REVIEW: Death on a Dirty Afternoon by Colin Garrow

I love a good detective story, and Colin Garrow delivers beautifully within the pages of Death on a Dirty Afternoon (The Terry Bell Mysteries Book 1).

The most interesting detective / thrillers always have an ordinary John Q. Public thrust into a mystery that needs to be solved for self-preservation (for example, The Thirty-Nine Steps, North by Northwest, or The Man Who Knew Too Much, all directed by Alfred Hitchcock). This wry whodunit follows that tradition, telling the tale of a cab driver named Terry Bell who becomes a suspect in a series of murders. The cabbie must conduct his own investigation in order to prove his innocence.


In the Author’s Notes, Colin Garrow states that he did spend some time as a cab driver in a seaside English town. The otherwise quaint setting for tourists is a veil for a seedy underworld culture lurking in the city. Naturally, a cab driver would get familiar with the locations of brothels, and at least be acquainted with certain “less than savory” residents. He worked this aspect of a cab driver’s life into the story, and it lends credence to the overall plot.

Author Colin Garrow has a flowing style which never comes across as heavy-handed. I did not have to backtrack at any point. I am in disagreement with some reviewers at Amazon who stated that the author should’ve Americanized some of the dialog instead of delving too deeply in local slang and accents in the UK. An author must be honest and try to present a true representation of the setting. Good show, Colin.

Also, Mr. Garrow daringly wrote this clever story in the first person. I usually shy away from that narrative perspective. My ears screech too often in critique sessions when someone makes an attempt at writing in the first person. Normally, the word “I” is used 45-60 times per page. Therefore, I usually beg them to stop and try it from a different angle. However, Colin Garrow handles this problem quite deftly without over-using the dreaded pronoun.

Mr. Garrow has created a rather complicated plot with all of the investigative dead ends, discoveries, and twists which are indicative of the genre. Yet I did not get lost or confused at any time. Also, when our hero Terry Bell uses his ingenuity to get out of tight scrapes, it always seems plausible.

At only $2.99 (USD) on Amazon, this little gem is a bargain and comes highly recommended. You can also pay a visit Colin Garrow’s website here.

My Favorite Films of the 1950’s

O.K. Movie Buffs, here’s a list of my favorite movies from the 1950’s. Now I’m sure that some of you are going to say, “You’ve got to be kidding me?” for a few selections. But, although there are some cheesy sci-fi flicks listed, they are part of my favorites, the ones that I like to curl up with on a lonely night or rainy day.


Public Domain Image courtesy of Pixabay

One listing has its controversy. There was a bit of a burning question in Cinema Studies during the 80’s and 90’s. Who really directed “The Thing”? IMDB currently lists Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks (uncredited) as co-directors, so I guess the mystery has been settled. By the way, this film has some of the best dialog ever written for the silver screen.

I still believe that it was Howard Hawks. He had a somewhat legendary status by 1950, and he probably didn’t want an association with a Sci-Fi film. The story was incredibly original and the film looks, tastes, feels, and smells like his fingerprints are all over it. I also once recommended this film for authors who want to write better dialog.

50. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers…d. Fred F. Sears

49. Umberto D…d. Vittorio De Sica (Italy)

48. Sunset Boulevard…d. Billy Wilder

47. Rashomon…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

46. Paths of Glory…d.Stanley Kubrick

45. Witness for the Prosecution…d. Billy Wilder

44. Showboat…d. George Sidney

43. Le Journal d’un Curé de Campagne…d. Robert Bresson (France)

42. Pickpocket…d. Robert Bresson (France)

41. Sanjiro Sugata…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

40. The Seven Samurai…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

39. A Face in the Crowd…d. Elia Kazan

38. Mr. Roberts…d. John Ford / Mervyn LeRoy

37. North by Northwest…d. Alfred Hitchcock

36. Rear Window…d. Alfred Hitchcock

35. Bob Le Flambeur…d. Jen-Pierre Melville (France)

34. The Man in the White Suit…d. Alexander Mackendrick (UK)

33. I’m Alright Jack…d. John Boulting (UK)

32. Them!…d. Gordon Douglas

31. House on Haunted Hill…d. Robb White

30. The Caine Mutiny…d. Edward Dmytryk

29. Rear Window…d. Alfred Hitchcock

28. From Here to Eternity…d. Fred Zinneman

27. The Quiet Man…d. John Ford

26. The Day the Earth Stood Still…d. Robert Wise

25. The Captain’s Paradise…d. Antony Kimmins (UK)

24. The Rose Tattoo…d. Daniel Mann

23. High Noon…d. Fred Zinneman

22. 12 Angry Men…d. Sidney Lumet

21. Singing in the Rain…d. Stanley Donen / Gene Kelly

20. Written on the Wind…d. Douglas Sirk

19. Touch of Evil…d. Orson Welles

18. The Seventh Seal…d. Ingmar Bergman (Sweden)

17. Throne of Blood…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

16. Creature from the Black Lagoon…d. Jack Arnold

15. Les Diaboliques…d. Henri-Georges Clouzot (France)

14. Invasion of the Body Snatchers…d. Don Siegel

13. All About Eve…d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

12. Ikiru…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

11. Forbidden Planet…d. Fred M. Wilcox

10. Les Quatre-Cent Coups…d. Francois Truffaut (France)

09. A Christmas Carol…d. Brian Desmond Hurst (UK)

08. Les Jeux Interdits…d. René Clément (France)

07. Hiroshima Mon Amour…d. Alain Resnais (France)

06. The Wages of Fear…d. Henri-Georges Clouzot (France)

05. Stalag 17…d. Billy Wilder

04. The Searchers…d. John Ford

03. The Thing From Another World…d. Christian Nyby / Howard Hawks (uncredited)

02. Ben-Hur…d. William Wyler

01. The Ten Commandments…d. Cecil B De Mille

Check out my other lists of favorite movies from the  1960’s  1970’s  1980’s  1990’s 


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A Purveyor of Odd Things Published!

Announcing the release of my newest short story, A Purveyor of Odd Things, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!  It’s a fun read for anyone who’s into detective stories, the supernatural, Hitchcock or the Twilight Zone.

The description: Meet Detective Renner Branson, a man so enslaved to his work that he’s forgotten how to live. In his newest baffling case, he will discover secrets – not just about the world, but about himself.  The terrors lurking within may shatter his grip on reality.  Or they may show him just how beautiful reality can be.


Branson squeezed his eyes shut. His sense of real and unreal, of possible and impossible, was shredded by these apparitions. He wanted so badly to run, run anywhere, to the car, to the gate, anything to get away from this insanity. But he wouldn’t – couldn’t – leave Hannah. Through his panic he became aware of her clammy hand clutching his, and though he tugged on it, she seemed unable to move. Paralyzed by that cold stare. Fight or flight…or freeze.

It’s up for only $0.99, come check it out!

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