Saturday, 24 January 2015

NIGEL BIRD - SMOKE


Synopsis/blurb….

"Grim, but really good" Ian Rankin

Carlo Salvino returns home missing an arm and a leg. He's keen to win back the affections of his teenage girlfriend and mother of his child. If he can take his revenge on the Ramsays, so much the better.

The Ramsay brothers are keen to move up in the world and get the hell out of town. They gather all their hopes in one basket, 'The Scottish Open' dog-fighting tournament. In Leo they have the animal to win it; all they need to complete the plan is a fair wind.

The Hooks, well they're just a maladjusted family caught up in the middle of it all.

A tale of justice, injustice and misunderstanding, 'Smoke' is a 22,000-word novella that draws its inspiration from characters introduced in the short story 'An Arm And A Leg' (first published by Crimespree Magazine and later in 'The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime Stories 8').

PRAISE FOR SMOKE

"Nigel Bird takes his readers to some dark places, but there is also beauty in this harsh reality. The twin narratives of Jimmy and Carlo weave through the story like sparring boxers, ducking and diving before closing on each other as bell sounds for the brutal final round. Rarely have I come across an author who writes with such humanity and feeling for the people he creates." Out Of The Gutter Magazine

PRAISE FOR NIGEL BIRD

'A fantastic writer.' Donald Ray Pollock, author of THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME

'I sought out everything I could from him. I dare you to read and not do the same.' Chris F Holm, author of DEAD HARVEST

Smoke was my first introduction to author Nigel Bird, though with a couple of his other titles stored on the kindle – Southsiders and In Loco Parentis – it won’t be my last.

81 pages and a tale of low-lifes and chancers in a small Scottish town……. dog fighting, beatings, fractured relationships, fish and chip shops, ice cream vans, pubs, drug abuse, dodgy DVDs, teenage motherhood, a cripple in a wheelchair and a bag of cash stashed under the bed of the two Tranent hard-men, the Ramsay brothers. Characters all with something to strive for……ambition, plans, schemes, revenge, opportunity……….and a better life perhaps.

Grim, brutal, never pretty but laced with enough black humour and cautious optimism from some of the more likeable characters to elevate it above being a bleak and hopeless read.

Not for the faint-hearted – ever seen a steam-iron employed as a hair-straightener?

4 from 5


Nigel Bird has his website-blog here.

Bought last year sometime on Amazon, read December 2014


   

12 comments:

  1. Col - I've been hoping you would read some of NIgel Bird's work; I thought he might be up your street. Glad you liked this. And actually, I have seen a steam iron used as a hair straightener. Fortunately it wasn't on me.

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    1. Margot thanks. I'll definitely be back to him soon. Intrigued about your experiencne with previously mentioned domestic appliance!

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  2. What caught my attention here was 'Out of the Gutter Magazine'. the mind boggles. Do you have a lifetime subscription I wonder, it sounds as though you would like it.

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    1. I did used to get the magazine for a while. but reluctantly stopped. There are some unread issues in the tubs - as you would expect. I will have to track them down and post about or better still read and review them!

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  3. When you say "not for the faint-hearted" I am pretty sure that means not for me. Although it might be interesting and the length is good. You obviously were not a teenage girl in the 60's (or before, I am sure) if you haven't heard of straightening hair with an iron. My hair was always straight anyway.

    Did you see that The Life We Bury by Eskens was nominated for an Edgar in the Best First Novel category? I will bet he is pretty excited. Also Shovel Ready, which you were not so fond of.

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    1. I never knew that teenage girls would use an iron back then for actual hair straightening. It's not the aim here in this story - a torture prop in this instance. SMOKE is set in Scotland, but I don't know if the author is Scottish, otherwise it might be a short addition for the READ SCOTLAND challenge.

      I did see Eskens got nominated. Hmm - Shovel Ready - others obviously saw more in it than I did. Let's see what wins!

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    2. I figured the iron had to be for a more nefarious use since you mentioned it... I think this would count for the Read Scotland challenge. I will keep it in mind.

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    3. You could always twist Glen's arm to buy it then borrow!

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  4. Big thanks for the wonderful words Col. I'm not Scottish, by the way, but I've been here for fifteen years now and feel at home.
    This is the paragraph that I loved here - 'Grim, brutal, never pretty but laced with enough black humour and cautious optimism from some of the more likeable characters to elevate it above being a bleak and hopeless read.' As far as I'm concerned you've nailed the intention in so far as there was one.
    Thanks again.

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    1. Nigel - cheers for dropping by. I'm looking forward to reading more of your stuff in the future.

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  5. Col, I don't mind reading "grim" and "brutal" stories and this one isn't bleak or hopeless, as you say. I'll definitely check out Nigel Bird's fiction.

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    1. I don't think I will upset them with the comparison, but I think Nigel Bird, plays in the same ball park as Paul D. Brazill, Keith Nixon and Anonymous-9,

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