Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Laying brick by Frank Bill


Born two parts Irish one part German, Manus Grady had taken the indented bone from a father that outweighed him by a full wheelbarrow of granite.

A man who’d taught him how to lay brick. And by the time he’d matured to voting age, he realised how unfair the world was. Got hitched with Dixie, a like-minded female of Pam Grier proportions that he’d loved and adored enough to seed her womb with a responsibility, gave air to a pale-fleshed boy he’d label Otis, who’d grow into a food-smudged six-year-old affliction.

Manus realised it’d take more than a masonry trade to provide an existence for his family. Began surveying the coming and goings of homeowners around the areas where he laboured. On lunches he’d kick down doors and bust panes of glass. Sometimes he opened skin if surprised by housewives or elderly retirees, levelled their interruptions to his criminalities. Then proceeded to fill his backpack with valuables to pawn for quick cash. Keeping food in his loved ones’ mouths and the electric humming, until Christmas came with a splintering doorframe and the bark of three men threatening, “You robbed the wrong address, Grady!”

Otis and Dixie dropped their boxed-up toys and clothing while rage spliced Manus’s spine viewing these men railing .45s and disorder. Manus clenched his knuckles into trespasser one’s paunch, helped him find the scuffed hardwood.

Dixie screamed.

Gunfire became the only sound in everyone’s ears. Otis yelped like a baby pup. Dotted Manus’s nerves with numb. Weight slapped the floor. Man number two axe-handled his pistol’s butt against Manus’s temple. Rang a bell of quiet. Weak-kneed Manus around to his tear-eyed son who sat before a shape that drained and dampened the woodworking and Manus knew he should’ve stuck to laying brick.

Donnybrook by Frank Bill is out now (William Heinemann)

(Image: Frank Bill's House of Grit)



The Best Crime Novel Covers Ever


The ShortList crime challenge


Three hundred by Anthony Horowitz



The 30 most memorable literary fathers

These book dads certainly left an impression

16 Jun 2017

I judged the International Booker Prize shortlist by their covers

So the saying doesn't go

by Gary Ogden
28 Apr 2017

Women fancy men who read and this is the book that impresses them most

But it doesn't work the other way

by Tom Mendelsohn
28 Apr 2017

The physical Amazon bookstore is using really cool ways to group books

Online meets the real world

by Dave Fawbert
03 Apr 2017

14 new books you need to read in April

The best picks for your reading pile this month

by Dan Dalton
31 Mar 2017

This bookshop is giving clickbait titles to all the classics

"Teenage girl tricked boyfriend into killing himself" - anyone?

by Emily Reynolds
31 Mar 2017

These bored book store employees deserve all the Instagram followers

Bookface goes French at Librairie Mollat

by Dave Fawbert
21 Mar 2017

Philip Pullman has just saved us all from Real Life

Here's what we know about 'Book of Dust'

15 Feb 2017

Orwell’s 1984 book sales spike after Trump’s inauguration

We've gone full blown Orwellian now

by Jamie Carson
25 Jan 2017

Mark Twain's unfinished children's story to be released this year

Find out when The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine will hit the shelves

24 Jan 2017