Where is Jon’s Head?

Cold, Cold Heart by Karin Slaughter is a Kindle Single and is truly a short story. The story itself is over and done by the 39% mark in the downloaded epub. It is then followed by an excerpt from The Kept Woman advertised to be on sale 20 September 2016. The prolog to that excerpt should guarantee sales. This is one of those times when it is good to take Amazon’s offer of a free sample. But back to the short story Cold, Cold Heart.

Jon (previously John, before the later than mid-life crisis) and Pam had been together and married for a long time. Both were high school teachers; they had little money and had to live on a tightly controlled budget. And Jon controlled the budget very strictly even refusing to give Pam lunch money when she had run out early in the week. He did give her advice; she was to budget more wisely.

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Daring Escapes & a Family Reunion

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee is an inspiring story of courage and bravery as one woman struggles to keep her family together after separation that included varying periods of incarceration for each of the three-member family. It is an incredible (as in hard to believe) story but if a reader wanted to check the authenticity of some of the incidents cited, it could be easily done by examining public media reports. Imagine a Korean woman (Hyeonseo) meeting a western traveler in Laos who voluntarily gives money to Hyeonseo to aid in paying corruption money to get Hyeonseo’s mother and brother out of a Lao prison. There was not an exchange of favors for money and the traveler had no assurances of ever being repaid. The incident happened, the traveler was repaid, and the story was reported by the Australian press.

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Trophy Wives Aren’t.

Keller’s Fedora by Lawrence Block is a Kindle Single stand-alone mystery short story. Published in 2016 it follows Keller (his real name) as he reverts to a long ago profession of hired assassin. He had pretty much retired from that type of work and had settled down with his wife (who knew he was an assassin) and his daughter (who didn’t know). The money he had saved from his assassin jobs allowed him to pursue his current love, stamp collecting.

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A Reluctant Warrior

Glitch is a short story of about 5000 words by Hugh Howey. It might be considered a story on the way to, and just short of AI (artificial intelligence).

Max is a robot built specifically to fight other robots. He (and one might ask, why “he” and not “she”) is the product of a young design team that began doing this type of building while still high school colleagues. Professor Hinson took note of the successful team, decided to lead them, and parlayed their relationship into a successful military contract with DARPA, an obscure government agency. At least they want to be obscure.

Sam, Peter, and Greenie make up the three-person team that takes Max to the fights, powers him up, and repairs him after the fights. There are always damaged parts and always modifications to be made. Some of the modifications are at the suggestions of Max. The robot is designed to learn from each match, to learn from its mistakes. It is almost as if the team is there to serve Max rather than Max is there to follow directions of the team.

And that is where the trouble begins. There is a glitch. Max doesn’t want to fight anymore. Greenie and Pete have been working to find out why. They can’t. They must now rely on Sam, Pete’s ex-wife, to run diagnostics and find out what is wrong. Sam, very good with robots but bad with coffeemakers, can’t find a reason any more than Pete and Greenie can. But she can come up with a one-word theory.


This is an entertaining short story. Read to find out what sentience is and who (or what) has the last word.


Don’t Go Into The Box

The Last Girl by Joe Hart is a survival story. Zoey is the survivor and if there were ever a series of games called “Extreme Survivor,” she would probably win it. She was born into a world where for some reason the birth rate of females declined to almost zero. I think one in a million qualifies as almost zero. This fact for which no reason can be determined plunges the world into chaos as almost everyone comes to the conclusion that with the inevitable death of humanity there is really no reason to go beyond selfish immediate gratification goals. Gangs form, crime increases exponentially, law and order are reduced to vigilante level and the populace blames governments. So there are outright rebellions along the lines of civil war.

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Six word story: Muffled

Despair over what? Being Muffled? Not reaching a goal? Having her picture inadvertently taken at a place where she shouldn’t have been? This is what makes the six-word story fun.


Image result for muffled

Her hands hid screams of despair.

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Motivations for Magic

This was a book I won in a Library Thing Members Giveaway in return for a review.

The Fading Dusk by Melissa Giorgio is a novel of magic. Irina is a magician’s assistant to Bantheir and she feels very unappreciated. It seems all she does is support and clean-up functions; Bantheir doesn’t really include her in anything. She has picked up some of the magic tricks which, as she tells colleagues, are not really magic; they are illusions. Sometimes Bantheir strikes up friendships with some admiring audience members. When an attractive couple invited him to meet them for dinner, Bantheir did not invite her to accompany him. Instead, he instructed her to return home and to invite no one in with her. She didn’t really invite the two men who broke into the house and almost killed her. She didn’t invite the soldiers who fortuitously arrived to save her. And she hadn’t planned to be taken to prison where she was threatened with charges of being an accomplice to almost six murders, all committed by Bantheir.

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