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The Suspense and Mystery Collection of Short Stories for Charity
Dark Minds is a wonderful collection of 41 crime stories. The exciting, thrilling and sometimes touching stories are simply awesome – all for charity!
It is December, in the weeks before Christmas we buy presents for our loved ones, fill the house with holly and beautiful ornaments, prepare a dinner for family and friends to enjoy each other’s company, the food, the drink. What better time to think of those who are less privileged, to share a little bit of our good fortune and happiness with people who need it the most? With buying this collection of thrilling short stories you donate to Sophie’s Appeal and Hospice UK.
Fred Freeman, co-founder of Bloodhound Books, has written a beautiful foreword. In his words ‘Dark Minds’, with many awesome contributors, is: “a celebration of crime fiction.” May I add that the dedication and commitment of Bloodhound Books, all those wonderful authors and last but not least my fellow book bloggers for me truly represents the spirit of Christmas. I invite you to read my review and have a tantalising taste of ‘Dark Minds’ on YouTube.
Hereunder I’ve tried to capture each of the 41 stories in a few lines. But maybe you love to be surprised, to dive into the stories without any previous knowledge. Let me tell you it’s a wonderful and exciting mixture of expertly written thrillers, horror, detective and crime stories. Almost every story comes with an awesome plot twist that will catch you unawares, you will keep guessing until the plot is revealed. It’s a fascinating compilation of sinister plots and you can treat yourself to a story or two a day or just dive in completely. Enjoy the riveting tales of 41 masters of suspense!
B.A. Morton kicks off with ‘Ten Green Bottles’ a story that throws you right in. It’s intriguing but also utterly confusing. There’s someone covered in blood, an attack, a DS Fuller and somehow Zoe, the one covered in blood, has messed up badly, resulting in multiple deaths. In ‘London’s Crawling’ Emma Pullar takes us on a terrifying trip through London, a frightened Jody is meeting her friends and cannot understand why London is so quiet, why there is no one about on the streets, in the buildings. She’s getting more scared by the minute as she fears she’s being followed, as her phone loses any signal and Jody has no idea what is happening, what horrors will await her. Louise Jensen shows us the terrified pensioner Bill, who fears an attack on him in his own home, like the ones he hears about in the news. When he hears sounds Bill freaks out in ‘The Shoes Maketh the Man.’
‘Never tell a lie’ is Tara Lyon‘s thrilling contribution about a boy turning into the man his father told him to. A man used to getting what he wants, who doesn’t take no for an answer and is now obsessed with Fiona, the one who refused to date him because she is married. There’s a Christmas special coffee in it and with Richard Burke‘s ‘a Christmas Killing’ we remain in the Christmas theme. It’s a strange story about a man, living alone, who names the Christmas turkey Angela but just when you know it’s a turkey, there’s more hidden beneath the surface. Next up is ‘By the Water‘, Betsy Reavley‘s chilling tale of horrible events, of a woman losing track of her personality, of something sinister and of a stabbing involving so much blood. We have barely time to recover from the plot twist when Tony Cox‘ ‘a Cup of Cold Coffee and a Slice of Life’ cunningly weaves an incredible story within a chat between two elderly ladies having coffee.
‘Slow Roast Pork‘ by S.E. Lynes reminds me of a chilling Roald Dahl story. There’s a wife reporting her husband missing. When she is anxious, she just loves to cook and the police who come after she called them in, cannot have enough of her delicious meals. I felt cold shivers down my spine upon ending Ross Greenwood‘s ‘A Lawful Killing’. It’s about good and evil, a man directing his anger and frustration into the wish, the need to kill. Nicoletta remembers the thrill of her first stealing expedition at the age of three in ‘Sticky Fingers‘, the story in which JT Lawrence shows us the mind of a kleptomaniac. ‘You will meet a tall, dark, strangler’ is the message Joanne receives from an astrologist and could it be more sinister? Read Ron Nicholson‘s story and you will know. A man throws a woman’s lifeless body into the water in Lisa Hall‘s ‘The Wages of Sin’. Both the man and the reader try to grasp what happened before.
