Tuesday, 29 November 2011

More Liverpool Five by Luca Veste

In More Liverpool Five Luca Veste's voice seems stronger and more assured than in his first excellent collection Liverpool Five. The stories in this collection are more narrative in style than in the last collection which were more reflective in nature.

It's fair to say he's found his feet and planted them firmly on Terra Nova with this collection. He's planted his flag whilst he's at it and if you were wondering his flag is red with a Liver bird on it.

His first offering Night Vision features some superb characterisation and dialogue as two heavies chew the fat before a job. A great thought train conveyed here. I suspect we may see more of at least one of these guys in the future.

The second story Time had me picturing a constantly zooming camera each shot revealing a slice of story until the conclusion. Well written with a lot of plot detail for such a short story.

Uninspired the third tale is Veste at his thoughtful, reflective best. A sad tale that shows how mental illness can creep up on us slowly and stealthily.

Fate is a chilling tale. You never know who is watching when you are out in public.

Nightmares is a sequel tale to my favourite story from Liverpool Five. Where Liverpool Five tells a story from one perspective we get the other characters story. Whilst the first tale is uplifting this first tale is a sad melancholic reflection of the times.

I enjoyed both collections and particularly the themes that Veste explores. This newcomer to the scene has hit the ground running with his own unique style. Both collections are well worth a read. I suspect Luca Veste will go on to write intense psychological thrillers, his stories show an emotional depth that I have rarely seen in the genre.

Download More Liverpool Five HERE:

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Off The Record - A charity Anthology edited and compiled by Luca Veste

Available for download from today is Luca Veste’s (Guilty Conscience Publishing) charity anthology Off The Record. The proceeds from this anthology will benefit literacy charities in the UK and the US:

In the UK, National Literacy Trust:

In the US, Children’s Literacy Initiative


The many talented authors, 38 in total, were given a simple brief: Write a story inspired by a classic song title.  The result is a hugely varied line up of stories. Please show your support to this most deserving of causes. Available at only £2.29 in the UK the featured authors are:

1.Neil White - Stairway To Heaven
2.Col Bury – Respect
3.Steve Mosby – God Moving Over The Face Of Waters
4.Les Edgerton - Small Change
5.Heath Lowrance - I Wanna Be Your Dog
6.AJ Hayes - Light My Fire
7.Sean Patrick Reardon - Redemption Song
8.Ian Ayris - Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
9.Nick Triplow - A New England
10.Charlie Wade - Sheila Take A Bow
11.Iain Rowan - Purple Haze
12.Thomas Pluck - Free Bird
13.Matthew C. Funk - Venus In Furs
14.R Thomas Brown - Dock Of The Bay
15.Chris Rhatigan – Shadowboxer
16.Patti Abbott - Roll Me Away
17.Chad Rhorbacher - I Wanna Be Sedated
18.Court Merrigan - Back In Black
19.Paul D. Brazill - Life On Mars?
20.Nick Boldock – Superstition
21.Vic Watson - Bye Bye Baby
22.Benoit Lelievre - Blood On The Dancefloor
23.Ron Earl Phillips - American Pie
24.Chris La Tray – Detroit Rock City
25.Nigel Bird - Super Trouper
26.Pete Sortwell – So Low, So High
27.Julie Morrigan - Behind Blue Eyes
28.David Barber – Paranoid
29.McDroll - Nights In White Satin
30.Cath Bore - Be My Baby
31.Eric Beetner - California Dreamin'
32.Steve Weddle - A Day In The Life
33.Darren Sant - Karma Police
34.Simon Logan - Smells Like Teen Spirit
35.Luca Veste - Comfortably Numb
36.Nick Quantrill - Death Or Glory
37.Helen FitzGerald - Two Little Boys
38.Ray Banks - God Only Knows

As if that wasn’t enough there are forewords from UK writer Matt Hilton, and US writer Anthony Neil Smith.

