This collection of Glenn McGoldrick stories, Horseshoe Bend (& other Dark Teesside short stories) emphasizes the word dark. These are darker than other stories I have read by McGoldrick. They are also, and this is not a negative criticism, not as subtle. Three stories in the collection have themes centering on a word that appears in the first one, “Bend.” As in “around the bend” signifying a change of direction. The three-word phrase also might relate to insanity and the reader might want to keep this in mind when determining the lens used to examine these tales.
Horseshoe Bend Pete and his wife went kayaking on a stretch of water they knew but familiarity did not decrease danger. There was an accident and Pete must decide what to do about it. He has a couple of choices. From a reader perspective, which would you choose? This is for readers who have faced accidents and tragedies and can empathize with hard choices that must be made.
Dark Progression Maybe it started with the ducks, there may have been something before, readers will not be able to know. We meet the unnamed protagonist at the duck pond. He appears as a solitary figure uninterested in company. But this time company is interested in him. Company follows him home. Now there is another problem to deal with.
Leaving The Table Some may consider it rude to smoke at the table. But this time it doesn’t really matter. A new system of rules is in place. George and Mary had earlier entertained David and Becky at a birthday dinner for George’s 70th birthday. George and Mary would apologetically leave the table first. They would a leave note to explain their early departure; social conventions should be followed.
Bonus question: Which of the two (David or Becky) is the child of George and Mary? How do you know? These are the kinds of questions that always lead me back to read a Glenn McGoldrick story a second time.
And again, just because of the uniqueness of approach, I give this story collection five Amazon stars.