The Lion’s Den by Perrin Briar is a short story I purchased from Amazon at the great price of USD 0.00. At 60 pages, only about twenty pages are the story The Lion’s Den. The other 40 pages are a teaser for Compulsion, a full-length novel. Usually, this would annoy me but both the short story and the excerpt were quite good. I even bought the full-length novel. Almost. I put it in my Kindle Unlimited queue to read next.
The Lion’s Den starts out with a Security Guard at a mall attempting to help an attractive 12-year-old girl. We know where this is going. In the story, the exact age of the girl is not stated but reading it will give a reader that impression. The helpful guard, Robert, watched previous security tapes from his control center to determine what times Beth showed up daily at a mall McDonald’s. The second time she appeared Beth smiled at Robert as she told him her mom had to work overtime and would not be able to pick her up. Beth agreed to wait at the mall in Robert’s security center until he finished his shift and would be able to take her home. The two became close and friendly as Beth expressed curiosity about the monitors and equipment in the security center.
Beth was not curious. She was hungry.
I liked the excerpt from Compulsion even more than The Lion’s Den. There are characters that I am sure will be more fleshed out (an unfortunate term) in the novel. In the excerpt, readers become aware of three contending groups. In a dystopian world, there are “normal” people who live in villages and towns that have survived a virus. There are “Raiders” who seem to be normal criminals that loot, pillage, and kill; some for material goods and some for fun. There is a group named “Grayskins” that are unthinking zombies attracted to noise and shiny sparkly things. There is probably a fourth group occupying fortress-like places where things are pre-dystopian. Named Whitegate, this is a place Siren and Wyvern, two almost brother and sister teens, are fleeing toward.
But we don’t know about the fourth element. It doesn’t appear in the excerpt. I was intrigued enough to buy the complete novel to learn more.
I gave this combined reading experience four Amazon stars. Not a fan of dystopian fiction, these two short selections made me want to look at the genre again.