Originally published 2015-12-09: Eight the Hard Way | Book Review Wednesday
Eight the Hard Way was one of those short story collections I grabbed because it was available for free on Amazon. Anthologies like this are great if you’re looking for new authors to read, and this one was no exception.
It boasts “eight thrilling stories from eight masters of suspense” – and delivers on its promise.
The first, Paydown by Nick Stephenson, centers on criminologist Leopold Blake’s first ever murder investigation. Wall Street, algorithms, snark, and murder are on the menu for this tale, and it delivers the punch it promises. You can find out more about Leopold Blake and author Nick Stephenson on his website.
David Vandyke brings us a short story, Off the Leash, and an excerpt of his novel Loose Ends, which both center on the character California “Cal” Corwin, a P.I. with a past and a strange, endearing cast of friends and family around her. The excerpted book went immediately on my To Be Read list. Read more about Vandyke and Corwin here.
Mr. Mockingbird Drive threw me off at first, because it centered on the POV of a stereotypical thief with a foul mouth and the kind of personality that would be more suited to a junkyard dog than a human being. But it drew me in with fast pace and a realistic stick-up scenario. You can read more about Robert Swartwood at his website.
The next story, Ladies’ Weekend, was easily one of my favorites in the collection. The main character is a woman with a nasty personality and a grudge against the van full of women she is traveling with. It ends up being a weekend she can never forget. Learn more about Ryan King’s writing here.
Veritas: Concubine by R.S. Guthrie is the story of a man on death row, the journalist he chose to tell his story, and the last moments of a life lived with purpose. I loved the brutal justice he dealt out, and had to put more stories with him as the main character on my TBR list. Find out more about Guthrie and Veritas at the author’s website.
Kay Hadashi’s contribution, Divide and Conquer, is another tale of outsmarting evil. This time, however, the victim must use her training, nerve, and intelligence to outsmart her captors and save innocent lives in the process. June Kato is the star of several stories that you can find out about here.
Recidivist by Alan McDermott tells the story of a group of boys with sticky fingers who have been sent by their caseworkers to be rehabilitated by a sketchy but government-sanctioned organization. Find out more about the author of the Tom Gray novels here.
Michael Maxwell’s tale, Return of the Bride, left a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s a story of loss, revenge, and redemption centered in Al-Qurnah, Iraq. You can find out more about the author and his work here.
Altogether, I really liked this fast-paced, engaging collection. If you’re into suspense, or just love anthologies, this is a great one to pick up. Four of five stars.
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