Recommended Reads: Zandri, Milne, Stanley, Jaggers.

The Guilty – Vincent Zandri

the guiltyJack Marconi is a former prison warden turned private eye. In The Guilty – the third book in a hugely successful series – Marconi is hired by a successful architect and asked to investigate the rich playboy who is accused of  attempting to murder his daughter. Vincent Zandri’s The Guilty is a gripping combination of old-school hardboiled detective yarn and a ‘80s high-octane action movie. Immensely enjoyable.

Act of Madness – Dominic Milne.

act of madnessRogue cop Detective Sergeant Eddie Kane is back, and then some.  The body of a child and a headless corpse are both found floating in one of north London’s canals within weeks of each other. The Albanian mafia are shipping hopeful young men and women into London with the promise of a better life. Meanwhile, Eddie Kane is investigating an internet porn scam and is sent on a special undercover assignment at an acting school. The various story strands soon interweave, however, in a brilliant and brutal slice of crime fiction that digs deep below the surface of London life.

The Curious Case of the Missing Moolah – Martin Stanley

The Curious Case of the Missing MoolahThe Stanton Brothers are in trouble after Eric Stanton is robbed and ten grand of his boss’ money is stolen from him. As they attempt to track down the robbers, and the money, things only get worse, of course. Martin Stanley once again gives us a perfect example of Brit Grit, full of violence, humour, great characters, realistic dialogue and a fantastic sense of place.

Down In The Devil Hole – David Jaggers

down in the devil holeIn this brilliant collection of interconnected short stories, David Jaggers casts a beady eye over the broken, brutal lives of the citizens of Bronson, Kentucky as a storm approaches.  Each story is a sharp slice of the hard life and the sum of the parts is even greater than the whole. Down In The Devil Hole is powerful stuff, like a combination of Donald Ray Pollock’s Knockemstiff and Jim Thompson’s The Kill Off. Highly recommended.

 

 

Guest Blog: Down in the Hole by David Jaggers

jaggersMusing on crafting a collection of interconnected short stories.

It’s not a new concept. The short story cycle or composite novel has been around a long time. From Joyce’s Dubliners which links disparate characters to a central locale (Dublin), to The Unvanquished by Faulkner which illuminates one family from seven different angles. The idea of weaving a common thread through a group of unrelated stories is a compelling one.

Despite its usefulness, there is surprising deficit of the composite novel/novella device in modern noir. When I started the process of filtering through my body of work with the idea of pulling together a collection, I felt compelled to scrap the idea entirely and pick a single existing story to build a world around, using the composite model.

The result was Down in the Devil Hole, a cluster of stories that revolve around a fictional town in rural Kentucky and the effects of a massive storm that devastates the area. Each of these tales are set either before, during, or after the storm, and the characters are all linked together by family ties, location, or sheer bad luck.

down in the devil holeAll but one of the stories in this collection are brand new and I have to say, the challenge of making them fit together like puzzle pieces has been one of the most rewarding things I have done as a writer. Unlike chapters in a novel or novella, each of these stories have to be able to stand alone, with a beginning, middle and end. Yet they also have to carry the theme and tone of the entire work.

I hope I have achieved the goal of a building a unified world that pulls the reader in, making them want to discover all the various connections, while constructing it in a way that they can open it to any one story and be entertained with a single piece of short fiction.

Bio: J. David Jaggers lives in fly over country, where he spends his days in the white collar world of finance and his nights writing about the degenerates and losers dwelling in shadows of our brightly lit society. He has been published in Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Near to the Knuckle, Pulp Metal, and various other magazines and anthologies. He has a short story collection Down in the Devil Hole available from Gritfiction Ltd. and you can find links to all of his published work at Straightrazorfiction.com

Short, Sharp Interview: David Jaggers

down in the devil holePDB: What’s going on now?

I am excited to be releasing a collection of short stories called Down in the Devil Hole on December 19th through the boys over at Near to the Knuckle.

 

PDB: Which of your publications is the most successful?

I have been fortunate to have been able to work with some of the best crime fiction magazines out right now. From Out of the Gutter, Near to the Knuckle and Shotgun Honey. The story that has gotten me the most attention, and even some calls from agents is The Stroke of Midnight published in Thuglit issue Nineteen. It’s my most twisted story to date, and the response has been surprising to say the least.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme of 2015?

Bull Mountain has been my favorite book this year. Mad Max Fury Road has been my favorite film (note I have not seen the new Star Wars yet), and Jessica Jones has been the best thing I’ve seen on television.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

Absolutely. I treat location as one of the main characters. It informs everything from how the characters speak in dialogue to how I structure the flow of the plot. It is very important.

PDB: What’s next?

I am excited to be nearing the finish line for a novel I have been working on for some time. It’s set in North Charleston South Carolina and involves a mentally ill enforcer who is plagued by visions of the people he has killed. It has voodoo, mob hits, and some sharp twists and turns. I like to describe it as American Werewolf in London mixed with the Departed without the wolf man stuff.

jaggersBio: J. David Jaggers lives in fly over country, where he spends his days in the white collar world of finance and his nights writing about the degenerates and losers dwelling in shadows of our brightly lit society. He has been published in Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, Near to the Knuckle, Pulp Metal, and various other magazines and anthologies. He has a short story collection Down in the Devil Hole available from Gritfiction Ltd. and you can find links to all of his published work at Straightrazorfiction.com