There’s nothing cosy about these crimes.
Succulent rich stories of the dark and unknown that might terrify, horrify, or deliciously delight. Thirty-two previously published and prize winning tales that contain themes of death, destruction, abuse and emotion, each one a veritable stride into a unique and different world. From the psychologically disturbed, the raging mad, the vulnerability of victims, and desperately needy, there’s not much that isn’t covered in the dark genre for those that like their stories to be troubling, distressing and quirky. NOT for the faint of heart, this comes with a triple X warning.
“A delightfully dark rollercoaster, dipping into a selection of slickly written shorts.” — Robert Scragg, author of All That is Buried
“A patchwork quilt of daring fever dreams, stitched together with effortless, bewitching prose. Highly recommended.” — Rob Parker, author of Far from the Tree
It’s great at half term to get the chance to relax and immerse yourself in books that you’ve been waiting to indulge in, when you have got the time and headspace to really enjoy them and savour them. But if you are anything like me – you find that when you’ve really really enjoyed a book, you might not be quite ready yet to dive straight into another much-anticipated one…
And that’s where this wonderfully dark and more-ish selection of stories comes in! It was great to be able to come back from a huge sweeping drive around the Cowal peninsula and enjoy a couple of these with a gin before dinner. The diversity of story on offer here is fabulous – it’s like a box of Black Magic that I remember so vividly from my childhoood – you can take a lucky dip and be surprised at the range of tales on offer here – the common denominator is that they are all skilfully written and leave you wanting more after you’ve savoured one…
My husband was a police officer and these stories gave us a great deal to talk about over dinner and we got a lot of strange looks off the neighbouring table as we went over a particular one of these tales! It was interesting to hear that they were written by a fellow ex-cop and there must be something in that as they certainly held his attention as we worked our way through them and talked them over at length. I know that the blurb says that these tales are not for the faint hearted – and that’s absolutely right – there’s much to shock here and keep the reader on their toes but these stories do what all the best short story collections do, present humanity in all its glory from the best of us to the very worst of us and I can truly say – all human life is here…
I enjoyed being able to read them in no particular order and roam wherever I wanted to within the pages. Life is never just a bowl of cherries and that is ably demonstraed here – what cherries are present are definitely black cherries as these stories vividly depict the darker side to human nature and bring you despair, cruelty and torment within these pages – it’s not a horror selection but one that makes for excellent Halloween season reading as they definitely conjure the dark side of humanity and bring it to life right before your eyes.
I really enjoyed this collection and will be recommending it to people in my book club who enjoy being pushed to the edge in terms of their reading tastes. This is a compelling collection that has enough diversity to keep you intrigued and enough darkness to ensure that you make sure your door is locked before heading upstairs for the night! I recommend it to people who enjoy a walk on the wild side and aren’t easily shocked and hope that you enjoy these deliciously dark tales if you treat yourself to a copy
Writer On The Shelf
Effie Merryl is an ex-cop who spends her time between the North East of England and Central Scotland. She won the first Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect in 2012 with the manuscript that will hopefully become her debut crime novel. She is the pseudonymous author of a ‘faction’ book of memoirs published by Harper Collins in 2013. She has had over 150 short stories published online and in print, many of which have been placed in competitions (2004 – present). Her short story collection, Bowl of Cherries, contains some of her best prize winners, and is released on Amazon Kindle under the name F.E. Birch.