John Baker by Bianca Pheasant is Book Five in the Dark Murmurings series. This thirty-one- page short story starts out with an interesting premise. The story is about, just as the title announces, John Baker. The narrator is another being that resides inside John Baker, his conscience. As with all humans, sometimes the conscience is dominant and rules our behavior, sometimes it is ignored. This story is about a conflict inside John Baker. The outcome is not trivial. Although John can live and operate without a conscience, the reverse is not true. Without a physical being to inhabit, a conscience cannot live.
Again, as with most human beings, John lives through good times and bad. He has no job, then finds a good job, then the economic downturn finds John. He has no girlfriend, he finds the love of his life but when economic times get bad John gets moody, something Stephanie finds increasingly difficult to accept. So far, we have nothing unusual, this is just a travel through an average life.
And then John met the witch. He gave her a cheese sandwich. She gave him a medallion but told him that he could not access the power as he, John, was not a witch. She also advised him to keep the medallion with him always. If there was a time (unspecified) when he was in extreme need, the medallion would help.
Readers know there will be a time of extreme need, the medallion will have a role, and there will be a conclusion to the story. I found this short story very promising up to the time of the “extreme need.” After that … meh. That led me to give this only three Amazon stars. I gave all other stories in this series four stars (and plus). I thought this story had the strongest beginning of all five stories in the series but it ran out of steam at the very time when I expected the excitement to increase.
Because I like this author’s writing style, I will go on to read Origin. It is listed as Book One of Pheasant’s Retribution series.
UPDATE: After I wrote this review I looked at other reviews and saw a one-star review. The reviewer noted this was not a book. Noted. I never thought it was. Now I get to give my pitch for Kindle Unlimited. This is the fourth short story by this author I have read and commented on today. I used Kindle Unlimited for all and would have spent USD 6.70 (Origin is USD 2.50) for today’s reading alone. Kindle Unlimited is USD 9.99 per month. The reason I subscribe is exactly so I don’t spend lots of money on short stories.