An ordinary man who finds himself caught up in a bank raid gone wrong. A murder caught on security camera where the victim doesn't exist. A man with just months to live, who is already living in hell but decides to take on the devil. A mob accountant babysitting a hired killer on a trip to the countryside, and a burglar on an easy job who finds it might not be so easy after all. A con-artist conned, and what a man will do when in the grip of an obsession more important to him than his own life.
Eleven crime stories first published in Alfred Hitchcock's, Ellery Queen's, and elsewhere by award-winning writer Iain Rowan. Eleven stories of what people do when there is nowhere left to go.
Iain's short fiction has been reprinted in Year's Best anthologies, won a Derringer Award, and been the basis for a novel shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers' Association's Debut Dagger award.
Shortlisted for Spinetingler magazine's Best Short Story collection award.
ONE STEP CLOSER: Life jumps the rails, runs away from you and there’s no catching it up. Not ever. THE CHAIN: "You know what this is about, Mr Jackson," the voice said. A WALK IN THE PARK: Mason didn't know much about the man they had been sent to kill. ONE OF US: "You must be the doctor," he said. TWO NIGHTS' WORK: As soon as the short man opened his bag, I knew what was going on. EASY JOB: Harry could never resist an easy job, and the place on the moors road was the king of easy jobs. FAKE: "Get me one note please, Mr Rogers. Any one. Pick it at random." MOTHS: "You've been watching me, haven't you," she said. CHAIRMAN OF THE BORED: Oh, and I killed someone else too, but he was old and pointless and I doubt anybody noticed. THE REMAINS OF MY ESTATE: I am the Alcatraz of the ironic. Nothing gets out of here alive. NOWHERE TO GO: The man took a step out, then back, then stopped, no time any more, nowhere to go.
"Rowan is a very fine writer, one of those authors endowed with the ability to hook the reader in just a few sentences and keep him nailed until the very last word... fine examples of modern crime stories, gripping and perceptive, probing the dark secrets of the human soul, just like an old Alfred Hitchcock movie... Crime enthusiasts must not miss the book: this is noir at its very best."
– Mario Guslandi, SF Site featured review
"During the five years that I published Hardluck Stories, One Step Closer and Moth were two of my favorite stories. I loved the nuances and true heartfelt emotion that Iain filled his stories with, and Iain quickly became a must read author for me–everything I read of Iain's had this tragic, and sometimes, horrific beauty filling it, and was guaranteed to be something special."
– Dave Zeltserman, author of Outsourced, and Washington Post best books of year Small Crimes and Pariah
"A short story writer of the highest calibre."
– Allan Guthrie, author of Top Ten Kindle Bestseller Bye Bye Baby, winner of Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year
"Iain Rowan's stories never fail to surprise and delight, and just when you think you know what will happen next, you realize how much you've been caught unaware."
– Sarah Weinman, writer, critic, reviewer, columnist for the Los Angeles Times and News Editor for Publishers Marketplace
"Iain Rowan is both a meticulous and a passionate writer, and these stories showcase his ample talent wonderfully well. You owe it to yourself to discover Rowan's fiction if you haven't already had the pleasure."
– Jeff Vandermeer, author of Finch, Shriek: An Afterword, City of Saints and Madmen; two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award
"I thought I'd quickly read the first story, then come back for the rest another day. Instead I found myself seized, and I read the book from front to back. Rowan offers an amazing fluidity of narrative; from the first paragraph it was a question of sitting back and allowing myself to be carried along by the flow... This collection was my introduction to Rowan's work. I'll be looking out for his name in future."
– Amazon review