Published March 23rd 2011 by infinity plus.
After enjoying the mystery/thriller genre again, thanks to Dominance: A Novel, I was looking forward to reading more. Shortly after, I received a free copy of this book.
Nowhere to Go is a collection of short stories from award-winning writer Iain Rowan about people with literally nowhere to go. They are stories about fate, consequence, and in some stories, the paranormal.
As with all collections and anthologies, there are hits and misses. Some, I liked and some I honestly did not understand. But most of them were pretty intense, edgy. The collection starts off with “One Step Closer”, a story about an ordinary man caught in amidst a bank robbery. The story is pretty straight forward but the way it is written is a thing of beauty. As I finished this bit, I stared off… just, wow-ed. A very promising sign. “The Chain” reminded me of Hollywood action films where someone is being blackmailed into doing a series of steps so that incriminating information and/or photos would not be leaked. Again, we know how that works but like with the first story, the ending is what gets you. “One of Us” is another one of those cycle-type of stories.
A sure stand out is “Moths”. It dealt a little with the paranormal. Perfect placement, too, being towards the end of the collection. After reading a couple of mystery stories, as everything starts to look the same, here is your jolt of second wind. It reminds me of old noir films, definitely the feel of one. Another one that I absolutely loved is the book’s namesake, “Nowhere to Go”, which is found at the end of the book. And like the former, it had the paranormal mixed in with the crime thriller aspect.
I also liked the stories about double-crossing. It was not in your face, but very subtle and actually very fun to read. In “Easy Job”, I did not guess what that was about until the very end. Every sentence was gripping and exciting. “Two Night’s Work” took me a while to get into. And even after I was done with it, I was not sure I totally got it. The same with “A Walk in the Park”.
“Chairman of the Bored” provided the best line of the whole book:
Generally, I just did them because I was fucking bored.
It was told via a recording of a man about to commit suicide but not because he was “fucking bored”.
The longest of all the stories was “The Remains of My Estate”. And I felt that it had the least to do with the others. Sure, it had crime as one of its main themes but it was more, I don’t know, serious, I guess? And I personally did not think that the hero has “nowhere to go”. The plot was brilliant, the story was well-written. But after almost ten stories of light and easy reads, this is kind of hard to settle into.
Overall, it was okay. I do not have much experience with short story collections so I am out of my comfort zone here. But the stories were mostly interesting and it certainly kept my attention for eleven different stories.
Recommendation: For those who like crime stories looking for a quick read, this one is for you. You are getting eleven choices, read whatever tickles your fancy. Also, if you like short stories in general, this has good variety.
Get your copy here.