Ex-soldier, and sometimes assassin, J.J Stoner has always lived above the law. When he is approached and handpicked by a mysterious man, known as “The Hardman” and is offered a substantial lump of cash in exchange for a hit, Stoner finds himself as a secret weapon, a type of mercenary, for the British government.
The Stoner Series is an anthology of short stories, by Frank Westworth, that follows anti-hero J.J Stoner. This anthology contains the first five stories: First Contact, Two Wrongs, Third Person, Four Cornered, Fifth Columnist, and Special Relationships (a sneak peak!) in the J.J Stoner series. Each of these thrillers can be read as a standalone, but they are quite entertaining to read all as a collection. Each story follows Stoner as he interacts with his kills and completes his various operatives.
The stories, themselves, sort of read like an episode of Sons of Anarchy if they took place in a James Bond world. They are all motorcycles, mischief, and mayhem without any gentlemen pleasantries. My favourite story was First Contact; I loved getting to know a little bit of backstory about Stoner and after the initial shock of how blunt Westworth is in his narrative style, I kicked back and enjoyed.
Stoner, as our heartless assassin, is actually quite likable. He is dangerous, complex and an all around badass. I loved the banter that Stoner has between whatever police or law enforcement he encounters. His nonchalance and wittiness ended up being a real treat to read.
There were moments in each of the stories that I found to be a little overwritten. I found myself wanting more direct banter between Stoner and those around him and less about other characters. I also found it a little confusing at times to figure out who some of the newly introduced characters were and how they connected; this is typical of how I feel during a short story, especially since the author only has a short amount of time to introduce, escalate and finalize the plot.
Overall, I enjoyed The Stoner Stories anthology by Frank Westworth. I’d give this one a read if you enjoy a thriller that is fast-paced and ruthless.
I voluntarily received a copy of this book from the author; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.