Paul Kane's Nailbiters was published by Black Shuck Books in February 2017.

Information about Paul B. Kane:

Paul B. Kane is an award-winning author and editor, who has worked in the fields of SF and Dark Fantasy (most notably the bestselling Arrowhead trilogy, a post-apocalyptic reworking of Robin Hood – as Paul Kane – gathered together in the sell-out Hooded Man omnibus) and the Y.A. market (The Rainbow Man, as P.B. Kane). He penned the well received Sherlock Holmes stories ‘The Greatest Mystery’ and ‘The Case of the Lost Soul’, and the critically acclaimed, bestselling and award-winning full-length mass market novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell. Paul is also the author of the serial killer chiller, The Gemini Factor. His most recent co-edited anthology is Beyond Rue Morgue (Titan), all new stories revolving around Poe’s detective C. Auguste Dupin, while others in the past have featured the likes of Michael Marshall (Intruders), Richard Matheson (Duel) and Robert Bloch (Psycho). He has been a guest at many events and conventions, and his work has been optioned for film and television (including Lions Gate/NBC, who adapted one of his stories for primetime US network TV). Several of his stories have been turned into short films and he is currently adapting his novel Lunar into a feature for a UK production company. His website http://www.shadow-writer.co.uk has featured Guest Writers such as John Connolly, Dean Koontz, Lauren Beukes, Thomas Harris, Mark Billingham, Mo Hayder, Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Charlaine Harris and Stephen King.

Information about Nailbiters:

A man seeks revenge for his dead wife’s murder, while another finds himself being tortured for information he doesn’t have. One woman’s job at a check-out is starting to take its toll, while another imagines all kinds of horrors during a blackout. An urban nightmare called Graffitiland is the location for a deadly hunt, but a thief finds more than he bargains for upon breaking and entering one particular property. And as a stalker tracks his latest victim, an altogether different kind of serial killer called The Gemini is rising...

Here in these pages you’ll find gathered together all the tales of crime and psychological terror from award-winning and bestselling author and editor Paul B. Kane (Beyond Rue Morgue, Hooded Man, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell), plus three new novelettes - including a serial killer reworking of Cinderella.

Complete with an introduction from the award-winning Paul Finch (author of the bestselling Sergeant ‘Heck’ Heckenberg novels, including Stalkers, Sacrifice and Hunted, as well as the Sunday Times bestseller Strangers), this is one collection of thrilling Nailbiters fans of the genre will not want to miss...

A REVIEW OF PAUL KANE'S NAILBITERS

Paul B. Kane's Nailbiters is one of the most thrilling short story collections of the year, because it contains many tales of crime and psychological terror. The author delivers such delicious chills and thrills with his stories that readers will be instantly captivated by their disturbing atmosphere.

I'm glad I had an opportunity to read Nailbiters, because it's an excellent collection. I have to confess that I'm not very familiar with the author's stories, so Nailbiters served as an introduction into his fiction. I can mention that this collection was a memorable reading experience that left me wanting more, because I found all of the stories good and kept turning pages in order to find out what happens at the end of each story. It's been a while since I've read this kind of fiction in such a thrilling format.

The contents of this collection can be classified as crime fiction, thriller fiction and psychological horror fiction, but on the whole they can be classified as dark fiction. These genres seamlessly interlink with each other in some of the stories, because the author blends them on purpose to awaken feelings of terror and unease in his readers. The author's way of blending them feels fresh and exciting, because he puts more effort into his stories than many other authors.

This collection contains the following stories:

- Stalking the Stalker
- Grief Stricken
- Check-out
- The Opportunity
- Cold Call
- The Torturer
- Remote
- Gemini Rising
- The Anniversary
- 1, 2, 3...1, 2, 3
- The Greatest Mystery
- Baggage
- Graffitiland
- The Protégé
- Nine Tenths
- At the Heart of the Maze
- Blackout
- The Cyclops
- R.S.V.P.
- A Nightmare on 34th Street
- Sin
- Suit of Lies
- A Suspicious Mind

These stories have several elements in common, but all of them are original, thrilling and inventive. Many of them are intriguingly disturbing, because the author writes boldly and unflinchingly about serial killers, disturbed people and death.

