A single decision can save – or ruin – a life.
An opportunistic baby theft by a young woman in pain. Two strangers shipwrecked on a lifeless rock, unable to speak the same language. A remote cycling holiday descends into terror. One woman seeks the courage to destroy her life. A miracle unites a community, and teenagers take a stand against hypocrisy.
Karl Drinkwater presents characters to root for – and characters to dread – in sixteen tales of humanity, endurance, and spirit.
Varied contemporary fiction that mixes the darkness of Ian McEwan, the human complexities of Alice Munro, and the psychological suspense of Shirley Jackson.
If you buy here then more money goes to the author. Yay! But if you prefer to buy from online stores such as Amazon, Kobo, Nook or Apple then that’s cool too: here are links to the book on those sites (including print versions where available).
"This small book is great; deep, dark, twisty and ever so clever. An incredible writer who builds intense worlds and fills them with unforgettable characters. I cannot recommend this phenomenal book highly enough. Totally blew me away."
— Sahara DeVille
"This really is a fabulous short story collection that made me laugh, cry and grit my teeth while it raised my pulse level and made me think."
— Hair Past A Freckle: My Year in Books - 2021 Hall Of Fame
"A lovely book filled with a collection of interesting stories to captivate your imagination. It is a book like no other as you will find sixteen short stories of humanity, endurance and spirit. Each story will leave you feeling satisfied yet wanting to read more.
It is a unique book with sixteen contemporary short fiction stories which I found both entertaining and intriguing. Each story draws up deep emotions as I found myself rooting for a particular character or dreading them.
Karl Drinkwater is a unique writer who is able to write in different styles and I also love the characters he has created as well as the scenarios. Each story is different and showcases real-life decisions which the characters face such as love, losing a child, death and so forth. Although some of the topics are dark, I did not feel disturbed by reading it. It has been a while since I read a compilation of short stories so I was surprised to find how interesting this book was. Karl is such a gifted writer and was able to bring to life relatable stories of everyday people.
I found that with homeschooling and #lockdown3, I have had not much time to read, so having the chance to read these short stories in between my breaks has been a great way for me to continue reading and I did not realise how quickly I breezed through the 280 pages. It Will Be Quick is such a good read and one which I gladly will recommend."
— Yeah Lifestyle
"This is a collection of sixteen contemporary short stories. Each story wanders into a different landscape of emotional confusion, distress and the pain of not being heard. Simultaneously there are also stories that shine a light on the manipulation and control by big tech, the fraught political scenery we are trying to navigate and often simply just the story of life in general.
Obviously talking about each story would be a lot and leave nothing for potential readers to discover, however I will mention two of them.
Fire in the Hole – A tragic tale of desperation, mental health issues and how too many are falling through the cracks of the system. How perception is everything and misconceptions frame the way we view certain individuals.
SenSor OS is an incredibly clever tongue-in-cheek swipe at the stronghold technology has on us. We have literally become slaves to the variety of devices and screens we interact with each day. Certain software companies have made it impossible to make independent choices. Others manipulate politics and the law to steal and profit from the public domain. I loved this one by the way.
This book of short stories is indicative of the creative and versatile talent Drinkwater harbours. Each story is a potential novel in the making, each character has a story worth telling. Each brief moment fulfills the satisfying expectation of a longer tale."
— Cheryl M-M's Book Blog
"I absolutely love the short story form, and I am slowly but surely falling in love with a number of short story collections.
I found this collection to be entirely addictive and captivating. I found myself ignoring my children’s demands, announcing that they must wait until I come to the end of the story.
Within this collection, Karl deals with, or touches on, many controversial or interesting themes and topics. Sometimes the topics are dealt with sensitively and delicately, sometimes they are dealt with brutal force and forthright expression. The stories cover topics including: motherhood, suicide, survival, love, loss and family bonds. There is an honesty and a clarity to his writing; yet there is depth and elegance too.
There are also some highly original features to this short story collection. Firstly, it would be impossible to place these stories within a particular genre. Some are light, some are very, very dark. There are elements of cosy mystery, romantic fiction, domestic drama and gripping thrillers throughout the collection.
Secondly, there are original features to the style of the writing presented here. My favourite was probably the effective use of dialect. This helped me to quickly imagine and develop a connection with certain characters. Another extremely original feature was the use of monologue, almost presented as a stream of consciousness. Again, this builds the identity of the characters as well as making for an immersive reading experience.
The tales in this book are very varied. Some are thought-provoking and some are haunting. Either way, I have found this collection extremely enjoyable and know many of the stories will stay with me for some time.
