It Will Be Quick by Karl Drinkwater #BookReview #BlogTour

A single decision can save – or ruin – a life.
An opportunistic baby theft by a young woman in pain. Two strangers shipwrecked on a lifeless rock, unable to speak the same language. An isolated cycling holiday descends into terror. One woman seeks the courage to destroy her life. A miracle unites a community, and teenagers take a stand against hypocrisy.
Karl Drinkwater presents characters to root for – and characters to dread – in sixteen tales of humanity, endurance, and spirit.

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for It Will be Quick today. Many thanks to Karl Drinkwater and to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

I've been a fan of Karl Drinkwater's writing for some time now and have read a few of his contemporary and science-fiction novels and novellas but It Will Be Quick is the first time I've read any of his short stories. I planned to dip in and out of them but found them far too addictive and ended up binge reading them in a couple of days! This is an eclectic collection, without a weak story among it so I'd love to tell you something about each of them but instead I'll leave some surprises and just pick out a few of my particular favourites. 
The first story, Fire in the Hole is an excellent opener; it may be just a few pages long but it feels fully-formed. A single-hander, the character development is superb and as the story progressed I found my feelings towards the woman constantly changed even while my heart was in my mouth. SenSorOS is a very different story and is strikingly relevant in this technological age when most of us are beholden to our phones and computers, meaning we have no choice but to agree to those lengthy T&Cs. I shared in the fictional (and I suspect real) author's rage here as she discovered what clicking 'agree' to the EULA meant but this is an ominous story too and I can only hope that it doesn't prove to be prescient...
Below the Surface follows two shipwreck survivors who are clinging for life on a small rocky outcrop. As they struggle to survive the elements while they desperately wait to be rescued, this suspenseful, exciting story is also rather emotional and even quite life-affirming. I loved the way the prose changes here to reflect the increasingly confused mental state of the stranded man battling the high tide and burning sun with very little in the way of sustenance. Hell's Bean Curd is a lighter tale and isn't a damning statement about tofu; this little vignette set in a café delights in its black humour, particularly the deliciously dark ending.
As a thriller lover, it's perhaps not surprising that How I Wonder What You Are was one of my favourites. It is one of the longest stories but even so, it really is a credit to Karl Drinkwater's writing that in less than 50 pages, there are some gripping, nerve-wracking action scenes, a constant feeling of suspense and a fascinating character arc. Ed and Kayla are on holiday in Scotland and are on a rather fraught cycle ride. Ed isn't an especially sympathetic character and yet as their day out descends into a nightmare, it was impossible not to feel terrified for him and his girlfriend. I'm obviously not going to give away the ending but I really didn't see it coming and absolutely loved it!  I found myself holding my breath again in FileKiller but for a totally different reason. Like watching a less deadly game of Russian Roulette, this is one of those stories where readers will undoubtedly question how far they would go. FileKiller is another with a brilliant ending - it concludes the story and yet left me intrigued as to what happened next. 
14 is a thought-provoking, perceptive tale about a teenage boy who reads a newspaper article about ruddy ducks and makes a decision which ultimately leads him to a terrible dilemma. This was another of my favourites and is a clever exploration of attitudes towards perceived differences. Balance is a very cleverly structured story which is quite hard to review without giving too much away. It follows a woman slave in a fictional Romanesque setting but as it reaches its terrible conclusion, it eventually transpires that the truth is even more unsettling than it first appears and is another that definitely made me think about how easily what we accept can end up changing the world as we know it.
I could easily have written something about any of the other stories in It Will Be Quick; this really is a fabulous short story collection that made me laugh, cry and grit my teeth while it raised my pulse level and made me think. I'd say it was the perfect read before bed but such irresistible stories means it's only too easy to keep turning the page for "just one more" so be prepared for a late night! Highly recommended.

Purchasing links for It Will Be Quick can be found on Karl's website and here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”. Karl is an active member of the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).
When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake. Not necessarily in that order.