Changeling: smart and spooky

I owe the author, Matt Wesolowski, an apology. He probably put months of effort into Six Stories: Changeling, and I devoured it in a single day. It disappeared as rapidly as a double-pepperoni stuffed-crust deep-pan pizza. I simply wolfed it down, propelled through the pages by its oh-so clever construction, Wesolowski’s storytelling technique, the convincing…

Criminal Halloween Reading

Werewolves howl. Phantoms prowl. Halloween’s upon us now! So let’s settle down with something on the spooky side of crime fiction. Here’s the first of this week’s special selection of chilling thrillers, exploring the mysterious hinterland between hardboiled noir and the beasts which prowl in the far beyond… Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg Let’s kick…

A Contented Man: dark echoes

  These four short stories of tightly-woven psychological suspense don’t take so very long to read, but their dark echoes reverberate for days thereafter. The first story, a sinister study of the depths of obsession, gives the collection its title. The ‘Contended Man’ is anything but contended, and his unnatural fascination with a much younger…

Witnesses: a wolf in wolf’s clothing

International crime dramas are frequently compared to those stand-out Scandinavian series, The Killing and The Bridge. ‘Witnesses’ is one of the few which actually lives up to that comparison. It’s a stylish, slightly strange psycho-drama, full of mystery and intrigue. The tightly-woven plot threads confuse, confound and compel the viewer to devour the next episode.…

Cannibal: haunting, not horrific

Don’t watch this expecting to find Hannibal Lecter at his most gruesome. No fava beans were harmed in the making of this subtitled art-house drama (although I’m pretty sure that a nice Chianti makes a guest appearance). Instead you’ll be mystified, perplexed and intermittently entranced by a slow-burn psychodrama, one which explores human isolation and…

Decompression: suffocation of the self

Juli Zeh’s powerful psychodrama combines the serene rapture of the underwater environment with the claustrophobic collapse of identity under pressure. It’s unpredictable, offbeat and edgy; unsettling and almost incidentally erotic. Zeh introduces a pair of snakes into paradise when a fractious couple come to learn scuba diving at an isolated holiday village in the Canary…