The Gavel Front CoverMy month of Summer promos comes to an end with a crash, bang and a wallop, with one last freebie ebook, my novella, The Gavel. You can download your FREE copy here.

White-collar crime has never had such devastating consequences…

Ian Hopewell is in the dock. He is the face of corporate greed and he stands accused of contributing to the global financial crisis because of his fast and loose investment policies.

But this isn’t an ordinary court. This court is marsupial and likes bouncing across the Australian outback on two spring-like legs. And Farmer Bray is no ordinary judge. No, he’s full of Old Testament rage at men like Hopewell. ‘In my experience,’ he says, ‘those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it.’

But does Ian Hopewell deserve his cruel fate, which is sealed the moment Bray cracks the gavel down in righteous judgement? This chilling fable explores the case through Hopewell’s eyes, examining some of the crucial decisions which lead him to the end of the road and the brutal vengeance which will be meted out to him by Bray and his sons.

New cover imageMy crime fiction collection The Art of Ventriloquism has been re-issued with a new cover (see right) and under a new ISBN (ISBN: 1516984293 and ISBN-13: 978-1516984299) and can be purchased from here. The content of the collection remains the same. As does the blurb;

The Art of Ventriloquism and other stories

“I’ll never forget the first thing he said to me, the way he curled all his thorny knowledge into that one barbed comment stopped me in my tracks.”

Welcome to The Art of Ventriloquism: a baker’s dozen of short, sharp, shocking crime fictions from the bloodied pen of the author AJ Kirby. The rap-sheet of crimes contained within this volume are varied: from white collar to red-collared, grizzly murder. The style ranges from the hard-boiled to the comic, and all the stops between.

Back cover blurbThe crimes in The Art of Ventriloquism take place in restaurants, opera houses, space stations, prisons, old folks’ homes, on farms, in the back of limousines, and on the salesroom floor. They’re modern morality stories, and here Kirby has become a ventriloquist, channeling the voices of the dispossessed, the victims, those who live on the margins of society… Darkly amusing and ironic – reminiscent of Roald Dahl at his peak – these tales will amuse and delight in equal measure.

Praise for some of the stories:

Jodie Foster & the art of ventriloquism

George Polley, Author: “It’s chilling; reminds me of a short story by Ray Bradbury that was so chilling that I still remember it as if I’d just put it down. A fine piece of writing.”

Too Many Cooks

Judge of the ‘An Ink’ writing contest: “This is a fine story, written in what might be called “the grand manner”. As opposed to certain modern writers whose sentences are clipped and snappy, this author often conveys his meaning in lengthy, convoluted sentences. But they flow, and they work.”

The Ninth Circle

Stephen Hunt, SF Crow’s Nest: “an intriguing story… which brings to mind the film Event Horizon. This tale becomes progressively darker, obscure and depressing until its culmination in a terrible event.”

 

 

SLEEPOFREASONFollowing on from my successful Hangingstone promotion, I’m now delighted to annouce that for a limited time only – from 20-24th August – my novel The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters is FREE. You can download your complimentary ebook here.

Roll up, roll up for the magical mystery tour of the museum of sleep, a place where your dreams can stand up and walk, just the same as your nightmares.

From the bloodied pen of the author AJ Kirby comes The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, a novel of startling originality, wit, and imagination.

Charlie Prince and his father are looking for a little adventure at the weekend. They want to escape their real-world problems for a few hours. But they get a lot more than they bargained for when they visit the new museum in town. For here the exhibits are much more monstrous than the ones they face at home.

Soon Charlie discovers they are trapped inside the museum, and they are not alone. Monsters lurk in the dark corners, twitching to hunt them down. A trio of bears thunder after them in a frenzied pursuit. A mischievous not-quite-white rabbit promises to help them but ends up luring them into his lair.

And behind them all, the sinister puppet-master Howard Cunliffe lies in wait, eager to trap Charlie inside forever.

Channelling Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, this subtly dark, surreal story will ensure you’ll sleep with the light on tonight.

HANGINGThe ebook version of my novelette, Hangingstone, is free from today until Wednesday 19th August. So if you’re in need of some summer reading, then go here for your FREE download (remember, after you’ve finished reading, please leave a review!)

‘Hangingstone’ is a supernatural tale of madness, motherhood, and revenge.

Set on the wild Yorkshire moorland near Ilkley, it is the story of one mother’s desperate attempts to reconcile herself with the (ghostly) child who was taken from her many years ago.

Hangingstone Rocks are two monoliths of millstone grit which look out upon the seemingly idyllic town of Ilkley, a place which has stored up a wealth of terrible memories, particularly in its treatment of our less than fortunate mother, who returns to the rocks again and again in order to try and find a way back into the past, to the moment her child was taken away from her.

And if you fancy reading more AJ Kirby stuff, remember, my new short ‘The Policy of Truth’, is OUT NOW. Search for it on Amazon…

 

Scritturamag ScreenprintMy short story ‘In the Mean Time’ has been picked up for publication by Scrittura Magazine. Scrittura is an online lit mag whose debut issue is slated to hit the shelves on 14th September 2015. You can visit their site here.

‘In the Mean Time’ will be my 134th published short story (for a full menu, go here). Here’s a very brief extract:

The knife in his pocket has drawn blood, piercing the fleshy part of his thumb. And yet he looks on impassively, waits as an audience is cut and pasted into the theatre around him. Regards the curtain that masks the stage with mild interest. Pulls out a throat lozenge with his unbloodied left hand; pops it into his mouth. Waits.

Kills time.

Kills it dead.

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pOLICY OF Truth Front CoverYeah, it’s true. A new dark and disturbed short story of mine has been picked up for publication by the imprint White House Press Publications. ‘The Policy of Truth’ is being released as both a Kindle single and as a limited edition chapbook paperback. The ebook is OUT NOW, with the paperback to follow shortly.

Buy the ebook from here.

Here’s a quick taster:

“In my line of work you kind of get to know other people’s stories. I used to call it ‘the osmosis of carrying the sack’. I’m the mailman and I carry your secrets.

Once you get down to the brass-tacks of it, life behind the hedges and up the garden paths of brassy north east Leeds resembles a soap opera. And where there is brass there is indeed muck.

I can’t resist riffling out a few letters every day. I take them home, steam them open, get comfy in my chair and then feast on the truth of them.”

But what happens when the truth occurs a little closer to home? What happens when you find out a terrible secret which could tear a family apart?

What happens when the truth becomes too much to bear?

I’m delighted to announce the publication of my short story ‘The Tennessee Nostradamus’, in the July 2015 issue of  Five59 Literary Magazine.

If you’re interested in writing horror/ dark fiction, then you could do worse than have a quick scan through my tips and hints in Skylightrain magazine, here. Or if you fancy reading a different type of short story, why not have a look at my short story menu here.

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