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3.9 out of 5 stars31
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 22 July 2013
I like anthologies of short stories and this is one of the best I've ever read. Every one of these ten stories is a cracker with a twist, although I guessed at least one of the endings, but even so, it didn't spoil the enjoyment. It seemed like each one was better than the one before. Most had a criminal flavour, but that's not to say that people who don't like crime stories wouldn't like them. All were original (in my experience) and refreshing in their presentation and writing style. Simon Wood is definitely an author to watch out for.
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This collection of ten short stories focuses on a crime-thriller theme. There are other features that they mostly have in common. They start with characters who are seemingly going about everyday affairs in an innocent way without any obvious villainous intent. Settings and descriptions are concise and vivid, the dialogue generally realistic and snappy with tight prose. These ordinary characters inevitably find themselves in a situation that shifts into one where crime and violence intrude.

How Simon Wood achieves this is by introducing simple mistakes and errors of judgement into their lives that have the gravest of consequences. The action is necessarily taut but not devoid of impact. The stories are full of plot twists, double-crossing manipulative immorality, revenge, scams, blackmail and coercion. The reader is faced with who will actually come off worse. Is it the seemingly innocent or the villain especially as the author skilfully disguises the identity of the guilty party? The ending moments are where the major twists and irony occur and hit the reader with surprise although a few are guessable.

The stories make for excellent reading. My personal favourites are 'Making Ends Meet' where a husband loathes his in-laws, 'Fender Bender' where a man accidentally backs into a parked Porsche, 'Big Sky Kill', a kidnapping that goes horribly wrong, and 'A Gun In The House', involving an intruder into an ideal home, but they are all entertaining. A well-written compendium of short crime fiction with added thrills and suspense thrown in. An author to look out for.
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on 1 January 2014
WOW.

What an incredible collection of wickedly gruesome short crime thrillers.

The collection has ten amazing tales, all different but all showcasing Simon Wood's unique writing style.

Although all of the stories are good, I particularly liked the first story, 'Making Ends Meet'. The idea of killing the in-laws must surely have crossed the mind of most of us at one time or another (at least, I hope it has and it's not just me), but this serves as a cautionary tale, demonstrating the consequences of such action. It really is a deliciously sinister tale with a wonderfully dark humorous twist at the end.

'The Taskmasters' also stood out as an exceptional short story.

It also feature 'Fender Bender'. This too is excellent, although it does appear to be a briefer version of 'The Fall Guy'. That said and done, it was enjoyable to read this shorter version of the tale.

All in all, this is one of the best collections of short crime stories that I have ever read and definitely one that I would recommend to all fans of crime thrillers.
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on 17 June 2013
The plot starts off very gently and then leads the reader up many false trails before a very good ending. I like the book because it made me think. Some books make the end obvious from the start. Well done.
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on 19 June 2013
I really like short stories, especially ones with a twist- the last one is particularly good. After I read it, I bought one of his full length novels which was also good.
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on 16 June 2013
Not read any of these books before but worth the effort. Similar to Peter James and the like. Better than I expected forthe price.
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on 12 June 2013
A nice collection of short stories each with a twist which you can sometimes see coming but nevertheless a good read.
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on 5 January 2015
I didn't realise that this was a collection of short stories and was a bit disappointed when the kindle sample story of the man who decides to kill his in-laws - which sucked me into getting the book - didn't turn into the engaging tale I expected but just ended as a 'twist in the tale' short. Overall all it was ok - the author is hardly the next Rohl Dahl but it passed the time pleasantly enough. Some nice ideas - my favourites were the opening and closing tale but TBH I'd rather read a full length novel by this guy. The characters/situations were quite interesting but the endings didn't have the kind of impact which is needed to make this sort of collection work. As another reviewer said, once you've read a couple you can pretty much figure out what the 'twist' is going to be each time.
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on 9 May 2014
I only recently discovered this author and he has now become a firm favourite. This is a book of short stories. Most of them have a twist to them and all are enjoyable reads and in some, a hint of horror.There is a message too in some of them - be careful what you wish for - it might not turn out as expected.
Each story is quite short so if there is an hour spare its a good book to pick up.
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on 22 December 2013
Sorry, could not really get into this book. The first stories are mildly interesting but, once you have the pattern, it is too easy to guess the endings. By the last couple of stories, I was a bit bored.
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