Thursday 18 March 2021




Trouble has a habit of finding some people. 

Kitchenhand Deron thinks he’s hit the jackpot when a routine delivery of vegetables turns out to be contraband. The problem is it belongs to somebody else. And they want it back.

Financier Hamish has got involved in the arms trade and business is good. However, he’s unwittingly made a formidable foe. One who will stop at nothing for revenge.

Ken’s fed up with the nine-to-five. An illegal venture with girlfriend Laura brings the job satisfaction he craves, but also attention from organised crime. This could all go horribly wrong. 

These sharp, shocking and suspenseful stories are a must read. 

‘Dangerously droll crime capers’ – Adam Riley, Comedian

If you like dark humorous crime, you'll love Mangetout

Three stories here, Mangetout, Payback and Grower. Two of them concern drugs, one the arms trade. All crime stories and all with humourous undertones, though I don't think my sides were ever in danger of splitting.

MANGETOUT is set in a frenzied restaurant kitchen, where a delivery of the aforementioned vegetable comes with a stash of drugs tucked inside. Our sous chef, Deron not a stranger to the attractions of the illicit merchandise trousers it himself. Inevitably the owners of the property want it back. 

Drugs, foreign crims, interrogation, imprisonment, escape and a slightly improbable turning of the tables.

PAYBACK involves a bereft Yemeni warload through his Iranian contacts, tracking down posh mummy's boy, Hamish and setting up an elaborate sting to snare Hamish's mother. Revenge is sweet and in this case fairly brutal.

GROWER .. drugs, redundancy, family secrets, a girlfriend on the side, a new career, people traffickers, death, and more.

I enjoyed all the stories. Maybe the second one dragged on a bit, though I found it the funniest of the three. There's something about the posh, plums in the mouth, silver-spoon brigade that gets my rag. 

Interesting characters, decent set-ups, satisfying payoffs. What else do you need?

My first time with author Guy Portman, but probably (time allowing) not my last. 

3.5 from 5

Read - March, 2021

Published - 2021

Page count - 164

Source - review copy via Voracious Readers

Format - Kindle


  1. The everyday person who's maybe a bit down and out can make for a solid protagonist, especially when that person gets drawn into bigger (and possibly nastier) things. The setups here do look interesting, Col, and I'm glad you found they kept your interest. I often think short stories are great on that score.

    1. Margot, I do like shorter pieces in my reading, not always but often enough. I think it's tricky to manage the character development in them, but it worked well here.

  2. Not exactly my preferred type of crime fiction, but I like that it is three stories.

    1. I enjoyed them all. I think my other book from him is a longer novel with one story getting told. I'll be interested to see how that works for me.