Sunday, 9 October 2011

Pulp Ink Anthology edited by Nigel Bird and Chris Rhatigan

PULP INK is the bizarre, chaotic side of crime fiction. From an ass-kicking surfer on acid to an idiot savant hitboy, these tales are dark, funny, action-packed and told with all the gleeful insanity of a Tarantino flick. 

It was obvious to me by the time I had read the first three or four stories of this anthology that I had a problem.  Writing an effective review of Pulp Ink would be like trying to clean the Humber Bridge with a toothbrush. Why?  Quite simply because each story is like a sparking gem in the mud that is the e-book market. This anthology shone so brightly to me that I felt I had to wear shades when reading it. The editors deserve great credit for putting together such a fine collection. This is up there with the best of them and possibly my most enjoyable read this year.

Anyone who regularly reads my reviews knows that I am not a critic. I write positive reviews. I know what I like and I read what I enjoy.  However, I am having to rein myself in from gushing like a school girl in the presence of a boy band. This anthology is THAT good.  I very early on decided that I would say a little something about each of the stories. I felt that I owed it to the authors of this collection to say at least at little something about each of these excellent stories. So here it is:

Requiem for Spider by Reed Farrel Coleman 
A hugely enjoyable hard boiled tale with humour entwined within its very soul. Poetic.

Jack Rabbit Slim's Cellar The $5 Mil Hak by Jodi MacArthur
McArthur's character Shasta Star is both fascinating and playful. Witty from the start, wise cracking and multi-layered. A great setting and a fantastic ending. Sublime.

Padre by AJ Hayes
You could lose yourself in the midnight black worlds AJ creates. This tale screamed across my synapses in cinematic high definition. A story of justice done told only the way AJ can.

The Creation of Ice by Sandra Seamans
You are plunging straight into the desperate end game as a cold hearted killer tries to charm her way out of the clutches of the law.

Zed's Dead, Baby by Eric Beetner
A debt collector cuts a bloody swathe in his attempt to find Zed. Beetner pulls no punches in this bloody tale with a surprising ending.

Your Mother Should Know by Allan Guthrie
A tale of god fearing folk & childhood innocence with that dark cloud of menace hanging over it that only Guthrie can conjure.

You Never Can Tell by Matthew C. Funk
Brilliantly descriptive. Laced with delicious atmosphere, the air hangs heavy with menace and the threat of violence.

A Whole Lot of Rosie by Nigel Bird
Nigel takes a classic song by AC/DC and turns it into a fantastic atmospheric story with heart and soul.

The Lady & The Gimp: A Peter Ord Investigation by Paul D.Brazill
Another great story in another fantastic seedy setting. Stuffed to bursting with vintage Paul D. Brazill wit and humour. His PI Peter Ord never disappoints.

A Night at the Royale by Chris F. Holm
A story that is pregnant with an air of menace. However, you find yourself with no sympathy at all for Mr. Black's hapless victims. An outstanding and clever ending.

Clouds in a Bunker by David Cranmer

 A sad little tale that injects humour into a difficult subject.

The Wife of Gregory Bell by Patricia Abbot
An excellent tale confirming that one shouldn't mess with karma.

If Love is a Red Dress - Hang Me in Rags by Michael J. Solender
Eloquently descriptive. The author does so much with so few words.

A corpse by Any Other Name by Naomi Johnson
A brilliant and hilarious short crime caper. Great characters. Steinbeck is smiling from the great beyond at the tribute.

Surf Rider by Ian Ayris
Solid gold from Ian. He takes us through the doors of perception and shows us the darkness within.

The Slicers' Serenade of Steel by Gary Philips
A story that started one way then went off at a fantastic action packed tangent. Great pace and wit throughout.

The October 17 Economic Development Committee Meeting by Chris Rhatigan
You can’t help but empathise with some of the views created by Chris’s character here! A brilliantly woven tale told at a fast tense pace.

Threshold Woman by Richard Godwin
A beautifully descriptive and erotic tale of our desire to quench forbidden thirsts.

Redlining by Jim Harrington
A little impatience leads to a dark deed and a gritty ending.

Jungle Boogie by Kate Horsley
A tale filled laden and heavy with the threat of impending doom.

This Little Piggy by Hilary Davidson
A cleverly told tale with a great twist.

Comanche by Jason Duke
Revenge served in a suitable fashion. Some great descriptive lines in this one.

Misirilou by Jimmy Callaway
A fun caper with great humour throughout & snappy dialogue

The Only One Who Could Ever Reach Me by Matt Lavin
A dark and UTTERLY compelling read.

UK Download Pulp Ink HERE
US Download Pulp Ink HERE

You can find out more about the editors here:
Nigel Bird
Chris Rhatigan


  1. Thanks. That's how I felt as the editor as piece after piece came in with huge power.
    I've mentioned elsewhere (I hope and I think)that Kate Horsley's story will be in next year's Best British Crime anthology and I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't prizewinner's in the crowd also.

    You did us proud with your words, Daz.


  2. I'm delighted you picked up on the fact my man in black was, indeed, intended to be Mr. Black! Thanks for the kind words; this story was a kick to write, and Chris and Nigel clearly tapped into something to get such great work out of everybody.

  3. Thanks so much for the bang up review, Daz. You pointed this out, and I think it's kind of funny, a lot of these stories, you feel no sympathy for the victims. We're a twisted bunch!

  4. Wow! That's the nicest thing anyone's said about me since Nigel & Chris said, "Hey, Naomi, wanna be in our anthology"

  5. Told ya my friends can write the sun down outta the sky, didn't I? Chris and Nigel did a bang up job with Pulp Ink. Both those bloke got talent, no? Thanks a million, mate. Cool.

  6. Daz, you *dazzle* . . . Indeed, good sir, you're the ultimate high-end groupie with wit and circumstance extolling past where any idle gush would have a splashing chance. You teeter forth a fine balance of intellectual concise serving-plates of such delicious, albeit gruesome recipes of crime on the talented rise to the table that I'd rush out and purchase . . . but . . . I ALREADY DID!

    Gosh, with gush inclusive, I dig these authors and how they tangle the weave they leave in the mind long after mere words evoked insight's sight.

    *Congrats* to you all, those I'm fortunate to know and jive du jour with and those I'm learning e'er the more. The world awaits all you guys can dish.

    Applause for the dashin' Daz ... any day, but 'specially this one. *clink* <scotch, single malt, but of course

    ~ Absolutely*Kate,
    author/promoter & bon vivant
    AT THE BIJOU and beyond

  7. Very kind of you to put comments up on everyone's story. They were all so fantastic. So glad you enjoyed Shasta Star, she was a real firework to write! Also like what you say about Aj's 'midnight black words' & Mark Levin's "Utterly Compelling" read. Spot on. I couldn't stop reading either of them, and Levin's was a perfect close.