A Time For Violence: hard, fast and occasionally nasty

The short stories in this anthology provide a sometimes spiky slice of stylish writing from 28 assorted authors; some of them well-known names in the crime genre but many unfamiliar to me. They each take a different tack to interpret the central theme. Many inevitably showcase criminals doing the wrong thing for all kinds of…

Seven Hells: superbly cinematic

Separate to the Killing Sisters thriller series, this is a standalone novella that features star turn and efficient killing unit, JJ Stoner. JJ Stoner, ex-military, now black ops, is drinking in a bar with former army colleague, the Hard Man, when the latter draws him into a top-secret mission on British soil. Intelligence reports suggest that there…

Russian Roulette: Brit grit with a SovBloc scoundrel

Ex-KGB agent Konstantin – most definitely an international man of murky mystery – has somehow washed up on the shores of England’s seedy Kent coast, and he’s carving a niche for himself among the lowlives and street-scum of a dilapidated seaside town. This is effectively Konstantin’s origin story, told in a series of seven interlocking…

Seven Hells: menace, murder and manipulation

The latest novella from Frank Westworth sees his occasional assassin, JJ Stoner, on the periphery of – apparently – an extensive terrorist plot. While British security forces – the good guys in uniform and the deniable assets in black – set up their surveillance, Stoner is drawn into the danger zone by an old adversary…

Down In The Devil Hole: dark and nasty

Sixteen separate stories in this edgy collection drag us off the beaten track and into the nasty reality of poverty-line life in rural Kentucky. A major storm batters the backwoods, providing a menacing backdrop to these interconnected episodes. The storm itself is a pivotal character; a catalyst to unleash a torrent of pent-up fear and…

Recreation: an intriguing and unconventional female sleuth

There’s now an entire series of full-length crime novels in the Lena’s Friends series, and this prequel short story makes an ideal introduction to the imaginative characters who solve crimes, right wrongs and occasionally mete out righteous revenge in most unusual circumstances. This is not your average police procedural! ‘Recreation’ is a diverting short story…

Rapid Reviews: murder and mystery; future and history

These crime-thrillers and espionage adventures skim across an entire century, from 1941 through to sometime quite soon. Step this way for convoys under wolf pack attack; historic artworks being stolen; a serial killer being stalked, an intro to an unusual assassin and murder on Mars. In space, no one can hear you scream… The Interrogator…