One of the truly wonderful outcomes of the move toward self and small publishing in an electronic format is the increase in the number of short story collections available. Previously, there were precious few at the local bookstore. Normally they were anthologies which included a mix of old and new material and even then only one or two a year in the genre.
Sure, there are the exceptions, such as Frank Bill Jr’s excellent Crimes in Southern Indiana, which find their way to traditional distribution. But, as fantastic as it is, it alone is not enough for those of us who love short fiction. Here are some of our current favorite collections available as eBooks and/or on Kindle. Not one of these is priced at more than £2.50, so they represent great value too for crime fiction lovers.
The Chaos We Know by Keith Rawson
This collection plays to the soul of dirty crime fiction and noir. Pulling no punches, offering no pretty hopes, it lays a world at your feet and demands that you respond to it. The stories here are gripping and full of rounded and deep characters and emotion. They just don’t close the loose ends because life doesn’t close all loose ends.
Beat on the Brat by Nigel Bird
This is set of rough stories. Bad luck, poor choices and flawed people fill the pages. There is an air of malice throughout and a need for revenge is never far from the minds of the characters. You will find yourself cheering horrible acts, and rooting for distasteful people. Still, there is hope to be found in these tales from the compassion that can come through all the bad.
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles by Edward A Grainger
If you don’t feel that the old west is a great setting for crime fiction, this superior work will convince you otherwise. It’s full of developed and empathy-inducing characters. These are compelling and thought provoking stories in a complete and engrossing setting that will transport you to the wild west and into the lives of these two marshals.
Gone Bad by Julie Morrigan
These stories are rough. Disturbing in parts, but never for shock value, the raw and often violent scenes inside are thought provoking. Many times you will find yourself considering the resolution to the events you read about – resolutions that may only happen in your mind as the author leaves you to twist as she does to her characters.
8 Pounds by Chris Holm
This set of dark tales has an unparalleled sense of place. You can see, feel and even smell the surroundings in the stories Holm creates. There are times to follow action, times to fear, and times to be sickened by what you find – not due to gore, but for the emotional impact the stories have. Of special note here is the story The World Behind. It is the best single short story I have read in years.
Brit Grit by Paul D Brazill
What I love about this collection is that I can thoroughly enjoy the story, and get lost in characters, even though many of the terms and social jokes mean nothing to me at all. The language, idioms, and repeated characters and places gave me a sense that these were scenes from the same place over time. It’s a window into a gritty world. The author has indicated that many of these events and characters are based on true events, but one of them isn’t. Check this collection out and see which one you hope is pure fiction.
Dig Ten Graves by Heath Lowrance
This collection of crime and horror is gripping. Mr Lowrance has developed a style and pace that keep you guessing, keep you turning the page and looking around corners. It plays on fear and hope, lifting and dashing as needed.
Pulp Ink edited by Nigel Bird and Chris Rhatigan
Here a series of talented crime fiction writers each took a line from the script or sound track of Tarrantino’s film Pulp Fiction and based a short story on it. Please see our full review of this collection.
Cool list, guys! Proud to be on there.
Thanks so much for the mention – I couldn’t have asked to be in better company. Made my day!
7 books that have rocked my world this year and one that is about to.
How fantastic to be here and what sublime taste you have.
Thanks very much. Glad you enjoed mt scrawl. That’s some great company to keep!
Thanks for the kind mention — this made my day! I’m in some damn fine company.
I’ve just published my debut thriller ‘Devil’s Orphans – No 1 Ester Gray Thriller’ by Jake Corey.
This is a gritty, down to earth thriller. A real page turner. Ester Gray was trained by the best, her father. Brought up under unusual circumstances, she is an expert in unarmed combat and survival. Her father also taught her morality, loyalty and determination. Her prodigy and partner is James, brought up in the drugs underworld by a drug addicted and abused mother. The two team up with the hardest that Newcastle has to offer to secure the release of James’s mother and defeat the Romanian mafia in Britain. Physical skill, combined with intelligence and brute force against the most ruthlessness and violent gang in Britain.
This novel is about 320 pages long.
It’s received 5* reviews.
Available for download for 86p or 99cents. All money goes to a Children’s Charity.
I hope that you decide to give it a read and enjoy this thriller.
Thanks for reading this.
Thanks for all the comments folks.
Jake – Thanks for the info on your book. The best way to discuss this with us is to drop us an email via the About section of the site.
To be grouped with these other top writers brings a smile to this pulp hack’s face. Thank you. It is deeply appreciated.
Great to see short stories getting the attention they deserve!
All great titles, I’m glad to see I’ve read 6 out of 8 of them…will be investing in the other 2 asap.
Ebooks have really given a new outlet for what is an often overlooked form of story telling.
If you like these collections you might want to check out Tough As Leather, the Noah Milano collection.
It features 12 PI stories for a buck and can be found at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com
Try The Killer by Jack Elgos, it’s free at Amazon, v good read