Rogue by Anthony J. Andersen is a collection of three short stories by the author. Published on 29 January 2017, this is the first line of a description posted on the book’s Amazon page. “The following are three short stories that tell the sad and grim tales of revenge, love, and betrayal.” The stories in the published work follow that outline but only the last one is almost good. While the writing in all the stories is good and interesting, the first two stories are so predictable that they astound the reader the obvious.
That Night, A Forest Grew is a story about an ex-cop, Arthur Gibbons. He is an ex-cop because he resigned from the police after his daughter Gabrielle’s suicide. She had been raped at the age of 22. The rapist, Trevor had been caught and sent to prison. Gabrielle needed counseling but Arthur thought he could effectively watch over Gabrielle and help her get over it. Her suicide a year later proved that didn’t work and Arthur’s guilt over his failed protective attempts led him to start a career as a private investigator. He would do that job until Trevor finished his time in prison. Through former professional contacts, Arthur even made sure Trevor was safe in prison. When Trevor was released, Arthur would extract revenge. How does he do it? That would be a spoiler. But the ending is not a surprise, it is logical to the point of one unanswered question. The writer has a good base here to extend this short story to a beginning of a longer work.
A Night With Emily Rose is a story in which there might be love. There is definitely sex so if that offends, don’t read this one. If you do like sex graphically described, you will like this one. It is even kinky sex but that can’t rescue the story from boring predictability. But then, there is the kinky sex so it is not a total loss. Just as with the above story, there are unanswered questions. Just like the above, this could be the beginning of an interesting novel. But as it is, the high-priced escort having some sort of an epiphany when she meets a dying spoiled rich kid just doesn’t deliver the reader satisfaction I expect from a short story. But there is the kinky sex.
The Human Inferno is the best of the three stories and holds the most promise until the last two lines. I won’t quote them here because they would be a spoiler for the only story that has a twist, or maybe even two. Miles was a successful guy on the way up. He was engaged to the lovely Henley, school was almost over, and there was a possibility Miles would be tapped to go into the NFL. But Miles found that life could actually be more fulfilling. He only had to inject this much a couple of times a week. Sure, the dosage demands increased a bit over time but he was on top of it. But Henley wasn’t so sure Miles could handle it and now Henley is dead. Miles probably killed her. This definitely qualifies as a betrayal. Miles thinks that is why he is in the interrogation room explaining his misdeeds to his lawyer father. Miles is wrong.
The last story made me happy I read this collection. It is good and could be even better without those last two lines. The first two stories allow us to see the first attempts of someone who can write better if only he writes more.