Eight short stories from the dark prince of noir, all very different but all of high quality.
The opening story, London Calling, is a seedy tale. Local thug boss Jonny Lad wants another guys girlfriend so he sets him up with a prostitute. Don, a minor drug dealer, gets involved but decides to turn the tables in an attempt to get his girlfriend back. Short but funny.
In Hound of Culann, protagonist Gilmour agrees to collect a crate in return for £2000. But inside the crate is a trained, killer dog. Gilmour doesn't like the idea of such a dangerous dog being loose and takes matters into his own hands, for money of course. An example of the great writing:
"He was your typical 'Troubles are over, my arse' Ulsterman. Tats. Sovereign rings. A swagger you could dry clothes on and a number-one to the nut. They were ten a penny in the city now. Usually, I'd have sent him packing with a brick up his hole but the well used Webley in his waistband said he meant business."
Last Orders is the original short version of the recently published novella of the same name. Worth a read to spot the differences.
Pretty Boy follows Stauner who's cheated the gang boss out of money, but he finds out...
This Charming Tam is about as short as you can get...
Ten Bell's At Robbie's takes some concentration as it's written in the local accent. It's well done, a different take on Christmas family celebrations.
Jailbait Stalemate is an anti-romance, a guy spots a girl in a pub and decides to chat her up but there's a problem with his one-liner.
In The Gift of Family two relatives knock off a couple of bookies in perhaps my favourite of the lot.
All sharp stories, with similar themes. Gritty, taut, great.