A Review of ‘Love Is A Grift’ by Graham Wynd

If you are looking for love; you have come to the wrong place! You certainly won’t find love, empathy and understanding in Graham Wynd’s short story collection, Love is a Grift and Other Stories of Desperation.
This is a collection of dark tales, with lust, manipulation and sexual obsessions recurring with frightening and exciting, regularity. The featured story has all the hallmarks of classic noir; seedy bars in Galway, a gullible man lead by his desire, a disposable wealthy husband, and a femme fatale who can literally charm the pants off any man she encounters. This beautiful grifter is a survivor, who is always at least one step ahead of her criminal companions, playing them for everything they are worth, before making her ultimate and timely discards. Is the lady a sociopath? Quite possibly, does she exploit her sexuality with vicious cunning; absolutely!

It was challenging to pick out individual stories as my favourites; because they are all good. But my personal preference was for ‘These Toys Are For Tough Boys’ as I loved the comedy, and the Slovenian connection. The characters are a bunch of ill-suited petty criminals operating way out of their league when they attempt a kidnapping, which goes horribly wrong – or right depending on the character’s allegiance.
On a more serious note, some of these stories show the depths to which a woman’s life can descend, when she has created her world, around a love that has become a restrictive nightmare. ‘Repetition’ and ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ are stories in which women have lost themselves to the mundane torture of their daily lives. However, as this is written by Graham Wynd, you can be sure they will find a way to extricate themselves from their soul-destroying situations.

The dystopian story ‘Rebellious Jukebox’ was a fantastic tale of life in the city of continuous noise. Imagine a world surrounded by loudspeakers and tannoys, making constant nonsensical announcements. It’s a place where only the very rich can purchase illegal earplugs. This story of torture by noise, with imprisonment and banishment for perceived infractions; has a genuine Orwellian feel to it.

I loved the classic noir, the dystopian tale and the hints of dark magic in this collection. But to return to the theme of dangerous attachments, with the concluding story, another favourite of mine, ‘Thirty Versions of Leatherette,’ – love is in this book is more often than not, a sexually charged car cash.

 

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A new review of Nightmare Asylum And Other Deadly Delights by K. A. Laity!

It’s a special feeling when a writer you have admired for years reviews your book! Kate Laity’s noir stories are fabulous, and to me, she is the undisputed queen of noir, so I was more than a little nervous about her review – almost too nervous to read it!

It does feel odd reading other peoples perspectives of your stories; as while you are writing them, you are so wrapped up in your own, enclosed little world of experiences and perceptions, it’s strange when someone enters your imaginary kingdom. “Mum’s off in book-land again” my daughter would say. “It’s pointless talking to her now” my husband would agree. Writers must be a nightmare to live with…

I will stop wittering now, and get on with the review, here is a snippet:

This collection of stories is shot through with a gothic ambience of darkness, disease and madness in the clinical sense. From its opening story death is always close by, reading to lay a cold hand on someone’s neck. The tales seldom wander far from the haunted corridors of the Asylum — proving you can change the name and the purpose but the horrors that happened there leave echoes that reverberate for a very long time.

Women wronged — and most often the men who wronged them (this is gothic horror after all) — figure prominently in this collection. Read more…

 

Out Today! ‘Man Of The World’ by Paul D. Brazill ∼ Book Review

Congratulations on the publication day of ‘Man Of The World’ to Mr Paul. D. Brazill!

They say there are some jobs it is impossible to retire from, and being a hitman is definitely one of them, especially if you are an ex-soldier with a temperament more situated to violence and the settling of old scores.

Tommy Bennett has reached an age where he is searching for a quieter existence and believes he may find a more restful pace of life back up north in his native Seatown. But ghosts from his past lurk in the shadows and old friends with dark memories bring new chaos into his life.

With an extraordinary past working in covert operations as well as dishing out his own type of justice for friends with cash to spare and grudges to settle; it seems  that Tommy is more afraid of a visit to the doctor’s surgery than tackling hard men from his past,

‘You know, I’ve mellowed over the years,’ I said. ‘I really have. I lay off the booze for long periods of time. I drink bloody coconut water. I recycle. I even stopped smoking after half a century of sucking on them foul cancer sticks. But if there’s one thing guaranteed to get my goat, guaranteed to wind me fucking up, it’s if someone pisses down my back and tries to tell me it’s raining.’

His rehabilitation is short-lived, and it’s not long before Tommy is propping up bars all over Europe while laying low, after taking out a notorious self-styled, east end Mafiosi amongst many, many others…

It’s an action-packed tale, with vivid, eccentric characters, and plenty of comic dialogue to keep you amused!

 

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A Review of ‘Come Join The Murder’ by Holly Rae Garcia

‘Come Join The Murder’ is a highly unusual, and exceptionally assured novel debut from Holly Rae Garcia. Her ultra-smooth prose is pitch-perfect and her dialogue engaging and faultless. There is an understated elegance to her writing, which may lull you into a false sense of security at the beginning of the story, leaving you utterly unprepared for the torrent of horror that is to come.

The story racks up the tension relentlessly as Rebecca Crow discovers her husband is missing, and her beloved son has drowned, under very suspicious circumstances. Consumed by guilt for not replacing the spare tyre in the family car, she blames herself for their demise. Lost in a nightmare of grief and despair, Rebecca cannot function in the world; her personality disintegrates as she no longer knows who she is, or how to live:

“The realization that Oliver was gone didn’t come in the heart-wrenching moment she saw his small arm draped on the back seat of Jon’s car. It didn’t even come at the funeral, when his pale little body lay surrounded by cold white silk. Rather, it came in the million little things that built up around her and swallowed her whole until she found herself in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by emptiness, and no idea how she had gotten there.”

