Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Approximate word count: 20-25,000 words
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Nick Quantrill was born and raised in the industrial English city of Hull. He’s a prolific short story writer but has also produced two full-length crime novels with protagonist PI Joe Geraghty. A third is in process.
You can read more about the author on his website.
Sam is just hours out of prison after a stretch for manslaughter. Despite being determined to get back on the straight and narrow, he’s immediately drawn back into a life of crime by his best friend Jonno. A drugs exchange goes wrong and before he knows it Sam is being squeezed between two local hard men – the Nolan brothers and Roberto Tardelli, whilst he tries to learn more about the death of his younger sibling.
Bang Bang… is an excellent story that hits the ground running. Quantrill is highly effective in subsequently winding up the tension and by the concluding pages, the characters are fit to burst.
The story is set in the author’s home town of Hull (where I happened to live for a decade on and off). Quantrill paints the run down aspect of the area in stark and accurate fashion, creating an excellent grim backdrop for the criminal element to play in. However, he manages not to let the city dominate the story. I can’t recall a single character that is perfectly clean (even the local copper DS Whitehurst seems to have a potentially shady side). I particularly liked the Nolan brothers who proudly showed off their new car crusher, and informed Sam and his friends how it could be used to deal with people that have offended them, too. They’re not someone I’d like to cross.
This is a fast-read novella, mainly because the slick, intelligent fashion in which it’s constructed draws the reader through the story. Personally, I was keen to reach the end and learn who was the cause of all the troubles – and when it arrived it was a surprise.
The prose is gritty and sharp enough to cut yourself on if you don’t handle it carefully. A great read.
Some adult language.
Rating: **** Four Stars