I rarely read ‘proper’ books (paperbacks / hardbacks) and I’d wanted to read this collection for a while so bought it as a paperback so I could sit and read at least one short story a day. (I’m also writing short stories for competitions and submissions too and have sent three off in the last week!).
If you’d like your short story or writing guide reviewed, or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
The OxCrimes Collection
For 2014, Oxfam and Profile Books have turned to crime in order to raise a further £200,000 for Oxfam’s work. OxCrimes is introduced by Ian Rankin and has been curated by Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, where it will be launched in May. The stellar cast of contributors will include Mark Billingham, Alexander McCall Smith, Anthony Horowitz, Val McDermid, Peter James, Adrian McKinty, Denise Mina, Louise Welsh and a host of other compelling suspects. Profile Books have raised more than a quarter of a million pounds for Oxfam by publishing OxTales (2009) and OxTravels (9781846684968) (2011).
This collection is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/OxCrimes-Introduced-Ian-Rankin-Ox-Tales-ebook/dp/B00IJKJTXW and http://www.amazon.com/OxCrimes-Introduced-Ian-Rankin-Ox-Tales-ebook/dp/B00IJKJTXW.
Review of Anthony Horowitz’s Caught Short
This is a short short story (24 standard book pages) so a short review…
In this story we meet the arrogant Johnny Maslin who makes a stupid mistake and we suspect will get what he deserves.
I visit London a few times a year but have not been to the areas mentioned in this story so it was interesting following Johnny on his walk.
The author is best known for writing for teens and although we have an adult protagonist in this story, it does at times feel like it’s written for a younger audience, with its simple sentence structure and graphic bodily functions in all its cringe-worthy hilarious detail. No, I’m not a fan of toilet humour but this guy gets everything he deserves. The humour continues as we meet Detective Inspector Cloth who takes up the case, and the ending is brilliant.
And now for writers…
The writing is superb, although I did still manage to find the following…
– regular readers of these reviews will know that I’m not a fan of ‘well’ at the beginning of sentences and there are a few (too many) in this story
– be careful when you have two characters of the same gender mentioned in the same section. Here we have the detective inspector think about a lawyer, then when the detective speaks, the narration has ‘he said’ which could technically refer to the lawyer.
– in the same scene, there’s only reference to one car yet the narrator says the cars (plural) would have to be removed.
– then on the same page there’s an ‘any more’ which should be ‘anymore’ as it refers to time rather than quantity.
This is my favourite story of the collection so far (a story I wish I had written!) and even if it doesn’t remain so by the end, I suspect it will be in my top three. It’s the kind of story that stays with you long after you’ve read it (and the subsequent twenty-two stories).
Normally I would have deducted a point for the errors I picked up but they should have been dealt with at the editing stage so not entirely the author’s fault.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I shall be back tomorrow with my review of Walter Mosley‘s The Sin of Dreams, the sixth story in this collection.
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a freelance editor, online tutor, prolific blogger, 2015 Head Judge for the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition, RONE 2015 Judge.
As well as a teacher of creative writing (and writing-related I.T.) for her local county council and online, Morgen will be one of five tutors at the 2017 Crime & Publishment alongside crime authors Lin Anderson and Martina Cole!
Morgen’s first love is writing and she is a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page) and has created five online writing groups. She also runs a free monthly 100-word writing competition where you can win her online creative writing courses!
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has nine others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
She also helps other authors with an inexpensive freelance editing and critiquing service (free 1,000-word sample), and welcomes, and actively helps to promote, guest authors on her blog – see opportunities.
*** Breaking news! My online creative writing courses are currently just £1 or $1-2 each
but only until 3rd April! ***
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You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating. Thank you.
If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.