First Contract: FREE this week

Start a new crime-thriller series with the first of the Stoner stories – and get to know this complicated contract killer. A decade ago, JJ Stoner was a soldier. He killed people for a living and made no bones about it. On a scorching day in the Iraqi desert, when British blood stained the sand,…

The Sidewinder: when music leads to murder

Twenty years ago, Sidewinder were a half decent rock band. Then one musician died suddenly and the show was over. Nowadays, the young men have matured, moved on. They’ve got themselves families and careers – local politics, the police force, journalism and the like. Sidewinder was something to look back on… until another of the…

Known Devil: hard-boiled urban fantasy

In this nifty mix of urban myth and police procedural, Detective Stan Markowski of the Occult Crimes Unit gets embroiled in a mafia family feud, uncovers a political plot, dodges bullets and bombs, and must counter a new street drug that’s driving even elves to armed robbery. Turns out he has a guardian angel watching…

Inspector Zhang: a locked-room mystery

There’s a dead body in the first class compartment of an airliner, and no one seems to have noticed how the passenger was murdered… That’s the set-up for this clever little conundrum, a short story which takes around a half hour to devour. ‘Inspector Zhang And The Dead Thai Gangster’ features Stephen Leather’s regular detective,…

All Hail The New Flesh: rage against the machine

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good spookynatural or sword-n-sorcery story. But sci-fi and speculative fantasy have almost vanished under the mass of vampires, werewolves, trolls, and elves just lately. Every other book seems to be an undead/zombie cross-species love quadrangle featuring unfeasible biology… Hence my delight at this anthology of futuristic short fiction,…