Sunday, 5 June 2022

It Will Be Quick by Karl Drinkwater

A single decision can save – or ruin – a life.

An opportunistic baby theft by a young woman in pain. Two strangers shipwrecked on a lifeless rock, unable to speak the same language. An isolated cycling holiday descends into terror. One woman seeks the courage to destroy her life. A miracle unites a community, and teenagers take a stand against hypocrisy.

Karl Drinkwater presents characters to root for – and characters to dread – in sixteen tales of humanity, endurance, and spirit.

Over the past year Karl Drinkwater has become one of my favourite authors as I love his science fiction Lost Solace series, so I was keen to read It Will Be Quick - my first opportunity to discover his short stories. This collection contains a generous sixteen tales which range across genres and encompass a variety of characters and situations. I loved that most are driven by their central character's need to make a choice, with the aftermath of that decisive moment often being very different to how the character envisioned it.

It's rare I give a full five stars to short story books because I generally find them a bit hit and miss. In the case of It Will Be Quick though, I am struggling to find a single story that doesn't feel like a favourite! Each tale has such a strong sense of its own place and atmosphere that, in reading back over the titles to prepare for this review, I was immediately prompted to recollect image flashes and to remember how I felt as I read them. The Potential is such a sad tale and all too true, while Balance is a great piece of misdirection. The title story, It Will Be Quick, was so vivid that I'm glad I've never experienced pregnancy myself, and I frequently found myself holding my breath in Below The Surface. SenSor OS humorously reflected my own frustrations in similar situations, and Miasma, the shortest story I think, is eye-openingly brilliant. I appreciated the brief notes at the end of this book too. It's always interesting to see behind the scenes.

I would just like to finish by thanking Kayla, one of the main characters in the story How I Wonder What You Are for her Twinkle Twinkle Little Star cycling advice. It really does work!

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