Sunday, March 24, 2013

Killing Time in Vegas / Tony Black

Reviewed by: Keith Nixon

Genre: Crime Fiction/Short Story Collection

Approximate word count: 10-15,000 words

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Tony Black is an award winning national journalist who during his career covered a diverse range of stories from crime to nightclub reviews. Tony then moved into writing crime novels and novellas, with thirteen now published to critical acclaim.

More information can be found about Tony Black on his website or blog.


An anthology of seven original short stories, gathered together for the first time.


Another fine set of short stories from Tony Black, but with a difference – instead of the usual gritty Edinburgh setting we find ourselves in various locations across the USA. That being said the trademark noir atmosphere pervades each tale.

For me the sign of a good writer is being able to tell a strong story with a minimum of words - Tony Black delivers both in spades with yet more of the highest quality writing. The sense of place is excellent, the dialogue sharp & the characters very visible, all within a matter of sentences. Another interesting touch with his style – the tales are all in the first person, which results in the reader experiencing full on all of the character's angst.

In Killing Time in Vegas Francis Jarman is a steroid-driven body builder with an anger management problem. His day goes from bad to worse and when he meets one of his childhood tormentors his fuse really blows. Francis takes revenge in a gruesome but apt fashion.

The Long Drop is cleverly written and is a particular favourite. The tale starts and ends with a car crash, played out through flashbacks. The unnamed protagonist is involved in a plan to extort money from a wealthy heiress. As you can probably guess, it goes horribly wrong.

Daddy's Girl - Jonny is doing a job for crime boss Patto, however he gets involved with Patto’s daughter, Angie. Jonny's loyalty gets pulled in a new direction with bloody consequences. The underlying plot has been partially used in another of Tony Black's excellent novellas so I'll keep this one under my hat. You'll have to read it for yourself.

Enough of This Shit Already is a seedy short. Alana is beginning to have recollections of events at a party a few weeks ago. She's been branded a slut after local jock Brad was seen on top of her. To make matters worse Alana had a boyfriend who's now dumped her and all her friends are aware of the gossip. Alana begins to puts two and two together, and when she receives some shocking news decides to take revenge in a particularly final way.

Eat Shit is a cracker. A lawyer has dumped a sexual harassment suit on Eddie, telling him to stay away from Gloria. However, Gloria is a good time girl and it's all a set up. Eddie turns to old friend Miami Mike who has enough firepower behind him to draw out the truth…

I Want Candy - Jake is an ex-cop who can't get his last case out of his head so much so his life takes a downturn. He subsequently turns to a life of crime to keep his head above water but he's a mess. Then he takes a job that may help him close both the case and his problems.


Some adult language.

Format/Typo Issues:


Rating: ***** Five Stars

1 comment:

Nigel Bird said...

Tony's a craftsman. Nice review.