Having read six of Joy Mutter’s novels, it was interesting to go back to this early example of her work to see how it compares. In this collection of fourteen short stories, the author explores themes that will be familiar to readers of her ‘Hostile’ series. ‘Dark’ and ‘edgy’ are words that come to mind as she delves into ordinary, everyday occurrences such as a belligerent child, a rebellious teenager and a stamp collector whose hobby overrides all interest in his long-suffering spouse. Other tales focus on topics including a reliance on robotic technology and bizarre events such as, in one of my favourites, ‘The Day Nobody Gave a Damn’, where a nightshift worker returns home to find the entire community has decided to stay in bed. As with much of Ms Mutter’s work, her darkest deeds are left until last—in ‘Conor’s Revenge’ she leaves little to the imagination as a former choirboy spots a chance to get even.
As always with this author, I’d advise caution—there may be blood!
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