The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

August 24, 2010


With a wicked sense of humor and a deft hand with the plot twist, Simon Wood makes Working Stiffs, a collection of six short stories and one novella, a delight from beginning to wild, wild end. The stories are tied together with a workplace theme, and collectively convey a new understanding of just how dangerous the job can be.

In Old Flames Burn the Brightest, a renowned mystery writer finds himself boxed into a murderous corner not of his own writing.

In My Father's Secret, young Vincent helps his dad out in the hardware store until he discovers his father is moonlighting. And what Vincent knows could get his father killed. This story won the 2007 Anthony Award at Bouchercon for Best Short Story.

Sam just can't resist a pretty woman. It gets him A Break in the Old Routine, not to mention the job interview of a lifetime.

Parental Control puts a whole new spin on the concept of 'tough love' when Preston refuses to stand by as his son makes poor life choices. When Preston decides to apply the same kind of 'touch love' to the workplace, he finds it a much happier place to be. But you might not want to be his boss.

Kenneth Casper, aging and decrepit CEO of a major corporation, seeks out a Chilean shaman for a healing that will enable him to lead his company with renewed vigor, in The Real Deal. But of course, some people would just as soon see Kenneth retire.

When a street hood takes beat cop Webber's gun away from him and nearly kills him, in Officer Down, Webber has to take some time off the job to get his head straight. But he can't get his head straight until he gets that gun back. And once he does that, should he keep it?

The Fall Guy is a freewheeling five-part novella that begins with Todd working a dead-end job. Trying to avoid being late -- again -- Todd has the misfortune to back his POS car into a Porsche Boxster, breaking a headlight on the expensive vehicle. In order to pay for the damages, Todd explores all kinds of job skills he wasn't even aware he possessed, like safecracking and grave digging.. The job perks include traveling the country with six keys of coke and a corpse not of his making -- at least not directly. Crime hasn't been this much fun or unpredictable since the time second-story man John Dortmunder squeezed himself into a dishwasher. You can sample a small portion of part one of this novella by clicking here.

Working Stiffs is available in paperback, as well as in a $2.99 ebook format at:


  1. Great review! It's nice to see that more authors are releasing short story collections as e-books. I've read Wood's short pieces before (Toastmasters from Seattle Noir and the above-mentioned My Father's Secret) and I'm looking forward to checking out this collection.

  2. Thanks Naomi. I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

    Chris: I hope you get as big a kick out of the book as NJ did.

    My plan is to continue releasing more collections. I like reading them myself, so I'm a little biased. I've brought out a new one recently and I have a couple lined up over the next few months. For me, there's something powerful about a short story.

  3. Chris, I'm right with you. I like the easy accessibility that ebooks provides for collections and anthologies. I never thought I'd have much positive to say about ebooks, but that's a big plus for both authors and readers.

    Simon, I know you're knee deep in writing novels but I'm happy to know you don't plan to abandon the short form.

  4. Storytelling is storytelling--regardless of length. :-)

  5. Nice review. I've read Working Stiffs and I highly recommend it. Simon Wood's quirky stories were a fun read, though at times I had to look around and be glad they were fiction. Parental Control was a special favorite of mine.