Darren Sant’s new(ish) collection of Short stories (available here ) are well worth picking up. The stories are set amid the social deprivation of a housing housing estate in Manchester and it’s various misfits. A recipe indeed for a good read … If it delivers.
And indeed it does. The first story, “Ernest’s Gift”, and features protection rackets, drugs, vengeance and dodgy Police – and its twists are both well written, and in the “couldn’t see it coming” category.
The second,”Devil Gate Drive” stars Pete – an old, drunken loser and misfit usually found betwen one dive bar and the bookies. BUT behind Pete’s eyes lies a tragic past – this flips effortlessly between past and present to remind you that everyone has a story to tell.
The third, “Brothers in Arms” – football Hooligans follow their team down south, again, the final twist is compelling, and made me re-read this to make sure I hadn’t missed something.
The Final, and Longest story – “Open all Hours” documents new arrivals onto the Estate, a Businessman determined to make a go of his shop. However, scratch the surface of an estate like this, and racism rears it’s ugly head.
All in all, there is much to like about this. All the stories will grip you, will leave you feeling sorry for the protagonists, and, in places, leave you breathless and on the edge of your seat. Characters weave their way through all the stories expertly.
This gets a 4 beers rating.