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Chris High books reviewed

Front cover of the book 'Last Words'.The Starlings & Other Stories
Murder Squad (Edited by Ann Cleeves)

Publisher: Graffeg

September 7 2015

Inspired by 12 desperately haunting, beautifully captured and intrinsically inspirational photographs composed by West Wales photographer David Wilson, The Starlings & Other Stories is an exceptional and unique collection of crime tales written by some of this country’s finest exponents of the craft.

For those who don’t know, Murder Squad comprises of founder Margaret Murphy (AKA A.D. Garrett), Chris Simms, Cath Staincliffe, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis and editor of this anthology and Vera Stanhope creator, Ann Cleeves. What makes this compilation standout, however, is that despite the incalculable ability of these six it was decided that the contribution of six other fine authors – Christine Poulson, Helena Edwards, Valerie Laws, Jim Kelly, Mary Sharratt and Toby Forward – would add yet more meat to the bone and that, simply, a greater atmosphere and epth would be added to what are already deeply captivating images.

The collective do not disappoint.

From the beautifully crafted opening tale, Homecoming, penned by Cath Staincliffe, to the closing Weeping Queens by Christine Poulson, The Starlings & Other Stories is an underlining as to just how important short stories are, how demonstrably tight the prose, dialogue and description need to be in their composition and just how talented these 12 exponents of these prerequisites truly are.

Each author has beautifully captured the essence of the portrait of Wales’ wildest and most rural of landscapes and imbued each tale with the many characteristics that lay just beneath the eye-lines of each and every one of them, thereby making each location a mysterious character in itself  and exemplifies the atmospheric qualities of the regions superbly well.

The Starlings & Other Stories will haunt, intrigue, captivate and enthral from first to last and, as a result, will hopefully have other authors reaching for their quills so as to try to emulate this Dynamic Dozen in future.





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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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