I read Smoke in ebook form, while The Point I read as a physical book. I think I enjoyed reading in the old school form marginally more, but with novellas, it isn't a terribly large issue either way, and I actually think novellas are highly suited to the ebook format.
Smoke begins with a simple enough school incident. Our hero, Jimmy, gets pantsed by the school bullies and as he of course decides to take his revenge, events soon spiral out of control. I was a little slow on the uptake here, but Smoke actually continues on from a fine short story I read in the Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 8 called "An Arm and a Leg", and I wish I'd reread that one before reading this story. If republished, I think including both in one volume might work rather well.
The community is Tranent, a working class British community where let's just say a lot of illicit activity is going on. I don't know that you'd call it tight knit, but it's the kind of place where everybody knows everybody else's business, including what's hidden under Nan's bed. There are a lot of skillfully interwoven story arcs to this brief tale, and everyone is pretty much after everyone else's loot, or even life.
I still find myself a bit surprised to be reading crime fiction that centers on so much violence, boozing, drugs and sex. Not to mention dog fights. These are "guy books" in a big way, so I think it's fair to say straight off that they might not be for you, if I have any idea of who the typical readers of this blog are. Which, actually, I don't. If you're looking for fast paced gritty thrillers with more than a bit of edge, these are just up your alley. I admire the talent and craftsmanship of both writers and will continue to read more.
While you wait for Smoke to be reborn, why don't you check out Nigel's short pieces on Smashwords? Oh, and did I mention that he is in the probably all too often mentioned here Grimm Tales as well? In fact, he won first prize in the original story contest for "Sing a Song of Sixpence".
And once you've read The Point, which won the 2012 Spinetingler novella award, you can then go on to Mr. Brennan's Wee Rockets, which I have ahead of me as well.