I don't read a whole lot of horror/suspense fiction --- which these stories are, collected under the broad umbrella of "noir" --- so when I do I try to be selective. Having run across a number of Paul's stories here and there and enjoying each of them, I was anxious to check out this anthology. Plus, Paul is another buddy from the HC Collective.
In any event, diving into 13 SHOTS and devouring its contents pretty much in one setting, I did not come away disappointed.
This collection of stories by short-fiction master Paul Brazill is a nifty, nasty mix that covers the gamut from noir to crime to suspense to horror to black humor, and then back again.
Most of the stories are set in England and Brazill's descriptions and use of colloquial language are spot-on and highly entertaining in and of themselves. He sets his scenes deftly and then plunges into the characters and situations and the reader each time is hurtled along, mesmerized to read the next passage in order to find out where the tale is going—and, more often than not, the conclusion arrives with a neatly unexpected twist.
"Tut", the opening tale of the set and a 2010 Spinetingler nominee, is probably my favorite of the lot. It's an expertly paced telling of slowly escalating madness. But there is plenty of madness—and menace, to be sure—in the rest of the stories as well. Like I said at the outset: A nifty, nasty mix that should not be missed.
Persevere --- WD