s getting an education. He butts heads with other boys and some of his counsellors and he regrets being confined with the restrictions on his freedoms.

I like the mental jousting Danny has with Alan, one of the therapists and with Adrian, a fellow offender both sharing a mutual antipathy for each other. Danny would happily get physical but is cute enough to assess the angles and use Adrian’s lack of control to his advantage. Street smarts.

An unlikely friendship with big lad, Conan – Conan being borderline autistic, provides comfort to them both and allows Danny to focus on someone other than self.

A trip to Castle Ward offers both friends some time away from the institution. This sniff of freedom has consequences.

Pace, characters, setting, dialogue, confrontation, action and outcome.

5 from 5

It was short but was March’s best read. Sadly with the recent closure of publisher Blasted Heath, Wee Danny appears to be currently unavailable. Hopefully this situation is only temporary and the author secures it a new home.

Gerard Brennan has his website over at Crime Scene NI
Catch him on Twitter@gerardbrennan


I have lots more from him to enjoy yet – Wee Rockets, The Point, Breaking Point and Undercover all sit waiting. 

and Other Stories And Nothing But Time have featured on the blog previously. 

As has his contribution to the Fightcard series - JACK TUNNEY - FIGHTCARD: WELCOME TO THE OCTAGON

Read in March, 2017
Published – 2013
Page count – 71
Source – purchased copy
Format - Kindle