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This collection of tough, urban reality short stories, You Are Here, by Joe Boland, are set in Romville, a fictional town in Connecticut. They are told in a direct, no-frills style. Hardships and horror aren’t damped down, and the language is uncompromising too. But in the same unexaggerated way, there is dark humour and also trust, loyalty, and love. There may not be much of these last three, and sometimes the characters don’t even recognise it, but it is there and it gives just enough hope to keep humanity hanging on. The people we meet see what’s bad and good in others, and in themselves too, and don’t gloss over any failings and disappointments.

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The stories are This Story, Well She Killed Me, Where the World Goes When It Goes Away, Division Street, Dreamy, My Life Up To Now and Not a Word. Between them they demonstrate the creativity and versatility of the author. Whilst all fall into the genre of noir, they are all original and quirky and peopled by unique characters. There are no stereotypes but sharp insights into personalities and somewhat bleak situations.

You Are Here is a refreshing, rewarding, unconventional collection of stories for someone who enjoys a more challenging read.

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The book is available from http://www.ramsfieldpress.com/ and also from Amazon.

Joe Boland’s website is here.

His Facebook page is here.

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