I would highly recommend this collection to fans of contemporary fiction, or those looking for a good place to start when it comes to short story collections. This has been a fascinating and original reading experience."
— Ceri's Little Blog
"The themes include loss, survival, hope and realisation. The people in all of these stories had every possibility of being real, they could be your next-door neighbour or a cousin. The situations were ones that anyone could find themselves in."
— Beyond The Books
"Short stories are great because you don’t have to commit to long periods of time. In our busy lives, we can read one when we have time and then read more later. But, with this collection of short stories it will be hard to stop reading.
The first story was such an emotional read for me. The speaker was the villain, but a very damaged villain. She first was introduced as a person who seemed mentally challenged, but then the story took a horrific turn. As the creepy woman got the idea to steal the baby and then took off, I literally was so afraid of what would happen next.
Below the Surface was a short story that was terrifying. The writing was so powerful that I could visualize all of it. I could almost feel everything that the characters were going through.
The author really knows how to grab you and hold you with such intensity of emotion! It Will Be Quick may contain short stories but they come with a very big jolt of suspense."
— Lisa's Reading
"This book consists of 16 individual stories of humanity, endurance and spirit. The stories just felt very real as did the characters and the situations they found themselves in. Each character is faced with a scenario and their decision will ultimately impact on their future and the lives of the people around them.
Some of the stories were unsettling, haunting and sinister which made you want to read more and really made you think. The story that stayed with me even after I’d finished the book was Recalling The Boy.
The author’s notes on each story at the end of the book was a nice touch and it was interesting to see what inspired him to write each story.
If you like short stories that include themes of survival, hope, decisions, loss and realisation then this is the book for you."
"I’m back on Listen To Alfred for my weekly slot recommending books to listeners in the Shaftesbury area. This week I’ve chosen It Will Be Quick by Karl Drinkwater (from approx 32:00)]"
— The Alfred Daily (radio) [mentioned on Twitter] [text of review here]
"I've been a fan of Karl Drinkwater's writing for some time now but It Will Be Quick is the first time I've read any of his short stories. I planned to dip in and out of them but found them far too addictive and ended up binge reading them in a couple of days! This is an eclectic collection, without a weak story among it so I'd love to tell you something about each of them but instead I'll leave some surprises and just pick out a few of my particular favourites.
The first story, Fire in the Hole is an excellent opener; it may be just a few pages long but it feels fully-formed. A single-hander, the character development is superb and as the story progressed I found my feelings towards the woman constantly changed even while my heart was in my mouth. SenSorOS is a very different story and is strikingly relevant in this technological age when most of us are beholden to our phones and computers, meaning we have no choice but to agree to those lengthy T&Cs. I shared in the fictional (and I suspect real) author's rage here as she discovered what clicking 'agree' to the EULA meant but this is an ominous story too and I can only hope that it doesn't prove to be prescient...
Below the Surface follows two shipwreck survivors who are clinging for life on a small rocky outcrop. As they struggle to survive the elements while they desperately wait to be rescued, this suspenseful, exciting story is also rather emotional and even quite life-affirming. I loved the way the prose changes here to reflect the increasingly confused mental state of the stranded man battling the high tide and burning sun with very little in the way of sustenance. Hell's Bean Curd is a lighter tale and isn't a damning statement about tofu; this little vignette set in a café delights in its black humour, particularly the deliciously dark ending.
As a thriller lover, it's perhaps not surprising that How I Wonder What You Are was one of my favourites. It is one of the longest stories but even so, it really is a credit to Karl Drinkwater's writing that in less than 50 pages, there are some gripping, nerve-wracking action scenes, a constant feeling of suspense and a fascinating character arc. Ed and Kayla are on holiday in Scotland and are on a rather fraught cycle ride. Ed isn't an especially sympathetic character and yet as their day out descends into a nightmare, it was impossible not to feel terrified for him and his girlfriend. I'm obviously not going to give away the ending but I really didn't see it coming and absolutely loved it! I found myself holding my breath again in FileKiller but for a totally different reason. Like watching a less deadly game of Russian Roulette, this is one of those stories where readers will undoubtedly question how far they would go. FileKiller is another with a brilliant ending - it concludes the story and yet left me intrigued as to what happened next.
14 is a thought-provoking, perceptive tale about a teenage boy who reads a newspaper article about ruddy ducks and makes a decision which ultimately leads him to a terrible dilemma. This was another of my favourites and is a clever exploration of attitudes towards perceived differences. Balance is a very cleverly structured story which is quite hard to review without giving too much away. It follows a woman slave in a fictional Romanesque setting but as it reaches its terrible conclusion, it eventually transpires that the truth is even more unsettling than it first appears and is another that definitely made me think about how easily what we accept can end up changing the world as we know it.
