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Dirty Old Town (And Other Stories) [Kindle Edition]

nigel bird
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'A fantastic writer.' Donald Ray Pollock

'Nigel Bird is fast becoming one of the top writers in his genre.' Luca Veste

DIRTY OLD TOWN is the debut collection from the prize-winning writer Nigel Bird. His brilliantly observed slices of life allow us to visit places we may not normally choose to enter and to walk a few miles in the shoes of others.

Though his tales have darkness at their core, they are also full of a heart and spirit that one rarely finds in the world or ‘noir’ or ‘crime-writing’.

There are 9 stories here: Drinking Wine (Spo-Dee-Oh-Dee); Dirty Old Town; Sea Minor; Sisterhood; One Hundred And Ten Per Cent; Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight); Three Little Birds; and Silver Street. Each will remain with you for days after you’ve read it. Some will be around for weeks.

In this collection we meet a frustrated housewife who needs to let her hair down; an elderly school janitor who can’t see the wood for the trees; a group of Muslims intent on revenge; a young girl whose father has just left home; a father and son breaking-and-entering partnership; a young man working on a city farm; and a pimp who’s fallen in love. All of them struggle to meet life’s demands and some of them cope better than others.

Five of the stories here have been published by the highly respected editors of The Reader Magazine, A Twist Of Noir, Beat To A Pulp, Title Fights, Static Movement and Dark Valentine. The collection also includes two pieces that are being given their first outing and another that was put together put for the Big Beat From Badsville's Ramones series.

The story 'Sisterhood' was selected for publication in Mammoth's Best British Crime Stories 9.

In 2010 Nigel Bird was the winner of the prestigious Watery Grave Invitational competition hosted by the Drowning Machine. Since then he has gone on to win the Things I’d Rather Be Doing fairytale/crime-story competition.

Praise for Nigel Bird and his work includes:

'The stories have well written plots and all have unexpected endings which are not obvious when reading them. I found the stories to be well conceived and ideal to read in ebook format. I hope that Nigel is able to write a full size novel to further develop his writing skills. Some of the short stories here could easily have been the base for a much longer book.' Paul Blackburn (at Euro Crime)

‘This is crime writing at its best. Read this collection, it is a crime not to do so.’
Richard Godwin (Apostle Rising)

'Each story is short and sweet, most with a nice wicked twist at the end. The blurb accompanying the collection says that the stories will stay with you for a while. A couple of them have certainly been rattling round my head for a few days. I did have one complaint, however – I wanted more of them! A nice collection.' Rob Kitchin (View From The Blue Room)

‘I was surprised by every story. These are short, punchy, thoughtful, hard as a punch, but sometimes they dig in and squeeze. It's dirty stuff, done beautifully.Nigel is also responsible for the too-cool "Dancing With Myself" interview series at his blog, Sea Minor.” Anthony Neil Smith (Yellow Medicine, Psychosomatic, Hogdoggin')

‘Taking A Line For A Walk’, included here, was listed among the top 5 stories of 2010 by Bill Hayes and Naomi Johnson over at Death By Killing.

'It won't take long to realise he is also one of the best writers out there on the noir scene' Ian Ayris (Abide With Me)

‘A rare talent.’ Allan Guthrie (Bye Bye Baby, Hard Man, Slammer)

‘So nice to read a story with this much heart in it.’ Patti Abbott (Discount Noir, Pattinase)

‘Great Stuff.’ Charlie Stella (Charlie Opera, Johnny Porno)

‘Brilliantly razor-sharp, jagged slice of life.’ Paul D Brazill (ubiquitous, You Would Say That Wouldn’t You)

‘I sought out everything I could from him. I dare you to read and not do the same.’ Chris F Holm (8 Pounds)

‘Took my breath away...Powerful.’ Kathleen A Ryan

Product Details

  • File Size: 196 KB
  • Print Length: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Sea Minor (December 21, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,362 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirty Stories February 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There's nine stories here, and each one offers a unique little slice of filthy life. From the downbeat last day of a tormented old janitor in "Taking a Line for a Walk" to the dark and clever humor of the Ramones-inspired "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight)", Bird displays a remarkable insight into what makes the lowlifes and losers of the world tick.
He's at his best with the stories written in first person, and fortunately that's the majority of them. It's the voice, man: it's authentic and sincere and real, shot through with remarkable bits of insightful black humor.
Like this one, from the title story, "Dirty Old Town", which starts with the narrator getting the bee-jeezus beaten out of him:
"It was like my birthday in reverse. They gave plenty and I ended up with less than I started with."
That line kills me.
At .99 cents on Kindle, this is the kind of bargain you don't wanna miss. Bird is the real deal.
Favorite stories:
"Taking a Line for a Walk"
"Dirty Old Town"
"One Hundred and Ten Percent"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One hell of a writer for one hell of a price... February 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nigel Bird walks a tightrope. He's a writer capable of great brutality, quick wit, and stunning grace, and you'll often find all three in the same story. The first story I read of his made me stand up and take notice, and everything I've read since has proven this particular pony's got a whole big bag of tricks.

