My Review (5 stars out of 5)
In this new assortment of stories, thriller writer Mark Tilbury presents five twisted tales of murder and revenge. As with all short story collections, there are those that stand out and others that don’t quite hit the spot. For me, the first two are the best: In ‘Last Orders’ Jeff’s wife appears to have upped and left him, and with a pub to run he soon seeks moral support from his barmaid, Alyson. But as their friendship grows, it seems Alyson has problems of her own. In ‘Lucy’s Return’, a school reunion prompts a plan to get revenge on an old school bully who made Lucy’s schooldays hell. Both these stories are clever and witty, with interesting and unexpected twists that surprised me, though like all well-crafted tales, I’d like to think I could have worked out the denouements if I’d read between the lines. (Yeah, right).
Of the others, ‘Private Museum’ has its own surprises, though took a while to get going. In ‘Ballad of the Unsung Hero’ bored housewife Jenifer and her fishing-obsessed husband don’t see eye to eye, but a visit to a spiritualist gives Jennifer an idea. Finally, in ‘The Tallyman’ young mum Donna falls prey to a loan shark who turns from helpful adviser into a greedy abuser. Like the other stories, the ending is satisfyingly twisted.
Having read a couple of Mark Tilbury’s novels, I know what a great writer he is and it’s noticeable that the first two tales in this collection feel like he’s put more effort into them. Having said that, all five are great stories and the book as a whole is thoroughly entertaining, which ain’t always the case with some authors.