Saturday, 6 May 2017



Dark yarns, Brit Grit, Country Noir, crime, horror, thriller and real western cowboy stories in this short story collection where every tale packs a mind-crunching punch.

A short story collection from Gareth Spark that I know I enjoyed, but which 3 weeks plus after reading I’m struggling to recall. I guess that the difference between stories and a novel, even with a crap one the chances are you’re going to remember something about plot, characters or setting.

So flicking back through on the kindle…….19 stories in all – and a bit of ground covered.

Crowbait ….excellent dark tale of the old west, with a heart-rending pay-off

Demon's Road…..the old west again,

The Yank ….London in the war, a Yank, gangsters, a girl, murder and a gun-fight

Blood Heart ….. She looked into the sun setting over my left shoulder, then back at me and smiled. She wore a white vest top that burned bright against dry thunder clouds lowering over the grassland behind her, and her blue eyes were open to the red heart of the sun's death; it danced over her skin, making her something at once golden and lost, something I knew I would remember forever.

Kin ……. card games, losers, family, poor decision-making

Rundown Dog ….haunting, bare knuckle fighting, an aftermath and consequences for family.

Snow, Sky and Pines …… a fractured family

One Bullet…… a gunfight down Mexico way

Five Feet Into The Grave ……..a fire, a girl, an enraged bar owner, and gunshots

Regal King Size ……. a couple of dudes, a girl, a guitar and some night visitors with a blade – a bit of a puzzle this one

Red Spanish Night …… a women uses her charms to rid herself of her husband

Ghosts ……….intriguing start….. I was sure Tommy had killed his Dad that morning, but I wasn't going to let that ruin our day; the old bastard probably deserved it more than anybody else knew.

The Black …… bouncers and bruises, some Middlesbrough mayhem and a bit more

Coming Through The Dark …… drugs, a car crash and family

American Tan …. a robbery goes wrong, the consequences

The Passeig Miramar ….. a doomed relationship

The Beach And Hot With It..... a troubled holiday

The Wild Hunt.... a strange girl, feuding neighbours, a stranger outcome

Hostile Powers..... a deadly virus, on the run, and hunted

Bone Creek .... Cheyenne Indians, a massacre, a reporter.

Spark has a gift for language. There's some poetic prose in this diverse collection. A few stories missed the mark (or more likely went over my head), but the vast majority were on-point, with a couple of stand-out stories - albeit after refreshing my memory - Rundown Dog and Bone Creek were my personal favourites. 

4.5 from 5

Gareth Spark is on Facebook here.

Read in April, 2017
Published - 2015
Page count - 128
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle


  1. Sounds as though there are several good 'uns in this collection, Col. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Thanks Margot, it's a very good collection.

  2. I love that cover and I am always willing to try short stories.

    1. There's a lot of variety in this collection so might be worth exploring.

  3. I agree with Tracy about the cover - but I'm the opposite of her, I need a lot of persuasion to read short stories.

    1. Oh well, I won't be able to change your mind time maybe.