UK Download link:


US Download link:


Find out more about Luca Veste over on his blog:  http://www.lucaveste.com/

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Inside by Victoria Watson

Victoria Watson has written another reflective and sensitive piece.  This I believe is “her thing” what she does the best. Strong characters with deep emotional content that makes a good connection with the reader. A very nostalgic warm tale or so I thought just before the darkness hit me. I’m not going to give away any plot points here just read and enjoy!

Once more Victoria shows her talent for characterisation and strong descriptive writing in a cracking short story that I really enjoyed. It worked on several levels and spoke volumes about the complexity of human nature. Another five star story from Victoria Watson.

Download Inside HERE

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A Scattering of Ashes by Craig Douglas.

I first came across Craig Douglas in Byker Books Radgepacket series of gritty anthologies that pride themselves on being industrial strength fiction. Craig’s stories stood out as having more emotional substance. That I think is the nub of Craig’s talent for writing. I don’t know how he does it is so subtle but you feel a connection with his writing, with his characters it’s both magical and rare.

 His descriptive writing is second to none. He pretends to be a Radgey character but underneath he has the soul of a poet not a squaddie. I know he’d deny this with fervour so here’s an example:

Dappled flashes played on the bed between the shadows of boughs. Dust rises from the windowsill, something displaces it.

I could fill this blog post with more examples but I’d rather you read them for yourselves in the fantastic collection. If you need any further encouragement he is donating 50% of the proceeds to the BLESMA charity for limbless veterans.

I’ve written a little something about each of the stories below to further whet your appetite:

Murder Among Comrades - Mistrust, suspicion & paranoia define this exciting tale as bullets fly overhead.

The Last Veteran - A touching tale told with emotion & beautifully descriptive writing.

Trial Of Meat - Short. Brutal. Real.

The Trouble With Milkmen - A strangely touching ending. Men no matter how tough are still hurt little boys at heart.

Thunder on the horizon -
Scarily prophetic, sharp incisive brilliant social commentary.

Digging Up The Past - A simple act brings back memories of the past.

Flesh & Blood - Douglas writes melancholy so well. This story set in the Falklands is so sharply realistic that it could be a documentary. A sad tale that speaks true to the heart.

Welcome Home - The harsh reality of war

Scargill’s Man - A very sad tale that Craig brings to life expertly. A world weary melancholy atmosphere that is almost off the page it's so tangible.

The Incident At Wedzendorf Woods - Hollywood never tells the full story of the things that go on in war. Craig Douglas does here.

British Pride: A Nazi's Tale - A bigot released from prison finds the world a very different place. His crimes unforgivable

Rejoice In Thy Youth - Could there be hope for the future with a new life?

Homecoming - A cracking realistic story that could easily be expanded into a novella.

Time Split - An interesting little sci-fi tale very different to the rest of the collection

Magic in the Land of the Pathans - A bittersweet tale of magic & murder

Equal in his Eyes - a cursing shell shocked preacher shows great compassion.

Download A Scattering of Ashes HERE

Infection by Mark Cooper

With Infection Mark Cooper has created a credible zombie story. Mark doesn’t overdo it as is so easy with zombie fiction. His dialogue, characters and plot are all believable, at least as believable as any zombie fiction can be.

Cooper’s work flows very nicely and you soon find yourself rattling off the pages and with a thirst for more of the plot twists. Mark’s descriptive writing isn’t forced and again slides along nicely with the plot. Even with the excellent pace of Infection Mark leaves room for some fantastic descriptive writing.  It’s obvious that Mark is an accomplished storyteller. The characters in the story were interesting and well rounded. You found yourself rooting for them.

The author has left plenty of scope for a follow up and as I’m a bit of a “dead head” I really hope he writes one.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

One Dead Hen by Charlie Williams

A serial killer is stalking the shadowy streets of Mangel. Who can stop this killer they call the Reaper? Who is man enough to track him down? Who could possibly take on this beast? What manner of man can contend with this fiend? Step forward Royston Blake Mangel needs your swede on the case. Mangel needs YOU!

