Book Review: Criminal Love and Other Stories by Mike Monson

Criminal Love and Other Stories by Mike Monson is a hodge podge of a book. The first third is a collection of short noir tales. Some of these are as short as a few pages long. The stories pack a punch and some would make a great premise for longer stories or even novels. It is amazing how much story Monson can put in just a few pages. Most of the tales take place around Monson’s current home of Modesto, California, but one standout tale for me was “An Evening in Sin City.” This story is about a couple on vacation in Las Vegas. When the wife just wants to stay in the room and watch the same old reality television she would be watching at home, the husband decides to go downstairs and play some craps. When he wins big and catches the eye of a young attractive women who looks like Cher in her youth the story really takes off and doesn’t end the way you would think.

The middle third of the book is some short stories of Monson’s own experiences working at different locations. Some of these are humorous and some insightful and some are just disturbing how big corporations see their employees.

The last third of the book is a few interviews with crime authors. The four authors interviewed are Tyler Dilts, Jason Starr, Jake Hinkson and J.A.(Julie) Kazimer. I have not read any of these four, but look forward to checking out their work based on these interviews. It was interesting to see how different and how similar all of them are.

So the book is very entertaining in a variety of ways. Some may find only one or two section of the book to their liking, but the whole book is worth reading. All Due Respect does it again with another great entry in the noir genre! I haven’t read anything from these guys that I did not like yet. I look forward to reading more from this publisher in the future. Check out their website for all the books they have available.

Book Review: 13 Shots of Noir by Paul D. Brazill

13 Shots of Noir is a short story collection from Paul D. Brazill. All 13 of these stories are very short and snappy. In most of these stories I felt if Raymond Chandler was writing today, it would read a lot like this. His characters have sharp tongues and use smart ass remarks mixed with popular culture references that put a smile on your face as you read them. These stories are obviously drenched in noir like the great story with a hardboiled private detective, but we also get a bit of other genre fiction. One story even involving werewolves and one of my favorites from the collection involving vampires, strip club vampires no less! This has a good mix of stories to keep you entertained, some are shots to the knee that may drop you, some might be to the gut, even a few head shots that will leave you reeling. There are a few stories that you are thinking one thing…and then you read that last sentence or two and you think “I did not see that coming.”  It’s amazing how some of these shorts can tell so much story on so few pages.

Paul D. Brazill is from across the pond in England and some of the language and references reflect that. I picked this up on my Nook for a whooping 99 cents, so not only is it a great read, it’s a bargain too. Snag a copy for your E-reader and you won’t be disappointed.

I think fans of good short stories, noir and even horror fans will enjoy this collection. I look forward to reading more from Brazill in the future.