Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Genre: Crime/Short Story Collection
Approximate word count: 15-20,000 words
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Col Bury was born and still lives in his hometown of Manchester. He is the editor of crime magazine Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers. Col has been widely published in a number of anthologies and collections and the critically acclaimed short story collection, Manchester 6. Col is a Manchester City fan, which just shows you can’t have everything.
You can learn more about the author on his blog.
The Cops of Manchester is a collection of twelve short stories on life as a cop in Manchester England.
Col Bury is an author closely associated with the Brit Grit genre – epitomized by tough, no-nonsense writing – and The Cops of Manchester clearly fits smack bang in the middle of it. The stories within vary significantly in length and stretch along the continuum from humorous to hard. As the title implies all are based in Manchester and have police officers at the core of each story.
The collection starts with Broken, only a matter of pages and a brutal image of life betrayed.
Death Message is a longer, much lighter tale where a probationary Constable has to deliver notice of the demise of a member of the public to a relative. However, he makes a fundamental error which is on one hand funny, the other incredibly incompetent (and believable).
Frantic is short and shocking. A paedophile is living in the area and an off-duty policeman is shopping with his children. It’s a quite disturbing ‘what if’ tale that would deliver a shiver to any parent.
The Writing on The Wall is a nasty story. A couple buy a house and uncover scores on the wall. I won’t say any more in case of giving it away. It’s sad and harsh.
Eyes Wide Shut is a cracker, one of the best in the collection. A policeman is tied to a chair by a local man who accuses him and his partner of raping his prostitute daughter. The policeman tries to talk his way out of a certain death.
Mopping Up is a story that deserves turning into a full length novel. A vigilante (The Hoodie Hunter) is mopping up local crime, literally knocking off the criminals. The police are trying their hardest to catch him, but without success. This short covers the vigilante taking out a small gang. Neatly written from several perspectives.
Overall a good collection that showcases the author’s obvious talent.
Adult language and situations.
Rating: **** Four Stars