Thursday 4 February 2016


It wasn't that long ago when the Kindle and ebook revolution threw up the opportunity to writers to publish single short stories. Go back five years and there were plenty of them to be had. It was a treat and great to see work coming out in a range of shapes and sizes. For 75p or 99c, you could get a quality short read. To some that might sound a lot, but in terms of value that seems pretty good to me. 

Things have changed a little. Market forces have done what they usually do and ironed the world out. Flattened it in some way and taken away some of the edge. And it's not something I have a big problem with, it just seems like a shame, that's all. 

In a world where people are able to get hold of great novels for 99p or less (even for free, of course) it stands to reason that a short story for around the £1 mark isn't going to seem like value. I'd argue that, given the single short story can't be available any more cheaply, it's the longer work that should be priced higher to give those little guys a chance. 

To offer comparison, surely a tightly written story is worth about the same as a couple of tins of beans or half a mug of coffee in a cafe (and less than half if you're going for your Starbucks take-out). 

This isn't a moan. It's simply an observation. 

The reason it came to mind was Tony Black's decision to release a short story called Stone Ginger (US). The actual title is Stone Ginger: a short noir story, which is great because there can be no complaints from readers that there aren't enough words. It's a piece that I really enjoyed and feel is well worth that lowly price of entry. 

The only problem I have with the length is that it doesn't leave a lot of room to work with in terms of a review. The blurb reads:

'When Charlie 'Minty' Lamb meets the gorgeous Ginger down the local boozer he thinks all his Christmases have come at once. Even the boys from the back-shift can't believe his luck, that is until one or two of them start to notice that Ginger might be something other than she appears. Soon Minty's questioning himself, and everyone else with good reason. A fast-paced noir short for fans of the classic London crime caper.' 

That's a pretty good summary. 

I'd like to add that the story-telling voice is strong and that the twist isn't the one I was expecting. There's a good line in humour and it's oozing with flavour. There's a lot packed in here and it's well worth taking the time to check it out. 

If you feel that the price-tag is too big for your pocket and you're a Kindle-Unlimited subscriber, you can get this one for free, so what are you waiting for?


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