‘Charity’ makes the 2014 Best Independent Books list

CharityJkt LRThe debut crime-thriller novel from Frank Westworth received significant critical approval on publication last autumn. ‘A Last Act Of Charity’ was chosen by crime genre guru Maxim Jakubowski, as a recommended read in his end-of-year selection. Jakubowski described the book as: ‘A fast-paced, high-powered thriller featuring a Jack Reacher with balls of added steel character who was once a contract killer for the army and rides a mighty motorcycle and plays a mean blues on his guitar. This a hoot, if a rather violent one.’

Now ‘Charity’ has been included in the Wordery Best Independent Books list of 2014. The Wordery selection includes fiction, children’s books, non-fiction and cookery, with only a handful of crime-thrillers and murder-mysteries making the grade. Other authors on this year’s list include Val McDermid and Mary Beard, so ‘Charity’ is keeping extremely good company!

JJ Stoner once killed people for a living. In the military his kills were government-sanctioned. As a mercenary they were privately contracted. He doesn’t mention the other kills, those of his own initiative. Highly-trained, finely-honed and used hard, Stoner now seeks not to kill as he investigates underworld activities for official intelligence agencies, an entirely deniable operative in sleazy situations. Less the blunt instrument, more the swift stiletto.

A series of brutal, blood-soaked murders look to be right up Stoner’s street. When the investigation spirals in queasy circles, JJ seeks release in the music of the blues and in weird sex with treacherous women. An old army comrade, equally lethal and with less to lose, steps out of the shadows. Is he friend or foe? And who are the seductive killing sisters?

Find out in ‘A Last Act Of Charity’ by Frank Westworth, available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon and other retailers


FirstContractFINALA series of stand-alone quick thrillers accompany the full-length novel and introduce characters from the series. All are available at Amazon

First Contract: when British blood stains desert sands, Stoner takes radical action

Two Wrongs: it starts with great sex and ends in sudden death

Third Person: a target is being stalked through rain-soaked city streets


Feedback for the Killing Sisters / JJ Stoner stories:

‘Guns, girls, guitars and scenes of gruesome violence, all shot through with a wit sharp enough to draw blood. With terse and brilliant prose, Westworth delivers a plot that drags you along relentlessly. ’

‘It launches you straight into the mayhem and, like its protagonist, JJ Stoner, takes no prisoners.’

‘An intriguing debut novel that combines the best of crime fiction: a gritty hero, a weaving plot, and constant suspense.’

‘A fast-paced, high-powered thriller… Terse and stiletto streamlined and sharp as the blade of a knife.’

‘The writing is sharp; we are led deeper and deeper through an often blood soaked, twisting (and twisted) maze of intrigue, betrayal and bloody murder…’

‘Sharp. Staccato. Smart. Lovers of long, luxurious, lyrical prose should read this to see how the other half writes.’

‘If you’re grown-up enough to accept a bit of appropriately placed but fairly extreme sex and violence, you should find it a compelling read with plenty of “didn’t see that coming” moments.’

‘Great writing by any standards, but sheer brilliance as a debut novel.’


‘Gritty story-telling at its best, with graphic (but well-written) sex and a plot that fires from the hip.’

‘Stoner is violent, amoral and cynical… His final speech, when he realises how he has been played, is almost Shakespearean in its bitterness and helpless anger.’

‘The tightly-written prose has more than a touch of the Elmore Leonard about it – sparse, sharp and often witty as well.’

‘There is hardly time to draw breath in this fast-moving adventure introducing a frighteningly capable executioner.’

‘Serial killings and strange sisters, hard as nails hit men and shady superiors, sleazy blues and sometimes seedy sex.’

‘A punchy and compelling tale of an ice-cold assassin, more nuanced than your average hired killer. The writing is sparse and crisp, the dialogue frequently laced with sardonic British edge.’

‘Clever dialogue and plenty of descriptive narrative providing context for the violence, depth to the characters and shape to the story.’

ThirdPerson‘Our first meeting with JJ Stoner does nothing for the man’s chances of being nominated for any awards for unbridled compassion or for turning the other cheek.’

‘Westworth’s fiction does not judge JJ Stoner. It simply, fluidly, outlines him, states what he does, in stark, vivid language that draws you inexorably deeper.’

‘The writing is clever and inventive, paying few dues to existing genres or styles… There is a hint of Derek Raymond in the more visceral physical descriptions and the sense that we are looking at a dark and dystopian oil painting.’

‘A brilliant read, along the lines of Jack Reacher. I look forward to the full novel.’

‘The dialogue is snappy, the characters are sharply developed, and the plot moves effortlessly forward.’

‘Intelligently written, with excellent characterisation, sharp wit and punchy back-n-forth dialogue.’

‘The author makes no apologies for Stoner’s pragmatic attitude towards the elimination of his targets, and the result is a solid, well thought through action thriller, intelligently handled.’

‘Rich and ambitious, this violent tale plays out with memorable scenes interspersed with writing to savour. A feast of poetic prose wrapped in noir.’

‘Sophisticated story-telling, written in a mature style, and targeted at a mature audience.’

‘The novelette has a terse, spare style and winds the reader in – definitely a page-turner. Move over Ian Fleming, JJ Stoner could replace James Bond…’

‘There are some sequences which are as satisfyingly testosterone-soaked as any Jack Reacher adventure, and then some which are as bleakly subtle as über-nuanced Japanese noir. For every alpha male with a gun and a hard-on, there’s an equal, often opposing feminine force: frequently just as effective and half as smart again.’

TwoWrongs LR———-  

About the author: Frank Westworth shares several characteristics with JJ Stoner: they both play mean blues guitar and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Unlike Stoner, Frank hasn’t deliberately killed anyone. Instead, he edits a classic motorcycle magazine and has written extensively for the UK motoring press


Please note that the Stoner series is intended for an adult audience and contains explicit scenes of a sexual and/or violent nature


3 thoughts on “‘Charity’ makes the 2014 Best Independent Books list

  1. Well deserved plaudits from the ‘insiders’. Congratulations Frank.

    How about recording some of the featured music in Stoner’s style and including it as a free CD or download with appropriate editions of the books.
    I’m sure you could think of a suitable guitarist to perform them.

    It might just be the ‘gimmick’ that opens the books up to yet another, different, audience.

    PS: I agree about the cover design . . . brilliant, despite some saying that you should never have a white cover on a book sold on line.
    Buck the trend! . . . The best people do it all the time.

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