I enjoy crime noir and particularly the simplicity of the hardboiled style. Most of these stories tend to be set in America and have a certain style because of it. I was intrigued to find out what a British take on hardboiled would be like. Being edited by Paul D. Brazill the the icing on the cake. I’ve always enjoyed his stories in various anthologies and so knew that I’d like at least one story in this book.
This book contains forty five short stories. Money from the sale of this book goes to two charities. One that supports children and the other helps the victims of crime. So it costs less than a frothy coffee and some of that money goes to charity. There is a wide range of stories in this book. My personal favourite was by Danny Hogan. It had an unusual view point in that there were no lifetime criminals or council estate hoodies in the story at all. A middle class and middle aged man allows his festering hatred for all that is different to boil over with violent consequences. The scary thing about this story is that it fits in perfectly with the current political climate and the rise of the right. The rest of the stories cover a broad cross-section of the country and the types of people and situations that most people can relate to on some level. There are drugs, prostitution, abuse, crime and another of my favourite stories involved the senseless escalation of violence from a pair of children having a typical spat to their parents trying to kill each other. There really are a lot of different things going on in this book and it is a really interesting insight in to the less pleasant side of British crime. Not everything dodgy in this country happens in small villages.