If you have read KA Richardson you know she writes creepy stories, ‘Hidden’ begins with a woman screaming and ends with cold shivers down your spine. ‘The Sydney Dahlia’ starts out quite harmlessly with a woman picking up a man at a bar. And just when you think it’s ended, A.J. Sendall comes with a plot twist. ‘I love both Pete Adams’ ‘Pop Dead – the Pension Papers’, a refreshingly humorous and a bit naughty intermezzo, as A.S. King‘s touching story ‘The Sins of Murial McGarry’, with Murial as the spirit of Christmas. ‘The Shepherd’s Bothy’ by LJ Ross sets out with two detectives driving in bad weather conditions ending up somewhere they would never have thought. ‘Life after Life’ is an ingenious tale by Paul Brazill of Raymond, who is offered a job but has no idea of the consequences. In ‘The smallest Acorn’ April Taylor shows us the life of Joanne, about to change dramatically when she finds her husband murdered.
Joel Harnes‘s ‘An Onion’ paints a picture of Eric, from the moment his life’s work is celebrated. Not until you get to ‘the Core’ you realise what was going on. ‘I’ve gone’ is a completely illogical and beautiful tale of love by Anita Waller. In Simon Maltman‘s Kafkaesque ‘The Bridge’ private investigator Chris has no idea what he lets himself in for when meeting a prospective client. Jim Ody‘s ‘The Moth Jar’ is a disturbing love story and Steven Dunne‘s ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ a sad tale with a plot twist about a hungry homeless man. Speaking of a plot twist you won’t see coming: check out ‘Be careful what you wish for’ by Peter Best. “Vernon Russell stole my life, not once but twice.” How true the first words of ‘My own eggsecutioner’ are we find out upon finishing Tess Makovesky‘s story. Speaking about the truth behind words, in Alex Walters‘ ‘One Last Job’ the title reveals the macabre plot.
Paul Gitsham tells us a confusing story of a man who has no idea who he is or what he’s been through in ‘A Stranger’s Eyes’. He is covered in blood and frantically tries to recall what happened. In ‘Dangerous Actions’ by M.A. Comley Beth persuades her friend Joanne to socialise more after her horrible experience with former boyfriend Mark. Stephen Edger‘s ‘Captive’ is simply horrible and starts with young, innocent Daisy. ‘Left Behind’ is Nick Jackson’s fascinating story about a lonely man, haunted by his thoughts, his fears, his utter loneliness and distraught. Roz White shows us the inner fears of a terrified woman, walking the streets alone, pursued by a menacing stranger in ‘Horror’. I love David Evans’ touching story ‘Mary and Joseph’. In Lucy Hall‘s horror tale ‘Love you to Death’ the title can be taken literally. ‘Fastball‘ by Alex Shaw is a spy story with a twist.
Jane James writes about an author’s retreat where things do not add up in ‘The Retreat’. Mark Fowler’s title ‘Out of Retirement’ sounds pretty harmless, but let’s see if Miss Wilson is just that. Don’t go to Marsh Town, Johnny Ray!’ by Charlie Flowers and Hannah Haq is a story about the bond between a man and his dog. In B.A. Steadman‘s ‘Everything comes..’ Jay is let out of prison after 15 years. Why she was there and how she picks up her life .. you’ll have to read for yourself. The last story in this unique and fascinating compilation is the bonus story ‘#106’ by the 17-year old Jenna-Leigh Golding, an aspiring writer. I can only say wow! I think she’s already crossed the threshold between aspiring and author successfully. It’s quite a gruesome story and the perfect, if very disturbing, ending of ‘Dark Minds‘ – the fantastic 2016 Christmas crime bundle for charity!
I am proud to participate in this fantastic initiative: a crime book with 41 short stories of which the proceeds go to charity. It’s truly fitting with the December spirit and I hope that many people will buy the book. The stories are entertaining, engaging, horrific, lovely and thrilling. Among my favourites are Tony Cox’ two elderly ladies chatting over a cup of coffee, Pete Adams’ naughty story, Emma Pullar’s horror tale and David Evans’ story of love.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Give generously to those in need and buy the book for yourself or as the perfect Christmas present for a loved one.
|Publisher||Bloodhound Books (12 Dec. 2016)|