“Late City”

Robert Olen Butler’s “Late City” is quite simply fantastic. It is a novel full of depth and feeling and passion; it is truly inventive, superbly written, fluid yet really well structured; and somewhat amazingly – given its subject – something of a page-turner. The ending made me cry. This is the first time I have… Read More “Late City”


There is something quite enigmatic and magical about Anne Rouse’s latest collection, “Ox-Eye”. Many of her images are nuanced, coded, almost just out of reach. It is as if she has an idea, taken one step away from it to ‘make it poetic’ (as is the way with poets!), and then taken another step away… Read More “Ox-Eye”


The premise for Mark Watson’s “Contacts” is original and intriguing, and one filled with real potential – especially for the writer. Unfortunately, to my mind, this potential is never quite realised. I’m afraid I found the narrative a little flimsy and, in spite of the book’s 370 pages, for me the characters never made it… Read More “Contacts”

“The Kingdoms”

If you’ve read my previous reviews – all the way back into 2018! – you’ll know that I loved Natasha Pulley’s “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” and “The Bedlam Stacks”. Sadly I can’t say the same of “The Kingdoms”. The beginning of the book is something of a confused muddle. I know the main character… Read More “The Kingdoms”

“Lean Fall Stand”

Jon McGregor is nothing if not inventive and challenging – and “Lean Fall Stand” is both of those things. Spoiler alert! The primary action of the novel (covered in the ‘Lean’ part of the story) concerns an ill-fated expedition in Antarctica. The rest of the novel – ‘Fall’ and ‘Stand’ – narrates the post-expedition experiences… Read More “Lean Fall Stand”

Writing longhand…

“you have to make an effort when putting pen to paper; it’s more meaningful; you leave something of yourself in the marks you make” Caroline, in my forthcoming story “Smoking in the Park”

One little word…

The other day I read my short story “Park’n’Ride” at a local writing group. Someone whose opinion I respect described it as ‘brilliant’. It was – needless to say – a real boost! Of course it was also a demonstration of how subjective our appreciation of writing – or any art – is. “Park’n’Ride” has… Read More One little word…

Two New Podcast Episodes

I have just published two new episodes on my “Walking Thru’ Fire” podcast; both are short stories. “Downsizing” – sometimes short stories can surprise you, emerging not from specific ideas or experiences, but growing organically from seeds which you are later unable to identify or remember. “Downsizing” is one such story. It will be included… Read More Two New Podcast Episodes