One Dead Hen is the first novel I have read by Charlie Williams. I enjoyed the character of Royston Blake immensely.  I found the telling of the story from his perspective to be both fun and entertaining. However, this single character perspective did become just a little bit wearing after a while. I enjoyed the added few snippets of journalistic articles at the end of some of the chapters. These helped to break up the story a little.  I feel that maybe another perspective mixed into the plot on occasion would have made it a more engaging read.

That said there was ready wit and humour throughout. Unlike some reviewers of this story I did not find the language off putting. It was relevant and in character and added to the humour at times.  The character of Blake has a very strong voice and is an interesting well rounded creation. I’m a big fan of Robert Rankin and found some parallels of his Brentford books in One Dead Hen. Overall a very enjoyable read and told in a fairly unique way. I will certainly be reading more by Charlie Williams I can tell that Blake will have me chuckling at every turn.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Kick It by McDroll

A collection of five short stories which all have one thing in common: no frills. These tales cut right to heart of the matter they don’t meander along with unnecessary flowery language or page filling meaningless unwanted description. This collection bypasses the pleasantries and goes straight for the jugular. How refreshing! The endings when they come are usually sharp, stark and a shock to the system. McDroll’s stripped back style is interesting and unique.

If asked to pick a favourite it would have to be Drowning. McDroll conveys the internal dialogue of a desperate woman excellently and ends the story with a flourish of brilliance.

Three of the five stories deal with character DC Gemma Dixon. A wise cracking young woman working hard to survive and thrive in the man’s world that is modern policing.  McDroll’s collection of stories is set in Scotland and her use of language reflects that giving extra realism to the stories. A great value collection that is well worth downloading.

Download Kick It HERE

Drunk On The Moon Volume 6 - Silver Tears by John Donald Carlucci

One of the things I am enjoying the most about the Drunk On The Moon series is the fresh perspective each author brings to each new instalment. Carlucci's interpretation is an action packed tale that barely leaves the reader time to breathe before we are plunged with Roman into each gripping scene.

Other writers for the series will have to go a long way to beat the opening line that I won't spoil for you here. Carlucci's hooks you faster than a politician fills up his expense account.

There is some excellent descriptive writing:
It felt like a mini sun had exploded in my chest and I was ready to combust in the flames.

The author provides us with a believable and credible reason for Roman's excess drinking. Regular readers of this blog will know I am a fan of this fantastic series. Carlucci has added another cracking instalment with style, flair and a little humour. We also see the introduction of another character in the form of a back street surgeon. As the series progresses we start to see Paul D. Brazill’s fantastic creation in fantastic high definition technicolor. Another must read short story.

Download SIlver Tears HERE

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Reprisal Volume 4 - She'll Get Your Engine Started by Sam Lang

Sam Lang's Reprisal series has had a promising start. We have now reached the fourth instalment of the Reprisal story arc which is proving to be a slow burner of a series. Lang is taking his time and bringing us delicious little mini stories to develop the Reprisal universe and introduce its deadly denizens. This tale and the previous one have dealt with two convicts who will no doubt be travelling though the town of Reprisal in the near future. Rather than be frustrated by the slow start I am really enjoying the build up.

Sam has another dark tale this time from the point of view of another prison inmate. The prisoner in question is in the next cell to the convicts who feature in Reprisal 3 - Shadow Boxing. If you enjoy Sam's dark and interesting narrative as much as I do then you’ll find him an entertaining writer with a great eye for detail. A natural yarn spinner. He crams in lots of little details that pique your interest and make you want to keep on reading. A subtle humour is ever present. I'm not sure how conscious this is for the author it seems so natural. However, this is not silly slapstick humour but dark as tar black humour.

Another great read from Sam Lang in this increasingly intriguing and gripping series.

Download Reprisal Volume 4 - HERE

Monday, 7 November 2011

Drunk On The Moon - The Story So Far

Trestle Press have set out their stall using the freedom of the ebook to do new and innovative things. Ever since I first read Paul D. Brazill’s writing in one of Byker Books early Radgepacket anthologies I’ve been a fan. Paul’s humour and wit are what captivate me and everything he writes is extremely entertaining throughout.  When I heard that he had a new series about a werewolf private investigator I knew I’d enjoy it.

