Do Not Pass Go by Joel Lane — chapbook review

Do Not Pass Go by Joel Lane. Nine Arches Press/Hotwire ‘5.00.

Reviewed by Peter Coleborn

Joel Lane writes with a passion for Birmingham’s dark side, and that of the equally dismal surroundings in the Black Country. Sure, the place names may not mean much if you don’t know the locations used by Lane. But to this reviewer, who spent twenty years in that city, they evoke memories and feelings (some good, some not so) of England’s “Second City”. Into this arena, Lane’s characters attempt to deal with their weaknesses, their failings, their vices. The five stories contained in this chapbook (one original, four reprints) exemplify these superbly. They are always human, always vulnerable — even when one might think otherwise.

Nine Arches Press’s imprint, Hotwire, has produced a neat, clean-looking chapbook (40 pages). I especially like the cream-coloured paper and the black end pages. They add a touch of sophistication that contrasts with the dismal episodes described herein. Even though it’s a slim publication, a contents page would’ve been useful. And I would’ve preferred some more imaginative artwork on the cover.

Do Not Pass Go by Joel Lane. Nine Arches Press/Hotwire ‘5.00.

Reviewed by Peter Coleborn

Joel Lane writes with a passion for Birmingham’s dark side, and that of the equally dismal surroundings in the Black Country. Sure, the place names may not mean much if you don’t know the locations used by Lane. But to this reviewer, who spent twenty years in that city, they evoke memories and feelings (some good, some not so) of England’s “Second City”. Into this arena, Lane’s characters attempt to deal with their weaknesses, their failings, their vices. The five stories contained in this chapbook (one original, four reprints) exemplify these superbly. They are always human, always vulnerable — even when one might think otherwise.

Nine Arches Press’s imprint, Hotwire, has produced a neat, clean-looking chapbook (40 pages). I especially like the cream-coloured paper and the black end pages. They add a touch of sophistication that contrasts with the dismal episodes described herein. Even though it’s a slim publication, a contents page would’ve been useful. And I would’ve preferred some more imaginative artwork on the cover.