It is a dark, almost noir world that the characters of British author Glenn McGoldrick’s stories inhabit. Life is short and gritting, and often brutish. Appearances can be and usually are deceiving. People behave in often unexpected ways, and they often have something to hide. Crime rarely pays.
In Cod Beck & Other Dark Teeside Stories, McGoldrick has three stories set in the northern England region of Teeside. In the title story, “Cod Beck,” a man finds the only way he knows of mourning his recently deceased wife. In “Just Keep Walking,” a man has to figure out what to do about an alibi he provided for a friend. “Nightmare Waiting” concerns a man almost being haunted by a drunken driving incident.
Head Count is a single story published as a separate publication. A casino cruise ship has to stop operations and ask passengers to return to their cabins for a head count – a woman is believed missing and overboard. But like all missing person stories, there’s a story behind the story.
Little Dramas is a collection of eight dark and occasionally wry stories. A robbery where appearances are deceiving. A bank extortion plot with the resolution in a crossword puzzle. A mother trying to protect her son from the expected wrath of his father over a car accident. A man who’s supposed to get fired but doesn’t, and how that’s bad news for his friend. A letter asking a young man to meet and accept forgiveness. A son follows his mother’s live-in boyfriend, because she believes he’s cheating on her. Residents on a street unexpectedly and anonymously receive a thousand pounds each, and one couple decides to use it for a vacation to New York City. And a bomb scare at a casino is both more and less than a bomb scare.
The writing in these stories is spare; not a single word seems wasted or unnecessary. You want to find out what’s happening, and what happens next, because you know it will be deserving and surprising. McGoldrick has a definite talent for hooking you into the dark stories of his world.