I could easily have written something about any of the other stories in It Will Be Quick; this really is a fabulous short story collection that made me laugh, cry and grit my teeth while it raised my pulse level and made me think. I'd say it was the perfect read before bed but such irresistible stories means it's only too easy to keep turning the page for "just one more" so be prepared for a late night! Highly recommended."
— Hair Past A Freckle
"Sixteen short stories
Twisted, dark, real
Made me think,
Sadness, loss, pain
Decisions to be made
One way right?
Or maybe wrong?
Each story complete
They pack a punch
Much to consider
~ WOW ~
~ W O W ~"
— Cathy's World
"An enjoyable and intriguing mixed collection of short stories! Each story will provoke different emotions which just shows just how talented Drinkwater is."
— Dash Fan Book Reviews
"I thought I knew what to expect when it came to short story collections by now. Enter It Will Be Quick. Which shook me to my core.
Each story contains a decision which changes everything but there are also themes of loss of some kind, each traumatic in their own way.
The collection opens with Fire In The Hole and my stomach was knotted throughout, sick with fear for the safety of a snatched baby. In The 6.30 Hole, I was a voyeur watching the silences between a couple gradually becoming more uncomfortable. Each entry is brief but the words conveyed a wealth of emotions and hurt in a dying relationship. I found it quietly beautiful.
It Will Be Quick took me on a journey back to my own horrific experience of giving birth to the eldest of my two children. I felt a rush of empathy to the protagonist who lost her own identity, body and life as she knew it during her pregnancy before her excruciating labour commenced. I thought the worst was over as I neared the end of the story but that was before I felt the cold horror of the final sentence…
In How I Wonder What You Are, I was riveted to the white knuckle journey of rage and revenge. Reading it felt a little like a dream where you try to scream but no sound comes out. The protagonist in FileKiller stunned me with her cold, calculating competitiveness and this story showed me a different sort of adrenaline rush as she pushed herself to boundary after boundary.
When I read Cry Wolf, I was astounded at how much loathing I had for the narrator, who I found to be an abhorrent excuse for a man and I had not an ounce of pity for the situation he found himself in. Shortly after, I read The Potential and I sobbed through the story with anger, with shock, with hurt for the loneliness of the protagonist. The actions of the teenagers left an emotional scar on me.
The writing is authentic and the author isn’t afraid to go to dark places on occasion.
There are trigger warnings for death, domestic abuse, suicide, animal cruelty and graphic violence in some parts of this collection but it’s one I am privileged to have read (and survived). I’m in awe of the author’s ability to write such compelling characters who evoke the degree of emotions I experienced."
— Booky Charm
"Although this book comprises sixteen short stories – perfect for dipping in and out of – I found it hard not to read in a single sitting. Karl’s writing style is compelling, it commands attention from the opening sentence of each piece. His subject matter is diverse, and his characters very human. If I had not known that a single author wrote each entry in this eclectic collection, I would have guessed the contributions were from sixteen equally talented individual writers.
Karl’s stories present a range of situations from the everyday, to the extreme. From the installation of new software, to the fight for survival when lost at sea. And through the myriad settings, he creates stories rich in descriptive narrative, inviting readers to join the characters and share their experiences.
It’s hard to pick a favourite. Each has something to connect with, sentiments to share, feelings to evoke. I guessed from the intensity of one or two pieces that Karl is a fellow vegan. While one story was particularly hard to read, the depth of understanding of the protagonist’s state of mind is incredible. It also shows a deep empathy in the hands of the author, who has crafted such a believable and chilling personality.
Another story describes the feelings and emotions of the journey through pregnancy and childbirth better than many of the parenting handbooks I’ve come across.
Karl closes the book with author’s notes on each story, providing an interesting conclusion to the collection. If you enjoy short stories which offer thoughtful escapism, diversity of character, and moral mazes, I recommend this book. If you’re not sure, try it anyway. It’s well worth the time to read. Whether you cheer or fear the characters, they will stay with you long after you read the last page."
— The Photographer’s Way
"It Will Be Quick is a collection of sixteen stories that didn’t disappoint. Not once. What I love about Karl Drinkwater‘s writing, is that it always makes you think.
I love the different tones of each story. Some are a bit funny, sad, and often times quite disturbing. I sat down to read the first story and ended up reading all sixteen in one sitting.
