I’ve known of Craig Wallwork for quite awhile. We both frequent The Velvet forums, though him more so than me. A lot like the other writers on The Velvet his work was one that I always meant to check out. His name has sat on that ever growing list of people I want to read. With the publication of Warmed and Bound, an anthology from The Velvet, that finally changed. After reading Craig’s story, Bruised Flesh, I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long to check his work out. Coincidentally, right after I finished reading W&B I came across the pre-order for his first book, Quintessence of Dust. I jumped all over that. It was really cool that while waiting for my copy of the book to arrive Kuboa Press made a few of their titles available for free on smashwords. I was able to download QoD and read it before the physical book was in my hands.
This is a collection of eleven stories, all well written and most are a bit twisted. There is one common factor that binds all these stories together, and that is Mr. Wallwork’s amazing talent. From the emotional impact of a father and his young daughter fighting to survive in Night Holds A Scythe; to one man’s duty to be there for his best friend, who happens to be a Minotaur, in Men of Honor. These stories are original, interesting, and extremely well written. Craig Wallwork seems to have quite the imagination, and he possesses the skills to expertly convey said imagination onto paper.
It would almost be too difficult to pick a favorite from this collection, but if pressed, I really enjoyed Morning Birdsong quite a bit. The character of Ralph was both humorous yet heroic when the time called for it. There could be a larger story behind this short one, and I would be all for reading it.
These stories will pull you into their world and you will know these characters like they are your friends, or your neighbors, or someone sitting next to you on the train. There is no doubt in my mind that Craig Wallwork is a name we’ll be seeing more of, and I for one am grateful. He writes the kind of stories that keeps me reading books, and he writes them better than a lot of the big names.