Now as this is Paul there was, of course, a twist in the tail. Paul set up the stall of the series by writing the initial instalment entitled Drunk on The Moon. The inspiration for the story is the Tom Waits song of the same title. Brazill described a world of hard drinking, violent characters which he peppered with his usual witty one-liners and running gags. Music references litter the story like jewels waiting to be discovered. The descriptiveness of the writing is sublime and a tangible atmosphere is created expertly by the author. I read the story in one sitting and was hooked on this dark world so excellently conveyed. I couldn’t wait for the next instalment. Paul has carefully picked writers that he believes will bring a certain unique something to the series and I can honestly say that he has chosen well. Each writer has left their own mark on the series and we have seen the character of Roman Dalton grow through these first six stories. 

I hope that I have sold the idea of the series to you because it really is well worth a read. I’ve put a download link and timeline for the series for you so that you can explore the stories in order. Get high this week, get Drunk On The Moon.

Drunk On The Moon by Paul D. Brazill – Release Date 4th July 2011.

Drunk On The Moon: Fear The Night by Julia Madeline – Release Date 24th July 2011.

Drunk On The Moon: The Darke Affair by Allan Leverone – Release Date 10th August 2011.

Drunk On The Moon: Insatiable by B.R. Stateham – Release Date 5th September 2011

Drunk On The Moon: Getting High On Daisy – Release Date 4th October 2011.

Drunk On The Moon: Silver Tears by John Donald Carlucci – Release Date 2nd November 2011.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Buzz around Byker Books

Byker Books Radgepacket series is what started me writing again and I owe them a debt of thanks.  Their own special brand of industrial strength fiction has a broad ranging appeal to fans of gritty, dark and urban fiction. Byker cite their influences as the likes of Irvine Welsh, Danny King, Kevin Sampson.  That gives you some idea of the kind of ground breaking fiction they put out.

I have been lucky enough to appear in volumes four and five of the Radgepacket series.  The sixth volume in this excellent series is due out next March and will feature such talented writers as:  Paul D. Brazill, Peter Sortwell, Nigel Bird, Craig Douglas, Col Bury, Ian Ayris, Nick Quantrill, Luca Veste, Danny Hill and many more including myself.
Byker have made their entire back catalogue available to download on ebook at bargain prices. Please take the time to look at the excellent catalogue of anthologies all available for under £1 in the UK or under $2 in the US.

Radgepacket 1 - download HERE

Radgepacket 2 - download HERE

Radegepacket 3 - download HERE

Radgepacket 4 - download HERE

Radgepacket 5 - download HERE

Other Byker Publications:

Maxwell's Silver Hammer by Andy Rivers - download HERE

I'm Rivelino A Life of two halves by Andy Rivers - download HERE

More Burglas Diaries by Danny King - download HERE

Dumb Luck by Tom Arnold - download HERE

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Manchester 6 by Col Bury

This is the first I have read of Col Bury’s writing and I was impressed from the start. Col has a knack for squeezing a lot of action into few words. Writers have a habit sometimes of not trusting a reader to make a logical leap during a story. Not so with Bury, he trusts you to follow his thought train without a huge neon arrow pointing the way. This is in a word refreshing. A great collection and I’m looking forward to a follow up title. I’ll say a few words about each of the stories and try my best not to give anything away.

Lucky Shit - A jobless guys has a run of good luck which you just know is going to end badly...

Fists of Destiny - A gripping and tense story. A tale that gives an idea of the kind of narrative we could expect from a novel by Bury. An excellently related piece of fiction and my favourite of the collection.

Mr Curly Top - A playful tale with a sense of humour to it.

Forum Of Fury - A stark reminder that all actions have consequences.

Snakes 'N' Ladders - An aptly titled revenge tale.

Gallance - An action packed story and a character I'd love to see again.

Download Manchester 6 for just 86p HERE

The Facebook page for Manchester 6 HERE