Weird Short Stories

Blood and Beauty and Other Weird Tales by Jeff Chapman is a collection of six allegedly weird tales. The first one, Blood and Beauty,* comes with an adult material warning. The asterisk was supplied by the author to indicate adult material. I am a big fan of short stories so I will comment on each of the six.

This book came from the Instafreebie platform. By downloading books from this platform I automatically subscribe to the author’s mailing list. I find this convenient. If I become annoyed by getting too many emails I can always unsubscribe. I have a separate email to intercept anticipated promotional material.

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Unspeakable Crimes

Taking Natasha by Terence Mitford is a novel with disturbing content about human trafficking. It is a mystery novel in that we want to find out if Natasha escaped from her horrible situation. Although this prequel novella focuses on Natasha, this is a prequel for a Mason Cooper Thriller Series so I was interested in the treatment of the character Mason Cooper, a detective introduced in this novella with a bit part to the story.

The best part of this novella is the character of Mason Cooper. A cop only two years from retirement, he is thinking about quitting now to save a marriage that has suffered from his dedication to his police job, one that has left him little time for his family. He has made his decision, he will quit, but there is just one more case to clear up. It might take a couple of months. Nope, it has nothing to do with Natasha or human trafficking.

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Thinking Outside the Box

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar is a welcome home to Castle Rock party. Fans of Stephen King will be sad that the party is too short. Readers will finish this short novel feeling that their reading speed has increased dramatically. Maybe. Others might feel that they have been led on a short sprint in which they were not allowed to fall behind. OK. Either way, for voracious readers with reading completion anxiety, pick up this novel. It will not inhabit your TBR shelf and you will feel good about yourself. I left Castle Rock and went to the Richard Chizmar author web page at Amazon. Another great storyteller discovered (for me).

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Wait (a Long Time) for the Surprise

The Ghost of Molly Holt by Amy Cross is a 2017 publication by this very prolific writer of horror fiction. I read a lot of her novels and have never been bored by her writing until this novel. It was probably bound to happen. But I can not resist comparing this novel to her other novels I have read. This one just doesn’t match up as far as quality of plot and characters. So, what happened?

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Mussolini: A Short History

BENITO MUSSOLINI A Life From Beginning to End by Hourly History Limited is a book from a series of factual biographies meant to be read in about an hour. A reader can figure that out from the author credit. It gives readers like me; a fan of horror, crime fiction, and bizarre novels in general, a break from a guilty pleasure and gives me the illusion I am reading serious stuff. It is true that the material is serious but to fulfill its stated reason for existing, it must necessarily be a surface treatment of the subject. Can you imagine a one-hour treatment of the life of Winston Churchill? This series may have such a work but I won’t read it. Some subjects are more appropriate for a survey work. In my opinion, this is one of those.

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Language Lover Alert: Cacoepy Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

I like languages and the clever use of them. In this particular case, we look at English. Blogger Kat Myrman writes that this language feature, mispronunciation, causes her to cringe when she hears it but out of politeness she listens while planning her escape. Although I agree in general, I am alert to the possibility that I might be in the presence of a struggling comedian.

This is a long post but be sure to scroll through to the fun part, the misinterpreted lyrics. These are followed by a scary politick le (sic) haiku and one more haiku to emphasize the new word learned.

like mercury colliding...

Happy Friday! Today’s Dictionary.com Word of the Day is “cacoepy” [kuh-koh-uh-pee]. I had never heard this word before, but I have definitely heard more than a few cacoepies in my life.

They are like fingernails scraping across a chalkboard to those of us who take words, vocabulary and language seriously. They can also be amusing and goofy. Context is key. Cacoepy is defined as an “incorrect pronunciation or an instance of this; mispronunciation.

Dictionary.com had a lengthy etymology summary:

“Cacoepy comes from Greek kakoépeia “mispronunciation, incorrect language,” made up of the adjective kakós “bad, evil, worthless, ugly” and the noun épos (also dialect wépos) “word, speech, song.” The adjective comes from baby talk or a nursery word widespread in Indo-European languages, kakka- “to defecate, poop, shit.” The root appears in Latin cacāre (Italian cacare, Spanish cagar), Slavic (Polish) kakać, German kacken, and English cuck(ing stool). The Greek noun épos (wépos)…

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Dangers Aboard Ship

Sixty-Four Days by Malcolm Torres is a short story of the sea. The main story takes up 64% of the e-pub. It is followed by a sneak preview of Sailors Take Warning. This is a sampler for the works of Malcolm Torres, not truly a short story. Readers won’t find a true conclusion to either story; there are conclusions to two “incidents,” one in each story, but these incidents could not take place in isolation. Readers will have questions.

I found the writing completely fascinating and will be looking for other, expanded writing by this author. Part of the fascination for me is that the lives of US Navy sailors are completely new to me as is the description of the capabilities of Navy ships depicted. One is an unidentified aircraft carrier, the other is the USS Nimitz. Therefore, I predict that these stories will not only attract Navy veterans but readers such as myself, novices to maritime life but attracted to innovative descriptive writing.

Read this, it’s good.