Sunday 25 April 2021



Synopsis/blurb ....

An eclectic collection of pulp, grit and noir stories inspired by the Capital Region of New York, a rust-belt crossroads in the shadow of the city that never sleeps. Here’s a trip led by fat slobs in smoky, vomit-stained cabs, heading to the oasis of the strip club on a street lined with rusted out factories, ventilated with beer cans and rocks. No heroes and villains in these pages, just shades of grey and characters making choices between bad and worse.

Tales of woe and macabre, the profane and ordinary dance with each other in a building where the forgotten stay, passing their street whispers like bottles from the bottom shelf.


“Liam Sweeny is my new favorite crime writer, hands down.” —CS Dewildt, author of Kill ’Em with Kindness

A thoughtful collection of short stories touching on .... loss, friendship, loneliness, forgiveness, mistakes, poor choices, consequences, love, romance, lust, sex, death, secrets, revenge, justice ..... set against a back drop of diners, bars, prison, a drive-in, the countryside, the border and a lot more besides. 

Crimes on offer are murder, arson, assault, theft, rape - probably
Sins commited - adultery, lust, envy, wrath, sloth 

It's an unusual collection insofar as each and every story satisfied me. Typically in a collection, one or two at a minimum, miss the mark and leave me cold. Not so here.

Personal favourites - Rats, Troll and White Trash on the Road to Canada.

The full collection comprises ....

The Gull Princess .... bereavement, anger, acceptance, forgiveness, melancholy, what parent wants to deal with the loss of a child

Last Night at Mesca's .... community over profit, debts need settling

Trustee ... a prison tale, strife and population control

Rats .... homelessness, friendship, camaraderie, death, message delivery

Felicity and High Midnight .... Handsy Harry and the pole dancing club, Harry gets his

The Ninth Step ... recovery, making amends

I Can't Just Let You Go .... friends, wives, girlfriends, fooling around, jealousy, scheming, 

Second Chances ... wrong crowd, drugs, crime, betting, poor choices, inattention, and opportunity lost
Drifter ... a man pays the price for inappropriate behaviour with a minor, consequences - a friendship lost, moving on

Happy Ending at the Jade Club ... a last lap dance

Troll ... an internet encounter with extreme consequences

Retired ... a cult, a second chance

White Trash on the Road to Canada .... an ill-advised road trip, might be the last one for a while 

A Gentleman's Game .... a chess match with a difference

Uncle Jerry's Outlaw Drive-In .... movies, history, connections to notoriety 

4.5 from 5

My first time reading Liam Sweeny but not my last. I'm looking forward to trying some of his longer works.

Read - March, 2021
Published - 2018
Page count - 164
Source - owned copy
Format - paperback


  1. It sounds as though these stories have a real sense of place and atmosphere, Col. Gritty stories can sometimes hit home in the way that other stories don't, so it's good to hear that these worked for you. And I agree about most collections of short stories. Rarely do you find a collection where every story ticks the boxes.

    1. Margot, I really enjoyed this collection. It's rare indeed that every story resonates.