Today’s book review of a short story collection is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey.
Eleven The Hardest Way by Graham Smith
Synopsis: 11 hard-boiled stories of murder, misconception and mayhem. Nothing ends as expected. Everything can change in an instant. Tense, thrilling and funny. You’ll be cheering on, laughing at and crying for the characters.
Take a walk in the woods with Annie as a camping trip goes horribly wrong, slug some bourbon in Bobby’s Bar with gumshoe Leonard Peters or join Nicholas and Christine as their honeymoon trip takes a frightening turn.
Attend a night class with the girl who fears a stalker, escape killers with Jason and his sons, join Cook & Barnes as they hunt a twisted killer, look through a telescopic sight with an assassin and recoil in horror as terrorists attack.
Why has Garry been stood up at the altar? What happens to Susie? All the answers you need are in Eleven The Hard Way.
About the author: Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner, he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been Manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland. An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer for the well-respected review site Crimesquad.com for over two years. As well as reviewing Graham has also interviewed such stellar names as David Baldacci, Jeffrey Deaver, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Matt Hilton, current CWA Chair Peter James, Mark Billingham and many others.
When not working, his time is spent reading, writing and playing games with his son. He enjoys socialising and spending time with friends and family. Graham also runs the Crime and Publishment site and yearly weekend workshops.
This collection is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eleven-Hardest-Way-Graham-Smith-ebook/dp/B00771BMJ8 and http://www.amazon.com/Eleven-Hardest-Way-Graham-Smith-ebook/dp/B00771BMJ8.
Sitting on my garden swing seat on a lovely summer’s (yesterday) afternoon (we’ve had a few of those recently – very unEnglish) isn’t perhaps the best situation to review a collection of crime stories but the tone was set by Graham explaining that the first story was inspired by a joke.
It’s clear from the off that Graham knows his stuff (gun model, suppressor, muzzle flash etc). The title of the first story (Shooting Stars) is very befitting as we learn of the intended target and why the gunman feels she deserves to die.
Next up is Adult Education. I work in Ad Ed (Adult Learning, actually) so am already intrigued and Graham again explains the inspiration behind this story (he was in a class at the time). It’s always interesting when we have a main character we don’t like, or at least are given reasons not to like him / her. One thing that puzzled me was that she mentioned that most of her classmates had been there the year before but later that none was (were) too familiar which felt a little odd. Sure enough, what she expects to happen happens although it’s not the ending expected – an open-ended one actually. I liked it.