Gerard Brennan’s new novella Wee Rockets is burning a hole in my Kindle right now, but I first became aware of his work through a piece he did at Pulp Pusher back in July. Nothing But Time is brutal and claustrophobic, exactly what you want from a prison story, and fair drips with menace. Brennan has a very engaging voice, a keen eye for character and his dialogue bangs. Think he’s going to do big things.
Heath Lowrance’s work induces fangirl levels of admiration in me since reading Dig Ten Graves earlier in the year. Gun to my head, just pick one story - Incident on a Rain-Soaked Corner edges it. It’s atmospheric and surreal, has that Kafka-esque thing you see in a lot of Lowrance’s short fiction, and the writing is first class.
I love a good punch-up and Kent Gowran delivers a great one in Sea Legs, over at Pulp Metal Mag. At lot of violence in crime fiction is meaningful, even if the meaning is kind of stupid, but Gowran understands the drive friends have to knock the shit out of each other sometimes, just because. Fight scenes are tough to get right and this one’s skillfully handled, got that pace and snap but with a bit of drag, just like a real brawl. About time he wrote a novel really.
Steve Weddle’s A Day in the Life is a brand new piece, from Luca Veste's charity e-book Off The Record, and it really stood out among the carnage and general bastardry of the collection. It’s a beautifully balanced story about loss, set in that strange, jet-laggish period when you know the death is coming but can’t do anything. Powerful, sparely written genius.
Finishing on a lighter note; Cameron Ashley’s Everything Works Out for Once at Shotgun Honey. Funny and nicely observed; I loved how Ashley skewered the Italian machismo cliché. The characters are strong and one of them apparently looks like Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon. Sold.