Here's more information about the stories and my thoughts about them:

Stalking the Stalker:
- This unsettling and deviously brilliant poem has inventive verses.

Grief Stricken:
- Lomax is hunting a man who killed his wife and is going to hurt him badly.
- The author writes well about Lomax's state of mind, because he has only one thing on his mind: revenge.
- I found this revenge story fascinatingly unsettling, because the author offers readers a glimpse into the darkness that may be found inside all of us.

Check-out:
- A story about Janet who works as a check-out girl at a supermarket.
- The author writes perfectly about Janet and his life. He paints a stark and bleak picture about Janet's life and how she was treated by her parents. It was chilling (and touching) to read about how Janet felt about her life and her work, because all the years of neglect and mental abuse seemed to have scarred her.
- This story is an excellent example of a psychologically effective story that is difficult to forget once you've read it.

The Opportunity:
- A well written short story about a stalker who's waiting for the right opportunity to do something nasty.

Cold Call:
- A story about Martin who works at CompliCalls and sells things over the phone and become the target of a person who begins to make calls to him.
- This story has an excellent and chilling ending.

The Torturer:
- In this story, Andrew has been kidnapped by strange men and is being held captive against his will and tortured for information.
- This story has a brilliant ending.
- Here's a word of warning to squeamish readers: If you're easily shocked or have a weak stomach, you should perhaps think twice before reading this story, because you many find it shocking and disturbing.

Remote:
- An excellent story about Simon who's a different kind of an assassin whose abilites are being used to eliminate people.
- It was fascinating to read about how Simon felt about his job, because at first he enjoyed it, but then found himself becoming distant and withdrawn because of what he had to do.
- The author writes fluently about Simon's marriage and how his work affects the relationship between him and his wife.

Gemini Rising:
- This story consists of selected extracts from a journal that was recovered after the fire beneath a police station in Norchester. The journal's writer is a boy called Sebastian Craine Jr.
- The author's way of writing about Sebastian and his life impressed me, because he writes unflinchingly about Sebastien's interest in medicine and dead bodies. He also writes extremely well about Sebastian's family and what kind of things he finds out about his family.
- This is one of the best and most memorable serial killer stories I've ever read, because it has a deeply disturbing feel to it.

The Anniversary:
- In this story, Beryl is getting ready to spend anniversary with her beloved husband, Trevor.
- This brilliant story gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "for better or worse, in sickness and in health".
- I enjoyed the ending very much, because the author has a wonderfully pitch-black sense of humour.

1, 2, 3...1, 2, 3:
- Michelle has a problem with numbers 1, 2 and 3, because she keeps on counting them.
- This is an interesting and a bit different kind of a story about OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

The Greatest Mystery:
- A story about the greatest mystery Sherlock Holmes has ever faced. This story begins with Miss Georgia Cartwright begging Holmes and Watson to pay a visit to her cousin Anthony who stands accused of murdering his fiancée.
- This story is an excellent and inventive take on Sherlock Holmes stories and demonstrates the author's writing skills.
- I'm happy to say that this is one of the best Sherlock Holmes stories I've read to date.

Baggage:
- In this story, Nicholas has trouble dating women and ends up carrying a lot of baggage from his failed relationships. One day he meets a woman who has had similar experiences.
- The author has an amazing ability to write about Nicholas and his failed relationships, because he makes Nicholas a three-dimensional character who has a lot of problems, but still manages to find the energy to search for a companion.
- A well written story with a satisfyingly twisted ending.

Graffitiland:
- In this story, Dean who works for a mob boss, finds himself in serious trouble and has only way to get out of it: he has to try to run for his life.
- An excellent and interesting story with a touch of noir.
- There's something about this story that reminds me a bit of the Sin City graphic novels and films.

The Protégé:
- An effective and memorable story about a man who has taken a protégé and has taught him things.
- The ending of this short story is fascinatingly brutal.

