Frank Westworth’s Stoner Stories are so damn funny. Probably my favourite merging of genres is crime-comedy. Because of the colourful and dominating personalities in crime fiction, comedy slides in naturally, and when done well, it’s a great mix.
Westworth does it well. There are many examples of the fast-paced and deliciously dry sense of humour but, with me being Irish, this one sticks out: ‘You’re going to Ireland, land of dark unpalatable beer and about the same number of murderous religious nutters as this place.’
That ‘place’ being Afghanistan, where protagonist JJ Stoner, a British soldier, is recruited by the Hard Man, a government higher-up, to become an international assassin, and so the fun begins. And fun is certainly the word for it.
Westworth builds tension well, and scenes of action and violence are vivid and well-paced, but the stories never stop being about the fun, and overall this collection has an intentionally silly, over-the-top vibe, similar to the John Wick films.
It’s the right tone to go for with the world Westworth has created here, and it makes the reading of his stories a pleasant escape.
Reviewed by Philip Elliott
The Stoner Stories by Frank Westworth is available as a paperback or ebook at Amazon