Daily Archives: November 12, 2013

Review of novella Bite by Gardner Goldsmith


I picked up this copy from the author himself – which is always a special moment for any book addict. As ever, I was drawn to it by the awesome cover, being the shallow sort who likes tremendous art and splashes of colour to adorn my books. And for once, the blurb on the front got it exactly right. An action-packed collision of horror and noir, it announced.

Sylvester Cole is the classic noir protagonist. An outsider, balancing on a moral tightrope where he struggles to do the right thing, bite-smallagainst the constant pressure caused by fighting feral beings who treat humanity like cattle. Creatures for whom our justice system was never devised. He is exhausted and jangled after a particularly traumatic case where one of those morally ambiguous areas look less grey and more black – when the girl of his dreams sashays across the bar and in breathless tones, appeals to him for help…

As comfortingly familiar as late night cocoa. But don’t get too relaxed. Like the title, this story has teeth. So does Goldsmith pull off his particular version of this very well-known territory? Yes he does.

The prose is wonderful. I love his particular blend of metaphor and sharp characterisation as he builds the world, which is so precise and detailed you can inhale the fumes from Sylvester’s glass. Goldsmith’s experience as a screenwriter shows in his slick depiction of a main character who we quickly bond with, despite his rough exterior. I’m looking forward to reading his first novel.

So does he successfully wrap up this slim volume? Well… I have to say that the ending slightly winded me – I certainly didn’t see it coming. And, yes, it works. But I wanted more of Sylvester and the mysterious beautiful girl, so the slightly abrupt conclusion to their story jarred, rather. If you like your fiction stylish, dark and on the shorter side, then Bite will surely tick all the boxes.