Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Swim By Daniel Woodrell


Alek Dunahew hit the river at a slant and came up spewing a brown spray. The river tasted of sickness and rot and he swallowed plenty. He beat at the surface, coughing, sinking. The river pulled him from the shallows to the channel. The old bridge cast a shadow over the river ahead and he went through the dimness and back into light.

A tug was abreast of him, but far away. Two men on the deck stared and waved their arms. They were going upriver and he was going down, soon to be dead. They couldn’t help, but they watched, shouting something to him that the wind muffled. He tried to stroke the surface the way he’d seen everybody else stroke water, but it didn’t work for him, keep him afloat or move him closer to the bank. Cars going to and from St Louis made the bridge hum indifferently with their tyres and speed. He saw the sun up there, shining the surface a brighter brown as he sank, and his prayer was continuous now as he drifted in the sick river and swallowed. He stuck his arms forward in panic and pulled to his chest, pulled like a frog, pulled again and again. It felt like he was moving some, underwater, swimming like a frog, and when he came up next the trees seemed closer. The river was brute and strong and he was new to this, swimming, but he kept doing it, going under and remembering how frogs did it, how they pulled through water and didn’t drown, didn’t drown, until he felt muck under his sneakers and stood trembling in shallows looking up the mud bank. Butter held a long stick down.

“Grab hold ’n’ I’ll pull.”

“I thought I was dead.”

“You shouldn’t’ve lipped off.”

The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell is out now (Sceptre)



The ShortList crime challenge

james sallis.jpg

James Sallis


The long drop by Will Self



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

These are the books Barack Obama says everyone should read this year

Be like Barack

by Sam Diss
17 Jan 2017

The best new books of 2017

New year, new reads

by Sam Diss
04 Jan 2017

Donald Ray Pollock: Inside the mind of a nightmare specialist

Modern master of disturbing prose on the moments from page & screen that made him who he is

05 Oct 2016