Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Genre: Crime / Noir / Short Story Anthology
Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words
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Too many authors to list (29), this collection was edited by Chris Rhatigan. You can learn more about the collection on their website.
A collection of 29 noir and crime short stories. As the editor says:
‘They’re tough, no bullshit tales about unsavoury characters. Some are fun, some are excruciating, some are poetic. Some are all three.’
This is perhaps the best collection of noir and crime short stories I’ve come across. Almost all are well written, several are excellent, none disappoint. Unfortunately there are too many to outline them all, other than the stand out tales, and even then there’s not enough space to do them justice.
All Due Respect opens with Day Tripper by Joe Clifford. Written in the first person it’s about an unnamed protagonist, who’s fallen on hard times. As he says in the opening lines:
I brush the snow and sleet from my thinning hair. Wet, sticky clumps fall like rice pudding onto the shoulders of my Salvation Army jacket I’ve reinforced with duct tape.
He picks up crumby day jobs via an employment agency, hard work for a few dollars. This time it’s moving stuff around for rich people with Jaspers, another day employee. Unfortunately the guy snaps…
In 7 Seconds by Erin Cole Pam witnesses an ex-coworker, Stan, fired the previous week for a variety of misdemeanours, shoot up the office with a semi-automatic gun. It’s a neat little story on how life can change in an incredibly short space of time:
Pam didn’t dive to the floor, that instinct to escape danger. Instead, fear raped her of muscle and shoved her down on her knees, kicked her in the gut, and spat on her head.
Leon Diggs is in trouble. He owes bad guy Findlay too much money so in Let’s Make a Deal by Scotch Rutherford, he pulls a robbery. Just as he deals with his problem he hits another speed bump.
In Hoodwinked by Nigel Bird, John Campion returns to the town he’d grown up in, now a successful author about to be turned into a movie right here. Johnny Cupcake Owens is the famous actor who’s playing the lead. Unfortunately he gets caught in an embarrassing situation and he’s told to pay a bribe or have his secret revealed. But the plan doesn’t quite proceed as anticipated.
‘By the time I’d got there they’d already taken three of his fingers’ is the opening line of Habeus Corpus by Benedict J. Jones, a nasty little tale of power and greed written in the first person with several unseen twists and turns.
Angelina is a con artist stripper in Formula and Meth by Ryan Sayles. She’s hit on a neat method to get extra cash from the guys she gives private dances to.
In The Biggest Myth by Tom Pitts, Jerome tried to set up a drug deal, but it went wrong and left him significantly in debt to money lender Christophe. It’s short, but has a good little twist at the end.
The Honeymooners by Chris Leek is about newly married Earl. But he’s not convinced a ceremony in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator is legal. His new ‘wife’ Amberley is as crooked as him though, as he finds to his cost when she discovers the bag of cash in his possession.
Richard Godwin writes tight, sharp crime with a unique edge and Donald Duck and the Avian Snitch is no exception. Micky and Jo-Jo are two friends who pull a robbery together. The trouble is Micky is convinced there’s a parrot residing up his wife’s backside.
Never Too Old For Fun is a humorous tale by Mcdroll. Two kids, Jango and Beeny, rob an old lady’ house but get much more than they bargained for from her and the caper.
An excellent set of short stories that serves as an excellent introduction to some great writers.
Swearing and adult scenes.
Rating: ***** Five Stars