Skewered and Other London Cruelties

 Skewered: And Other London Cruelties by Benedict J. Jones


I bought this collection of shorts after I read Pennies for Charon, the first stand alone Charlie “Bars” Constantinou  and wanted to know more.

You first meet Charlie Bars in this dark, bleak and brutal story collection. Fresh out of his 3rd stint in prison and working in his Uncle’s kebab shop he appears as the anti-hero in 3 of the tales. He is trying to make a go of the straight and narrow but quickly falls back into gray.

Charlie Bars is a gangster who is good at solving problems and finding people, the author is still wonderfully vague at filling in Charlie’s gangster past. Providing just enough detail to make him an intriguing character. We meet Mazza and witness the formation of their PI business.

He has bad luck with women, his cases often take unexpected bad turns, and with “friends” like Mazza who needs enemies.

He is Noir perfection as I never quite know whether he is basically a good guy who occasionally does some really bad things or if he is basically a bad guy who occasionally does some really good things. Just like I like it.

Skewered and the two other shorts that feature Charlie sees Benedict J. Jones fleshing this character out and this collection shows an author who is honing his craft. The writing is great here and even better in Pennies for Charon.

I went in thinking I would just read the “Charlie Bars” stories but quickly demolished the whole book. I liked the occasional paranormal twists and some of shorts featured out of the box shockers.

Now for a cup of Devil’s Brew!

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Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.