Nine Tenths:
- Ren is a thief who breaks into an apartment and finds out that he's made a big mistake.
- I liked the ending of this story very much.

At the Heart of the Maze:
- A story about Sonny who tries to find his way in The Maze.
- I enjoyed reading about what Sonny saw and experienced, because he witnessed strange things.

Blackout:
- A gripping story about Kelly and her fear of the dark.
- This story has some of the best descriptions of what it feels like to be alone in the dark I've seen in ages, because the author writes about how Kelly reacts to being alone in the middle of a blackout and starts to imagine things.

The Cyclops:
- In this story, a teenaged guy believes that he has a parasite called the Cyclops inside him and it makes him do vile things.
- The author's vision of the protagonist's life is unforgettable, because the Cyclops controls the teenaged guy and forces him to do things.
- This is one of the best stories in this collection.

R.S.V.P.:
- This is an intriguingly disturbing story about a man who writes a reply to the rejection letter he has gotten.
- I liked this story and its ending (I'm sure that what the man has done will surprise readers).

A Nightmare on 34th Street:
- Officer Mal Docherty has to work on Christmas Eve and finds himself in a situation that's a bit out of the ordinary.
- I think that readers will find this Christmas story intriguing and memorable, because it's something different. It's not your normal kind of a Christmas story.
- I enjoyed this story very much and was pleased with the ending.

Sin:
- A grippingly written story about DI Patrick Hammond and a serial killer who leaves a foot of a woman on the steps of the police station.
- It was interesting to read about the relationship between Hammond and Sindy, because the author wrote well about them.
- The references to the film Seven add a nice touch of style to the storyline.
- This excellent and surprising story is one of the highlights in this collection and will impress many readers.

Suit of Lies:
- A well written story about Benjamin who has learned to lie in a convincing way and uses lies to achieve many things.
- It was interesting to read about Benjamin's ability to lie and what he did with it, because he managed to achieve quite a lot in his life.

A Suspicious Mind:
- This is an interesting piece of lyrics that bears remarkable resemblance to the famous 'Suspicious Minds' performed by Elvis Presley.

What's great about these stories is that the author uses mundane environments as locations for the chilling and unsettling happenings. He manages to turn everyday places into places of evil and terror. He demonstrates that crime and terror can be found everywhere. No matter how safe we assume certain places to be, something bad or unexpected may happen to us. This adds a special kind of a chill factor to this collection.

I also have to mention that what makes these stories especially effective and unforgettable is that normal people can become killers when the conditions are right. Such ordinary people as housewives, sons and check-out personnel may find terrifying darkness inside themselves.

I think it's good to mention that these stories are not merely dark fiction, because they can also be seen as accurate and sharp portraits about different kind of people, their feelings and their problems. The author has an ability to get inside the minds of his characters and he is not afraid of showing how they feel about things and what they're capable of doing when something snaps inside of them.

I like Paul Kane's writing style, because he knows how to write thrilling and entertaining stories that have surprise endings. It's great that many of his stories begin in a normal way and then take a deep plunge into a weirder and more disturbing direction.

For a while now, I've considered horror authors to be the best authors of crime fiction and thriller fiction, because they know how to shock and surprise their readers more effectively than other authors. In my opinion, this collection serves as a proof of this, because Paul B. Kane has written strong stories that readers will be thinking for a long time after they've finished reading them.

Because I loved this collection, I intend to take a closer look at Paul Kane's stories and novels. I look forward to reading them, because I have a feeling that they'll be great. I also intend to explore other books published by Black Shuck Books, because this collection awakened my interest in them.

I highly recommend Paul B. Kane's Nailbiters to readers who love crime fiction, thriller fiction and psychological horror fiction, because it contains stories that will linger on the readers' minds. If you enjoy unsettling dark fiction and like to read suspenseful stories, you should read this collection, because it's one of the best and most intriguing collections of its kind.

Highly recommended!

Log in to comment
Discuss this article in the forums (0 replies).