Bookshots: ‘Safe Inside the Violence’ by Christopher Irvin

Bookshots: ‘Safe Inside the Violence’ by Christopher Irvin

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Title:

Safe Inside the Violence

Who wrote it?

A regular contributor to short story magazines like Shotgun Honey, Needle, Beat to a Pulp, and Thuglit, Christopher Irvin has also written two novellas, Federales and Burn Cards. This is his first short story collection.

Plot in a Box:

These stories are a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people and the situations they find themselves in — and it’s not always pretty.

Invent a new title for this book:

I would call it: Hard Knocks

A very interesting collection of hard-boiled crime fiction, showing the pathos in everyday lives and creating empathy for the characters in a few short sentences.

Read this if you liked:

Lamentation by Joe Clifford

Meet the book’s lead:

The protagonists in these stories are normal people going about their lives, often in difficult circumstances. Tommy is the main character in the title story, "Safe Inside the Violence", and his story stuck with me, covering the loss of an estranged parent, asshole neighbors and the difficulties of urban life.

Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

I could see Ryan Gosling playing this part, particularly after Drive.

Setting: would you want to live there?

Most of these places are pretty squalid, so no.

What was your favorite sentence?

I don’t bother calling the cops. If they didn’t come for my mother, they won’t come for me.

The Verdict:

I’m not a big short story reader — I often get frustrated when a story ends more quickly than I’d like. That said, this is a very interesting collection of hard-boiled crime fiction, showing the pathos in everyday lives and creating empathy for the characters in a few short sentences. The people are plausible, the situations often grim, the outcomes hardly fairytale endings.

Irvin has mastered the noir short story, that’s plain. From Lem in "Union Man" to Tommy, in the title story, to John in "The Things We Leave Behind", these characters leap off the page and ‘sing’ in their uniqueness. None of the usual stereotypes here, just real people going through tough lives of one sort or another.

This young author has a great future ahead of him and I look forward to reading his novellas and, hopefully, his first book. This is a collection everyone should read — particularly if you’ve ever dreamed of writing this kind of fiction.

Image of Safe Inside the Violence
Author: Christopher Irvin
Price: $32.17
Publisher: 280 Steps (2015)
Binding: Paperback, 206 pages
Dean Fetzer

Review by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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