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FREE: A Selection of Meats and Cheeses by Danny Gillan - Fiction - kindle free books download and review

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Twelve short stories from Danny Gillan. Some sad, some funny; some serious, some silly; some poignant, some pointless.

Meet homicidal Estate Agents, happy mendicants, inept stalkers and rubbish action heroes. From crime to comedy and thriller to thought piece, the thread combining these bites of life is that everyone makes decisions, and good people often make bad ones. It's how you deal with the consequences that matters.

A Selection of Meats and Cheeses (Fiction)
Danny Gillan (Author)
customer reviews (Yes)
Digital List Price: £0.86
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Reviews from Amazon:

First indie author review for me. So of course, starting this book, I had a lot of bias against it-- surely some author who doesn't have an agent, a publisher, a publisher-provided editor, and giant printing presses can't format let alone write a respectable sentence worth reading. Wrong.

To begin with, the formating was perfect. Some authors should take lessons from Gillan. There were a few punctuation typos, but I've seen much worse in books from major publishing houses, and I would've liked a few more commas, but there's no denying Gillan has learned the craft of writing very well. Yes, this indie author can write, and this book was very well written.

As for the stories themselves, they're written in a gritty, evolved form of dirty realism. Strip down the text to the bare minimum, but Gillan doesn't go that far. His writing has more flesh. He has the rare adverb, but he sticks to describing via nouns and verbs. There is minimal description but it's laced with fine details like a "Sabatier filleting knife" rather than a mere knife. Think Hemingway but with more of the iceburg showing (and oddly, Gillan's "It's Not About You" reminded me of Hemingway's Nick Adams story where Nick overhears his parents... only, things go very badly in Gillan's tale). And Gillan excells at dialogue. I admit, a few times, I would've liked a little bit less dialogue, but his characters speak in real voices, complete with very colorful langauge (so these are not stories for kids).

Gillan is at his best in the urban setting (which I always assumed was Glasgow, but I wouldn't know Glasgow from Edinburgh from Inverness). There's a real feel for the city and those who live in it. "Stalk and Cheese" was particularly effective, subtly creepy, with a building tension, leading to a very satisfying ending. The stories are compelling reads-- you want to know what happens. It's when Gillan leaves this setting for the jungles of South America in "Action" that it doesn't work. This may be the problem with dirty realism, that it works well in urban and suburban settings but loses something in the exotic locale (which could've been my back yard... or my living room).

Only one story bothered me (well, every writer has their Loves Labor Lost)-- "What Gives?" An attempted satirical piece, it didn't hold my suspension of disbelief. Part of the problem was mine; I have a pet peeve about fiction writers naming real political parties in stories as the writer, unwittingly, can easily end up insulting half their readers. The actions of the real political party in "What Gives" was so far from their core principles (and of the one real political figure named) that it would be akin to saying "The Democrats are working hard to overturn Roe v. Wade" or "Labour continues its endeavours to abolish NHS." With that, the story no longer held together for me. However, I'd love to see a rewrite of this tale as I liked some of the ideas in it.

Overall, A Selection of Meats and Cheeses is a well-written, compelling, gritty example of urban realism. If dirty realism is your cup of tea (or you have a thing for Glasgow), I recommend you give it a try.

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