Sunday, 2 February 2014

Thin Men, Paper Suits by Tin Larrick (book)

It feels like ages since I've reviewed a book for this blog. I've taken to publishing a monthly review digest of all the books I've read or listened to on my Stephanie Jane blog. However, none of these have been 'local' - until now!

Tin Larrick tweeted to make me aware of the launch of his new book. It was only published a couple of weeks ago so you can still be one of its earliest readers by buying now! Thin Men, Paper Suits is a collection of nine short stories which are mostly situated around Eastbourne. It is only available as an ebook and can be purchased for Kindle for 77p or downloaded for free from Smashwords.

Darkly humorous, more than a little profane, largely criminal and peppered with twists, the collection includes tales of a huge police search operation for a missing child, a suicidal mortuary attendant, a hapless band of bottom-feeding dope smugglers, a displaced Cold War spy with a yearning for the old days and a house with unspeakable secrets. Tin says that "the bitesize stories are perfect for those theatre intervals" and I will add that they're also perfect for sun loungers in Portugal. (Yes, ok, I'm gloating a bit here!). The following ten word synopses will hopefully whet your appetites ...

THIN MEN, PAPER SUITS: Five friends dust off a childhood pact to seek revenge
THE SERGEANT: Obsession and desperation collide when a battered wife escapes torment
TAYLOR’S DUMMY: Espionage, double-crosses and curry in this ‘frilling French farce
HELL’S TEETH:  A visitor calls – and a dream home becomes a nightmare
DEAD SLOW:  Low tide turns despairing reflection into a battle for survival
MR SOLITAIRE: Fear and loathing in Amsterdam when dope dealing goes wrong
CRY HAVOC: A missing girl sparks a huge search in Friston Forest
THE £50,000 SIGNATURE: Two warring families resort to drastic measures in the courtroom DETECTIVE AT THE DOOR:  What would you do – and maybe give up – for love?

As with Devil's Chimney, I particularly enjoy spotting the local references. The tales all have interesting unexpected twists although I did find a few to be stretching plausibility a little too far and, as the stories are so short, the characters are obviously not as rounded as they would be in a full novel. My favourite story was the intricately plotted Taylor's Dummy, and I also particularly enjoyed the title story, Thin Men Paper Suits and the poignancy of Detective At The Door. It is probably advisable not to read Hell's Teeth too close to bedtime, and Mr Solitaire is definitely an 'adult' story!

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