Brit Grit Alley features news and updates on what's happening down British crime fiction's booze and blood soaked alleyways.
Evenin' all! This week's guest columnist is the very smashing TONY BLACK. He's going to talk about short stories, since his own short stories have recently been released in two Kindle collections: LONDON CALLING (UK-set stories) and KILLING TIME in VEGAS (US-set stories). Tony Black is Irvine Welsh's "favourite British crime writer", BTW. He's the author of the cracking Gus Dury series of Edinburgh crime novels: PAYING FOR IT; GUTTED; LOSS and LONG TIME DEAD. A second tasty series, featuring DI Rob Brennan includes: TRUTH LIES BLEEDING and MURDER MILE. His novel THE STORM WITHOUT is set in Burns Country and was described by Ken Bruen as "The great Scottish novel". For more information, and the latest news visit his website
THE SHORT OF IT by Tony Black
There's something beyond merely good writing that defines a good short story. A great read, in this miniature form, goes beyond voice or character or setting. You know when you've read a great short because it stays with you forever. It carves out a little niche for itself in your mind that makes you pause and say, 'Yeah, that's so right.'
Most shorts, don't do this. And that's fine, the quick-fix can be a heady cocktail too. But when they're done well, they're something special.
Shorts are also very difficult to write. Like a condensed form of the novel they need to have a hell of a lot going on in their limited ambit. I could go on, but I guess you get the idea that I love short stories.
So here's ten short stories - broadly in the crime genre - that I rate particularly highly. They're in no particular order, but each offer a slightly different take on the theme of crime, and each is the work of a modern master.
1 Ernest Hemingway, The Killers.
2 El Doctorow, Jolene: A Life.
3 Jay McInerney, Third party.
4 William McIlvanney, At the Bar.
5 Guy De Maupassant, The Necklace.
6 Cathi Unsworth, Trouble is a Lonesome Town.
7 Jim Thompson, Forever After.
8 Mulk Raj Anand, The Thief.
9 Barry Graham, Big Davey Joins the Majority
10 Irvine Welsh, The Shooter.