Her Name Is Mercie: grit, bitterness and redemption

Meet Mercie: an ordinary young woman in midtown America. Her existence is ripped apart, collateral damage when her parents are murdered, their home repossessed, and she’s left with nothing. Her bewildered rage soon lands her in the worst kind of trouble, exposed to the harsh realities of serving hard time in the 21st century American…

Portrait of an Assassin: killer fiction

The title tells you exactly what to expect of this rapid-fire, rattling read: the back story to a calculating contract killer. It’s cleverly presented in a series of episodes which almost form standalone short stories, as Jack the discharged Royal Marine becomes Jack the rudderless, Jack the flat broke, then Jack the opportunist… and gradually…

Crime Time: new books and recommended reads

What’s new in crime fiction? This month’s selection of recent releases and forthcoming titles includes serial killers, American noir, Scandi crime, British coppers, a classic locked room mystery, punishing pulp fiction, an intriguing art investigation and a Cold War spy story; broken homes, an unfaithful husband and a dead wife; flashbacks to the Roaring Twenties…

When You Run With Wolves: brutal brilliance

This action-packed, sweat-soaked, robbery-gone-wrong would make an amazing movie in the Reservoir Dogs genre. It certainly makes for a damn fine white-knuckle ride in the written form. Author Robert White plunges you straight into the deep end, hip-high in blunt force trauma, kidney-pulverising punishment, and the kind of involuntary amputations that’d make Quentin Tarantino wince.…

Six Strings: an anti-hero in action

Frank Westworth has a gift for anfractuous prose, and this sixth JJ Stoner short story is no exception, even given the deceptively straightforward plot device – someone’s out to get JJ Stoner. The one thing you need to know about JJ Stoner’s world is that nothing is ever that simple. There is deceit aplenty from…

Six Strings: explosive action

This is the sixth JJ Stoner short story and again it hits all the right notes, and in the right order. I have read all the authors short stories and full-length books and, suffice to say, I have a standing order for the next one. In this story, our hero helps out the drug squad…

Six Strings: a new quick thriller

‘You want me to kill someone.’ Stoner plainly had a grasp of both the gravity and the subtlety of the situation. ‘There’s no need to rattle on so much. Killing people is what I do.’ He paused. ‘But only if he orders me to…’ Life is usually fairly straightforward for former Sergeant Stoner. He plays…