Rebecca is on the verge of drowning, both psychically and metaphorically, when her survival instinct kicks in. She knows the only way forward is to fix her problems; choosing a route that is both foolhardy and deadly dangerous. It is too simple to say that Rebecca turns into a vigilante; her quest is much more personal and primal than merely balancing the scales. What starts as a coping mechanism rapidly descends into an obsessive compulsion, over which she has no control…

 A fantastic roller coaster ride of revenge and retribution!

Holly Book:

 

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Hard Hat Book Site Review of Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights

 

I was delighted to receive such an in-depth, beautifully written, great quality review from De Gevallene of the ‘Hat Hat Book Site.’  I am usually at a loss to understand how others perceive my writing –  so, this was a very intriguing experience!  The review is honest and insightful:

Here’s a snippet:

Here is an author who really relishes the darkness of the damaged human psyche. In the more cheerful of these stories this is a darkness that erupts in a torrent of revenge or anger. In the more chilling ones, it seeps and creeps from her characters, a sickness becoming gradually apparent in faces that start off looking innocent. Sonia Kilvington is surgically merciless in these explorations. She mines through her characters twisted reasoning, till the reader is there, deep inside the hurting mind, knowing how that place feels, how the world looks, seen through those eyes. And its not nice. All of her many characters are disturbing and most exist either on the borders of psychopathy or a little the wrong side of it…Read Review

Bullets, Teeth, & Fists 3

Reading Jason Beech’s latest short story collection, ‘Bullets, Teeth & Fists 3, I got a lot than I’d bargained for. I was looking forward to some fast-paced crime stories that packed a punch, but there is substantially more depth and breadth to this book. The collection includes tales of psychological horror, despair, a stalker and life after a zombie apocalypse. Talk about something for everyone!

Quite a few of the stories are narrated by woman, which can be a really bad thing, with some male writers. But that was definitely not the case here, as, in these torrid tales, the women are tough as well as vulnerable and demonstrate a level of emotional complexity, that was completely unexpected. Not that you would trust any of these devious creatures for a single second – especially with a gun…

All of the stories had something different and to offer. Jason Beech is a natural storyteller; his tales have wonderfully unexpected twists, a disturbing sense of wry humour and characters that jump right off the page. I did have a couple of favourites, although there were so many great ones it was difficult to choose. I can never resist a supernatural story, and ‘Edna’ was beautifully plotted and intense. ‘The Tip-Off’ was a first-class crime story with an unexpected twist, and ‘Look at Him’ could break your heart if you’d let it!

An excellent read for short story lovers – highly recommended!

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 Jason on Amazon UK      Jason on Amazon.com

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A Wonderful review of Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights

This is my first blog review of my new book, a collection of short stories, Nightmare Asylum& Other Deadly Delights – and what a wonderful review it is! Many thanks to Lynne Amanda Piza!

Here is a snippet:

I really enjoyed this series on short stories! It so easy to pick up and read a story in between another book I’m reading to change it up, or to read while feeding the baby!

I love that about this book as it’s really convenient! Every story draws you straight in, there is no faffing, it’s straight to the point and you are set right in the middle of the action! It’s like reading a series of amazing horrors/and thrillers and just jumping to the best bits…WHO WOULDN’T LOVE THAT!

I found it really thrilling that every story wasn’t all horror, some thriller, some psychological! I really enjoyed jumping from a murder, to futuristic robots, to stalkers, to asylums, to being trapped in basements, to warnings through spiritual messages to missing people!…Read Review!

Interview at The Interrogation Room

It was great to be invited over to The Interrogation Room on the Dirty Books Blog by Tom Leins. He asked me some interesting questions about my new short story collection, Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights, and being a writer at Close To The Bone. Despite the handcuffs and the hard chair, it was an interesting experience. Tom was polite and courteous at all times – but coffee was not included…

Heres a little snippet from the interview:

Firstly, congratulations on the publication of Nightmare Asylum! How hard was it to select the stories – and indeed the running order?

I have been writing short stories for the last thirty years or more, and I have always dreamt of having my own collection. I selected my favourite stories with the strongest characters and the most unique situations for the book. Still, I wasn’t sure about the running order and wondered if I should have started it with a horror story or maybe I should have begun with a little more conventionally structured story such as ‘Women’s Work’. I am always second-guessing myself. 

Do you have a favourite story in the collection? If so, why is it your favourite?

Yes, I do! It took me about five years to write ‘Nightmare Asylum’ because I did so many drafts, trying to capture the atmosphere of a reoccurring nightmare that I had experienced in my twenties. Night after night I dreamt I was trapped in a Victorian mental asylum and nobody would believe a word I said Read Interview

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Out Today! Nightmare Asylum & other Deadly Delights!

I am delighted to say that my book has been published today and is now available for purchase in paperback and Kindle download from Amazon!

Nightmare Asylum – Despised by day, tortured by night.

A midwifery student’s life disintegrates into a terrifying nightmare, after a disturbing encounter with the notorious child killer, Evelyn Green. Dark secrets from Lydia’s past unleash a truth that conjures her fears into unspeakable horror.

Other Deadly Delights – Tales from the psychotically unsound and deadly deluded.

A stalker turns serial killer; a cleaning lady is imprisoned in the basement, there’s a prophetic warning for a woman in peril, and an android with love addiction, plus many more… a deliciously dangerous collection of short stories, ranging from psychological horror to paranormal, sci-fi and noir.

Dare you enter the nightmare Asylum?

book cover

 

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