Click here to read “Chop Chop”: winner of Writing Magazine’s Single Character Short Story Competition and published in March 2020 issue. Below are the judges’ comments.
These reviews are gathered from various platforms, including Amazon.
“AJ Reid’s ‘A Smaller Hell’ is a fable of our time.” – ***** KT Acolyte
“An electrifying piece of literature.” – ***** Whim
“The author takes you on a trip through the underworld and keeps the reader captivated throughout the book and wanting to learn more about the sordid secrets of Ms Doyle.” – ***** Iain Bennett
“A highly enjoyable tale with a bit of everything; love, crime, black humour and magic.” – *****
“A tale of love, hate, fear and deceit that truly captivates your imagination and drags you head first into a world where things are not always as they seem, a plot which has your heart racing as you eagerly turn page after page, unable to put the book down!” – ***** Richard Mortimore
“AJ Reid is a superb storyteller and this book had me gripped right up to Christmas. Would certainly recommend in the festive season and all year round for that matter!” – *****
“Beautifully written with rich imagery; the atmosphere is surreal but tense. Tony Black is in hiding and will take work wherever he can, even if he’s warned to stay away from Tanner’s Department Store over and over again. Tony soon begins to see how completely Ms Doyle controls her employees, and how cruelly she exploits them. She is the tyrant of Tanner’s, she has four police officers under her thumb, and she always gets what she wants … or else.” – ***** Susanna
“Love story? Psychological thriller? You decide! A page turner with some rather bizarre twists, but an extremely entertaining read. One truly comes to care about the characters within.” – ***** Shele S. Hobza
“Excellent short story, delves in to the sometimes murky dangerous world of Rock music, drugs and unpredictable self important so called rock stars clutching at their miserable ego boosted existence, AJ writes with believability, a very enjoyable story, hope there’s much more to come.” ***** – Mistydog
“Short and sweet but kept my attention till the end wish it had been a little longer. Great character and event description and darkly funny at times.” **** – Jane
“Being a singer who has used music studios since 1980, I was intrigued to discover how the author, also a musician speaking from first hand knowledge, handled the subject of a serial killing sound engineer. In essence a studio is rarified environment. Once you put those total noise cancellation headphones on, the result is a close to silence as you could probably get on Planet Earth. So if someone came up behind you with a weapon, you would not have a chance to react. You might as well be rigging up your own noose. Add to this, the necessary security required to protect expensive equipment and a psychotic engineer in charge would have captive victims at his mercy.
A.J Reid captures this chilling prospect with aplomb via a skilful, well written narrative, strong characterisation (so important yet often overlooked in crime writing) and a cabled plot that leads the reader to a stark resolution. What’s not to like? Rock and roll of course has its dark side, so Reid’s fresh studio perspective becomes even more believable. If you are a fan of crime writing, you will not be disappointed as all the ingredients of abject revulsion yet utter compulsion drive the plot forwards like power chords. You don’t have to be a muso to enjoy this young novelist’s kill fest. You do need an imagination though, but I do not recommend you read this with your fancy cans on your ears. Listening to music on headphones after reading ‘Grey Noise’ would be like taking a shower following Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho. ‘You have been warned.” – ***** KT