4.8.2011 | Friday

Bloodstains on the Wall

category: Book Reviews

Bloodstains on the Walltitle: Bloodstains on the Wall
author: Mike Dennis
published: 10 February 2011
publisher: self-published
genre(s): anthologies, noir
pages: 86
source: author
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | BookHype | Goodreads

rating: five-stars

the blurb

From the other side of the human condition comes this collection of noir tales by Mike Dennis.

It's 1984 and Biloxi, Mississippi has seen better days. Sherry Lamar, used car saleswoman extraordinaire, is feeling the pinch. Then one day, a stranger walks onto her small car lot and ushers her into a world of steamy sex and murder.

A seven-year-old boy is playing with his two younger sisters when a minor accident occurs. One of the sisters is to blame, but she blames the boy and their mother believes her, punishing the boy. This starts him on a downward spiral into self-doubt and later, depravity, that will last his entire life.

A famous crime fiction novelist thinks the book she's working on will revive her sagging fortunes. Halfway through it, however, she develops writer's block and is unable to continue her story, until a mysterious early-morning phone caller claims to have the answers.

my review

Bloodstains on the Wall is a collection of three short stories, each following a different, completely amoral character.  Each short story was beautifully written, and deliciously dark.  It is difficult to discuss each individual story too much in depth without giving spoilers, and these stories are far too good to spoil.

What I like the most about this collection is the character development of the sociopath in each story.  While completely amoral in nature and having committed some rather horrible acts, there were things about the characters that the average person could still relate to, making the reading of their stories somewhat uncomfortable at times as you could see little bits of yourself in these otherwise awful people.  In the second story, The Devil Drives a Big Mercedes, I even found myself sympathetic to the bad guy, feeling his childhood pain that changed him as an adult and made him the way he was. I picked this book up last night and did not put it down again until I was finished.  The stories grabbed you and wouldn’t let go!

About Mike Dennis

After thirty years as a professional musician (piano), Mike Dennis left Key West and moved to Las Vegas in 2006 to become a professional poker player. He turned to writing when his first novel, THE TAKE, was picked up by a publisher in 2009.

His next book, SETUP ON FRONT STREET, was the first of a series of Key West Nocturnes, standalone noir novels. These books will lift the veil on Key West and reveal it as a true noir city, on a par with Los Angeles, New Orleans, or Miami. THE GHOSTS OF HAVANA is the second book in that set. The third, MAN-SLAUGHTER, is now available, and the fourth, THE GUNS OF MIAMI, will be coming in 2013.

Mike has also introduced the Jack Barnett/Las Vegas series, about a reluctant ex-private investigator living in Sin City, USA. The first entry in that series, a novelette called TEMPTATION TOWN, is now available. The second installment, HARD CASH, also a novelette, is currently available, as is the third entry, a full novel called THE DOWNTOWN DEAL.

Mike also has a collection of short stories, BLOODSTAINS ON THE WALL. In addition, his stories have been published in A Twist Of Noir, Mysterical e, Powder Burn Flash, Slow Trains, and The Wizards Of Words 2009 Anthology.

In addition, Mike has an experimental rockabilly novel called CADILLAC’S COMIN’, a hard tale of a one-hit wonder who recorded for Sun Records in the chaotic early days of rock & roll.

In late 2010, Mike moved back to Key West, where he enjoys year-round island living with his wife Yleana, whom he married on a warm December night in 2012 on the rooftop of an apartment building in Havana, Cuba.

::spread the love::

2 responses to “Bloodstains on the Wall

  1. Kiki–
    Thanks for the kind words. I’ve just returned from 8 days in Cuba, where they have spotty Internet service, so I just now saw your review. I wrote a brief blog about it and posted a link to it on my website.

  2. E. Warner

    Mike Dennis’ collection of short stories is the best of noir fiction. But don’t stop here. Get a copy of The Take. It’s a little longer, a short novella, and all that much more to enjoy. As the previous reviewer said, Mike’s writing keeps me reading until I’ve finished. You simply have to know how they end. Keep it up, Mike. Bravo, bravo, and more, more.

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