Des Dillon (4 stars)

They Scream When You Kill Them (Luath)


Writing this collection of shorts seems to have been an enjoyable experience for award-winning Scottish author Des Dillon, and the pages turn all the quicker for it. Gritty themes (violence, drugs, booze - actually, mostly booze) are the mortar between the 28 literary bricks; otherwise his pen runs wide and free, building brief insights into people, places and situations, some apparently drawn from strands of experience, others purely from a wildly creative imagination.

Notables include, ‘I Thought You’d Give Me Pills’ - a touching rumination on compassion and suffering provoked by a dying cat - and the hilarious humanisation of Strathclyde Police in ‘Motor Traffic Acts One and Two.’ That said, different combinations of standouts will apply to every reader, such is each short’s undoubted capacity to reflect a familiar little trait, memory or emotion in someone. Sometimes poignant, sometimes confounding and always vibrant of language, each of these stories has a power that belies its length.

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