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