The title of Crime: Revenge is Thicker Than Water by Michael Ace Smith will only have complete meaning after reading this short story. This is a 52-page novella divided into twelve chapters. I describe it as a comfort read; I think that might be what is called elsewhere a cozy mystery. Up to the 80% point in my Kindle edition, there is not much action. It is mostly scene setting and character identification.
In the first 80%, Alice and Detective Edward, soon to be fiancé Edward, have arrived at Alice’s hometown for a vacation. Alice is using the vacation to visit her father. But Dad is found unconscious on a bedroom floor and one word, a name, Jennifer, is written on the wall. Dad can’t explain it as he is in a coma and will spend most of the rest of the story in a hospital. Alice prolongs her vacation to stay with dad. Fiancé Detective Edward must go back to work in the big city. Alice is a journalist and manages to stay with dad while convincing her editors she will submit travel stories about the local area.
This goes well until someone throws a brick through the window of Alice’s home. On the brick, the name Jennifer. Detectives arrive and decide to protect Alice and mount an investigation centered on the name Jennifer. Alice moves to a hotel and has some police protection until someone ransacks her hotel room. Favorite mementos of the missing Jennifer appear on a desk in Alice’s room. The detectives report they found forensic evidence on the brick.
And that evidence drives the rest of the short story to an almost surprise ending. Unless you read too many mysteries. If so, the surprise won’t be a surprise. There are a few mid-story surprises which I also felt were predictable. However, as I mentioned, this is a comfort read. It is good storytelling. It is free of proofreading and editing problems. I gave it four Amazon stars and will read more by this author. There are seven short/story novellas on the author’s Amazon page. The price is the same for each, USD 0.99. All are available on Kindle Unlimited. They are therefore available to read fast and for almost free. I will recommend these novellas to students in my English as a Second Language class.