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LONERS' Reviews

Loners' Mark SaFranko Mark SaFranko Loners' Full Cover Loners' Reviews Download a PDF sample of Loners Loners Loners on Amazon Buy our Books on our Paypal Shop Return to MurderSlim.com

"Spread over nine very different stories – and stripped for the most part of the youthful élan that underscored SaFranko’s novelistic tour-de-force Hating OliviaLoners takes us on a white-knuckle ride through the unchartered margins of contemporary American society, forcing us to look into all those grisly suburban nooks and crannies seldom explored by modern authors. The writing style throughout the book is beautifully sparse and chiselled, almost lapidarian in its Simenon-like simplicity. The characters are portrayed with strikingly graphic realism."
--- M.G. Sanchez (author of The Escape Artist)

"'Loners' -- a word that conveys many different emotions and situations -- is a collection of brilliant short stories that had me twisting inwardly as I read them. What's more they are stories that defy classification, that cannot be enclosed within a genre. The best description might be "American Realism," though that doesn't cover it either... Go ahead and read these stories. In case you missed my point: they are magnificent."
--- Seymour Shubin, from the introduction to Loners

"Reading SaFranko's fiction reveals a writer who owes an equal debt to Poe, Selby, Bukowski, Miller, Camus, Hammett, Celine...the list goes on. At the same time, he is the consummate stylist, a literary voice that is wonderfully original. Each story is perfectly crafted, each phrase reads effortlessly, though you know it has been laboured over, and each character haunts you long after you have put down the book.
"And it is this that makes Loners such a significant work of fiction... Reading SaFranko's stories will make you want to dust off your favourite literature and remind you why you fell in love with the power of words in the first place."
--- Zsolt Alapi (The Danforth Review)

"Mark SaFranko dazzles with Loners, an addictive, wide-ranging collection of crime stories of the highest order, and some of the most compelling character-driven fiction I've read in years. Very highly recommended."
--- Jason Starr (author of Lights Out, Bust and Cold Caller)

"From the very first story, 'The Man in Unit 24,' the author has the reader on tenterhooks, turning each page with their heart in their throat or mouth, but definitely not where it should normally be.... Yes, these stories are bleak, dark, and downright scary, but ultimately the end result is an incredibly life-affirming and rewarding literary experience, a rarity in these troubled and culturally trashy times.
"Loners [is] probably the best collection of short stories to be published this year. But don't take my word for it, go out and purchase a copy and see for yourself. Just be warned, reading these stories alone at night is not for the faint-hearted or those of a nervous disposition, but nevertheless highly recommended."
--- Joseph Ridgwell (The Beat)

"Does exactly what it says on the cover. Short stories about outcasts, killers, doomed loves. SaFranko can out-write most others around when he's on form. A welcome edition to the work. Keep it up, Mark & Murder Slim."
--- Steve Finbow (Glass Hombre)

"Everyone should read this — SaFranko's sense of an ending is amazing, and as he pursues it, he flirts with outcast status himself. Maybe that is why a few protagonists are also writers or artists. There's a lot going on here you just do not want to miss."
--- J. A. Gertzman(Amazon.com)

"There's no mystery why Mark SaFranko's work has appeared in places like Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Best American Mystery Stories. This is a writer who deals clues, manages pacing, establishes mood and character with a steady hand."
"These eight stories centre around isolated characters whose lives have gone from good to bad and are now on a trajectory towards various depths of hell: suicide, depression, abuse, murder and drink. If, in these starkly vivid tales, someone escapes one hell, it's usually because they've turned a corner towards another... [so] whether you're reading or flipping, do it under bright lights."
--- Bill Brown (Front and Centre)

"Murder Slim Press deserves high praise for having the temerity and vision to publish this overlooked American master. It's shocking and somewhat sad that a large American publisher (or even an "underground" one) hasn't taken him on. I don't know what these people are reading or thinking these days... If you're a true reader, with an open mind, an eye for well-crafted prose, and you want a change of pace from the gluey word porridge you've been scarfing lately, you can't go wrong with Hating Olivia, Lounge Lizard, or any of SaFranko's work."
--- Salvatore Difalco (Toro Magazine)

"Excellent story collection. Mark is a fine writer. Deep and penetrating. He is able to tell us a great deal about ourselves. The story about the serial killer ['Just Next Door'] was very interesting. You really trust the narrator and shouldn't. The title of the book is aptly named. One gets the feeling that the characters are alone even when they are with other people. Great stuff from Murder Slim Press."
--- Damion Hamilton (Amazon.com)

"It's not surprising that I'd be interested in reading a book called Loners. It's a collection of short stories by Mark SaFranko... I guess they'd qualify as noir, though, because they're dark and bleak as hell.
"SaFranko writes very well, with the ability to capture characters in a few brief strokes, and his dialogue rings true. I also like the fact that several of these stories have enough plot packed into them that they could have been novels, something that author Seymour Shubin comments on in his introduction... Overall, this is a very good collection."
--- James Reasoner (Rough Edges)