Speaking of tricks, the price point of this baby's gotta be one. Nine stories from a guy at the top of his game for under a buck? I don't know what he's playing at, but I say snatch it up while the snatching is good...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir With Soul March 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Most modern noir I've read is purely centered on crime, revenge- the dirty deeds. Nigel Bird's `Dirty Old Town' takes this a step further, digging underneath the dirty deeds to the mere oil slick black soul of it. There is depth, humanity, an ironic sense of humor mimicking real life. His stories reach in and ask questions, where most noir forces the answer without taking the time to build the question. I find this incredibly refreshing and it shows Nigel's talent. I would love to read a longer work by this writer. For lovers of noir and crime this collection is a must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taut and Terrific November 17, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nigel Bird's "Dirty Old Town" is a collection of 9 dark slices of (low) life from the award winning short story writer. The stories are nicely varied in tone and structure. My favorites are the deeply sad tale of a school janitor's last day "Taking a Line for a Walk" and the humorous tale of father/son thieves "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight)".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Human, All Too Human. February 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One thing I like about Nigel Bird's stories is that he doesn't look down his nose at the people in them - and they seem like people.Real people. People who've been around the block and people who have knocked a few blocks off. And both.

Also, he touches on so many worlds! An Olympic team! A school caretaker! Small time crims!

In the hands of someone like James 'butterfingers' Kellman, these stories could seem heavy handed and self serving but not when Nigel Bird is molding them into something special.

Dirty Old Town is a top collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection April 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
British crime short stories have always been a favourite of mine...but there is something a little different here. Sure there is violence, death, drugs, all the usual suspects - but Nigel's ability to crack open the doorway to the motivations of the violence and crime is what made me really like this collection. Not every story was a favourite, but there was much more great than just good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, quick read March 3, 2012
By Jeff H
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Since I've bought the Kindle, I've been searching out cheap interesting reads. I liked all of these short stories. I'm not a big literary guy, just like reading - especially fiction with conflicted characters. The characters in the short stories seem slightly dark, but basically everyday people who encounter events that take them over the edge. Each story has a nice flow, a little different style, and an abrupt end with a nice twist. I found this book recommended from Donald Ray Pollock's blog, and well worth .99 and a few hours on a Saturday.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shorts that pack a punch! August 4, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Nigel Bird writes short story fiction that grabs you, pulls you in, and doesn't let go. Brilliant portrayals of life's darker side and all at once beautiful to read! Nine stories not to be missed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars What a load of old tosh!
I honestly don’t know what this book was about. Great title, but what Old Town? I still don’t know. Is it Glasgow, London, Manchester, a little fishing village in Scotland, I don’t... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Karl Wiggins
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales From the Bad Side of Town
Flawed people in extreme circumstances. These stories are well written tales about people from the wrong side of town. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Speedy
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent set of short stories.
I read the book in one sitting - the stories were quite different from each-other, and although there was slight cliche here and there, on the whole they were original and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by James West
5.0 out of 5 stars A nine-punch combination
I came to Nigel Bird's work after reading the very enjoyable collections that he helped oversee, Pulp Ink 1 and 2. I wanted to see more of his own work and I'm glad I did. Read more
Published on September 3, 2012 by Mets6986
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
This is a very well-written book of short stories. I am enjoying shorts more and more since I bought my kindle. Read more
Published on July 20, 2012 by Ignite
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but I missed the message
Was there one in this nihilistic vision of life without sense?

Some of the stories are good, not a lot of them, mind, and some are worth nothing with no perceptible... Read more
Published on May 6, 2012 by Bordeaux Dogue
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Crafted Short Story Volume Shines With Grit and Wit
I first met Nigel Bird through participating in his fun interview weblog, DANCING WITH MYSELF. I've been keeping a stack of ebooks, his accomplished short story collection DIRTY... Read more
Published on January 9, 2012 by Ed Lynskey,
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Collection
Nigel Bird's bleak style plays well in this collection of narratives. His characters bleed off the page and into your consciousness. Read more
Published on October 27, 2011 by Jason W. Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a good Guy Ritchie movie
Nigel Bird's collection DIRTY OLD TOWN is a nice surprise (and only 99 cents, amazingly!) His pacing, wit, and zinger endings are terrific. Read more
Published on October 5, 2011 by D. G. Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting very dirty in "Dirty Old Town and Other Stories"
Featuring nine stories by Edinburgh resident Nigel Bird, this short collection features tales told by adults and juveniles dealing with dark days and even darker thoughts. Read more
Published on August 18, 2011 by Kevin Tipple
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More About the Author

Nigel Bird was born in Liverpool in the sixties,grew up in Preston, Lancashire and migrated south to study in London. During that time, he enjoyed many of the cultural benefits of the city and qualified as a primary school teacher. Among other things, he lived for several years on a narrow boat on the Regent's canal.

He moved to Scotland at the end of 1999 in the hope that he could begin the new century with a clean slate. He currently lives in Dunbar (Sunny Dunny) on Scotland's east coast with his wife and three children.

Nigel has been writing for many years. He co-edited the Rue Bella magazine between 1998 and 2003 with his brother, Geoff. He has won a number of small prizes for his poetry and short fiction and hopes that his longer work will be equally well-received one day.

He is the author of a number of short-story collections, novellas and novels including Southsiders, Mr Suit, Smoke and Dirty Old Town.

As well as writing, he continues to teach and is currently a Support for Learning teacher in Tranent.

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