Stealing Smokes

by John Hanlon

The first thing that attracted me to this book was definitely the cover, a car very recognisible from my youth. So initially with the title and the cover, I thought it was going to be an autobiographical work, reminiiscing about a misspent youth or suchlike . Then I read the blurb, realise it is a series of short stories by a guy in New Zealand. I think I’ll give it a go, even though I live on the other side of the world to this gentleman, and may not hold too much common ground.
It isn’t often that I come across such an entertaining book, I would have guessed it was slightly autobiographical, John even refers to certain characters being actual people. I did find too that the author portrayed quite clearly a lot of flaws that show in people’s characters as we travel through life.
A few little interesting stories, some rather surreal, drawing a little from that kind of angels looking down upon us, Mitch Albanesque type vibe going on. Though very entertaining all the same.
Mr. Hanlon seems to have a finger on a pulse that many of us can associate with, especially some of us in the more mature bracket. He also seems to have a sense of humour that tuned in with me. I laughed out loud many times reading it.
Well done John, you have a quality in writing that seems more and more at a lack these days, and that is to be a writer who can communicate with the reader. Too many writers these days are stuck in their own self-indulgence and importance, that they rapidly forget that it is a readership they are writing for. 10/10 for effort in that area.
So from across the seas, I give it five stars from all of us here in the old country. Of course, John, if you ever find yourself in Dublin, give us a shout and we’ll talk books over a pint of the black stuff! All the best, and well done!

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