The characters are excellent. Whether we are rooting for or hating them, they are very well written. I am so impressed with this author’s character creation.
What else can I say? I love this collection, and I’m not surprised, considering I am a fan of this author. Highly recommended."
— Jessica Belmont
"The author doesn’t shy away from hard hitting topics, instead choosing to confront them head on – and you often end up thinking ‘hey, this could be me in that situation..’. How I Wonder What You Are had me on the edge of my seat whilst Cry Wolf had you feeling a whole plethora of emotions before realising why that person was acting like they were.
I’m definitely going to be checking out more from the author if I can expect the talent and the quality to be on par with this book. Very impressed."
"Over the past year Karl Drinkwater has become one of my favourite authors. This collection contains a generous sixteen tales which range across genres and encompass a variety of characters and situations. I loved that most are driven by their central character's need to make a choice, with the aftermath of that decisive moment often being very different to how the character envisioned it.
It's rare I give a full five stars to short story books because I generally find them a bit hit and miss. In the case of It Will Be Quick though, I am struggling to find a single story that doesn't feel like a favourite! Each tale has such a strong sense of its own place and atmosphere that, in reading back over the titles to prepare for this review, I was immediately prompted to recollect image flashes and to remember how I felt as I read them. The Potential is such a sad tale and all too true, while Balance is a great piece of misdirection. The title story, It Will Be Quick, was so vivid that I'm glad I've never experienced pregnancy myself, and I frequently found myself holding my breath in Below The Surface. SenSor OS humorously reflected my own frustrations in similar situations, and Miasma, the shortest story I think, is eye-openingly brilliant. I appreciated the brief notes at the end of this book too. It's always interesting to see behind the scenes.
I would just like to finish by thanking Kayla, one of the main characters in the story How I Wonder What You Are for her Twinkle Twinkle Little Star cycling advice. It really does work!"
— Literary Flits / (Alternate)
"This collection of short stories has something for everyone. The 16 stories cover different genres, but are linked by the fact that each one involves a decision…a decision that can change lives.
This book showcases Karl’s talent of being able to write in different styles across different genres. There’s stories of kidnap, grief, sacrifice, narcissism, love, death, loss, murder, being stranded, annoying computer systems and more…
My top three were: Recalling the Boy – a moving story of family, love and memories; How I Wonder What You Are – a thrilling story that had me on the edge of my seat and with the most unexpected ending; and The Potential – a heartbreaking tale that turns into something beautiful. Each story will bring out different emotions. Some are a few pages long, others enough pages for you to really get deep into the story and one of the best things were the unexpected twists throughout.
Each story is told in a completely different way so you’re bound to find something that sits well with you. The way Cry, Wolf was told was unlike anything I’ve read before.
Overall, this brings you some fab, twisty and dark stories (in places) that will have you on the edge of your seat, others will make you sad, and others will get you thinking. Perfect for those that don’t have much time to read, you can pick it up and grab a short story whenever you have a little gap in your day."
— Curled Up With A Good Book
"I love how diverse they are with their writing. This book of 16 short stories tells tales of real life horrors, grief, loneliness, anxiety and many other things, in such a way that it is very believable, the rawness, the emotion felt very real. An intelligent and empathetic writer who has a clear understanding of the world around him and the truly horrific experiences that life can bring. A literary gem."
"Where do I start with this review? I love Drinkwater’s books, I’ve read all of them so far, and each one remains in my mind for a long time after. It Will Be Quick is no different. This collection of short stories held me spellbound, each one cleverly crafted and so well written you feel like you’ve read an entire novel in just a few pages.
It’s not easy to create characters and situations in short stories that capture the reader, but Drinkwater has achieved this and much more. You’re desperate to know what happens to the two strangers stranded on a rocky island in the middle of the ocean, fighting for their lives as hours, then days, pass; your heart aches for the little boy who sacrifices everything for an undeserving mother; you are with a mother as she gives birth, so incredibly written that you’re left stunned at the end; and a story from an era of thousands of years ago, sad, poignant, and frighteningly real, will remain with you for a long time.
These are just some of the stories. There are many more, such as the old man shunned by a society that only listens to money, a woman who finds a computer game gives a much-needed edge to her life, a man whose cycling holiday takes a bizarre turn, and then there is the stunning ‘Miasma’, which you have to read for yourself.
Once again Drinkwater has surpassed himself, proving that anything he writes is a must-read. As with all his books, I highly recommend It Will Be Quick.
5/5 stars. It also earns a Pink Quill Book Pick badge."
— Pink Quill Books
Book 2 in the Lost Solace series