Title: Exit Wounds
Author: Various – edited by Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan
Publisher: Titan Books
A brand-new anthology of crime stories written by masters of the genre.
Featuring short stories by: A.K. Benedict, Mark Billingham, Steph Broadribb, Lee Child, John Connolly, Fiona Cummins, Jeffrey Deaver, Paul Finch, Christopher Fowler, Alex Gray, Sarah Hilary, Louise Jensen, Dean Koontz, Joe R. Lansdale, Dennis Lehane, Val McDermid, James Oswald, and Martyn Waites.
Exit Wounds is a brilliant anthology of short crime stories from some of the genre’s biggest and best names.
I have to admit that I’ve never really been a ‘short story person’. I always preferred the investment and story development of a full length novel, but the fact these are only short means you’re left wanting much more, especially the stories that really hook you in with great characters and an intriguing premise. This is when I kind of wish they weren’t short stories but ‘full length’, just so I can read more and more. Saying that, it’s SO satisfying to read multiple, interesting plots – albeit short ones – and experience lots of great ideas within a collection that’s less than 400 pages. This mix of separate narratives truly sparks the imagination in a different way than one long story, and you have absolutely no time to get bored! So this has completely changed my mind about short stories!
I love that each story is markedly different but all on the theme of crime – and all with a decidedly (and delightedly) dark twist! I liked that each had its own spin on ‘crime’, and featured every kind of character, from serial killers and unhappy, controlled teenagers to beaten, vengeful wives.
The way you get to almost sample the writing style of various different authors is a great way to discover a new crime author… though the authors in this anthology are really big names, so you’ve probably already read something by most of them before! The stories are absorbing and intriguing, though some provoked really strong emotions in me.
Lebensraum by Christopher Fowler made me angry and upset for the landlady who is the main character in that tale, and Dancing Towards The Blade by Mark Billingham made me even more angry on behalf of Vincent, who is victimized by racist bullies. There are also plenty of stories which left me feeling triumphant and/ or satisfied; I particularly enjoyed Happy Holidays by Val McDermid (featuring DCI Carol Jordan), Booty and the Beast by Joe R Lansdale, Dead Weight by Fiona Cummins, and Fool You Twice by Steph Broadribb (an author I haven’t read anything by before, but will definitely turn to in future).
Overall, I highly recommend this anthology for any crime fan, particularly if you’re a short story fan – but even if you’re not usually, like me. I hugely enjoyed Exit Wounds and will be buying it as a present for various reader friends who I know will also really enjoy it.
Many thanks to Titan Books for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.