Welcome, bookworm, do come in out of the rain. Mind the pans on the floor; the roof seems to have sprung a leak. I’m just waiting for it to dry out then I’ll have the DIY books take a look at it – I’m sure they’ll have it sorted as quick as a flash. Speaking of quick, have you read the short story collection called It Will Be Quick by Karl Drinkwater? Here, have a cup of tea and a cinnamon roll while I tell you all about it.
Firstly, here’s the blurb: A single decision can save – or ruin – a life.
An opportunistic baby theft by a young woman in pain. Two strangers shipwrecked on a lifeless rock, unable to speak the same language. An isolated cycling holiday descends into terror. One woman seeks the courage to destroy her life. A miracle unites a community, and teenagers take a stand against hypocrisy.
Karl Drinkwater presents characters to root for – and characters to dread – in sixteen tales of humanity, endurance, and spirit.
Here’s a little about the author: Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”. Karl is an active member of the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).
When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.
And here’s my review: Last year, I made a pledge to myself that I would read more short story collections and I managed to include more than usual in my bookish habits. I read stories that moved me, amused me and confused me, and I thought I knew what to expect when it came to short story collections by now. Enter It Will Be Quick. Which shook me to my core.
Each story contains a decision which changes everything but there are also themes of loss of some kind, each traumatic in their own way.
The collection opens with Fire In The Hole and my stomach was knotted throughout, sick with fear for the safety of a snatched baby. In The 6.30 Hole, I was a voyeur watching the silences between a couple gradually becoming more uncomfortable. Each entry is brief but the words conveyed a wealth of emotions and hurt in a dying relationship. I found it quietly beautiful.
It Will Be Quick took me on a journey back to my own horrific experience of giving birth to the eldest of my two children. I felt a rush of empathy to the protagonist who lost her own identity, body and life as she knew it during her pregnancy before her excruciating labour commenced. I thought the worst was over as I neared the end of the story but that was before I felt the cold horror of the final sentence…
In How I Wonder What You Are, I was riveted to the white knuckle journey of rage and revenge. Reading it felt a little like a dream where you try to scream but no sound comes out. The protagonist in FileKiller stunned me with her cold, calculating competitiveness and this story showed me a different sort of adrenaline rush as she pushed herself to boundary after boundary.
When I read Cry Wolf, I was astounded at how much loathing I had for the narrator, who I found to be an abhorrent excuse for a man and I had not an ounce of pity for the situation he found himself in. Shortly after, I read The Potential and I sobbed through the story with anger, with shock, with hurt for the loneliness of the protagonist. The actions of the teenagers left an emotional scar on me.
I enjoyed the rest of the stories too, but these are some which stood out for me in terms of my emotional response. The writing is authentic and the author isn’t afraid to go to dark places on occasion. Which brings me to Miasma. This story was particularly short but it’s content was too long for me. It crossed a line in what I can cope with as a reader due to my personal beliefs and values. I can see why the particular incident was depicted to demonstrate a character’s nature but there are some triggers I can’t get past. I think this collection may have been a 5 star read for me if it weren’t for the personal upset I experienced but I must stress that this is down to my own triggers and other readers may be absolutely fine with this particular story.
There are trigger warnings for death, domestic abuse, suicide, animal cruelty and graphic violence in some parts of this collection but it’s one I am privileged to have read (and survived). I’m giving this collection 4.5/5 stars as I’m in awe of the author’s ability to write such compelling characters who evoke the degree of emotions I experienced.
If you like the sound of this short story collection, click on the book image above to purchase a copy. I don’t get anything for providing the link, I’m just being a helpful bookworm. Thank you to the author, publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.
Well bookworm, I feel wrung out out after retelling my experience of this short story collection. That reminds me – I better go and change the wet towels under the pans before the DIY books use the cats to mop up the puddles… Until next time bookworm, farewell!