Review: WORKING STIFFS (Smashwords 2009); also available in print from Blue Cubicle Press (2006)
Author: Simon Wood
The workplace can be dangerous, despite any regulations enacted to keep it safe. Those dangers come from people – greedy, unscrupulous people who can make it hard on those who aren't. Hidden behind a person's disarming smile and handshake, all sorts of devious thoughts can be lurking.
Simon Wood explores this theme in WORKING STIFFS, an anthology that manages not only to keep readers on the edge of their seats, but does so with stylish and clever prose.
The collection is comprised of six short stories and a longer story called "The Fall Guy" that's basically a short novella. One that takes the reader on quite the trip.
The short stories cover different aspects of the theme. The protagonists range from people like the business owner taking drastic steps to hold onto his company in "The Real Deal" to the beat cop whose reputation is compromised when a street punk shoots him with his own weapon in "Officer Down" to average Joes placed in circumstances in which events spin out of control, such as the adman in the story "A Break in the Old Routine".
Despite Wood's propensity for wry humor (as evidenced by the delightfully bad pun of the book title), he paints a bleak picture about the dark side of human character. Even a successful crime author isn't immune to succumbing to temptation when a former object of his affections comes into the picture in "Old Flames Burn the Brightest". And the notion that, not only do nice guys finish last, but really horrible ones thrive is evident in "Parental Control".
To read the entire review, see: http://thriller-fiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/review-of-working-stiffs