The Unknown by Martha Henley is the first story in a series of suspicious tales and psychological shorts with an interesting cover blurb that proclaims: “Live Your Life, Die Your Death.” Stephanie has avoided most social events since the accident that left her with one prosthetic leg. One might think that at university level ridiculous demeaning comments would decrease. Stephanie had decided to re-enter social life by attending a Halloween fraternity party. She would be “coming out” with her disability. Friend Dani did not initially want to go but felt she needed to support Stephanie at this vital decision point.
The party at the fraternity house was held outside; Nick explained that his parents didn’t allow parties inside the house. Nick lied. It wasn’t his parents’ disapproval that worried Nick. It seemed the house was haunted in a very specific way. People with disabilities, those with prosthetic devices, heard voices. The voices delivered specific instructions to the special people that led to torture and murder of those around them. The haunted, singing voices took control of those with prosthetics; none had the ability to resist unless they were in the basement of the house.
Stephanie was not in the basement. She heard the voices. Eventually, so did others.
The second part of this publication is the first seven chapters of a serial killer standalone novel, Don’t Kill for Me. I am not a fan of reading the first several chapters of anything. This is one of the weaknesses of book promotions and giveaways. I got this through Instafreebies, recently renamed Prolific Works. I expected a series of short stories as was indicated by the title. I did not expect sample chapters. Because The Unknown was good, I decided to “suffer” through sample chapters.
Eileen owns a flower shop which consumes most of her time. She is the mistress of a man she likes and might almost love but she is resigned to the fact he will never leave his wife. The relationship is, of course, secret, especially from Eileen’s one and only employee, Trina. As far as most mall employees and business people are concerned, Eileen needs to get out more. Ray, a widower with zero social skills, gets up the courage to ask Eileen out but she already has categorized Ray as a loser and will do nothing more than have a pity coffee shop meeting with him.
Someone is leaving notes at the flower shop for Trina. Mostly erotic, the notes are anonymous and mostly amusing to Trina and Eileen. This was true up until the day one of the notes was nothing more than a newspaper clipping announcing the death of Anthony, Eileen’s married lover. Eileen is devastated. Trina hasn’t figured out why. And I have read nothing that wants to make me read the entire novel.
Which is why I do not like to waste my time on sample chapters, particularly when I do not know that is what I am getting. If I want to read samples, Amazon provides them for free. I would read more short stories by Martha Henley but would not select or buy Don’t Kill for Me based on these sample chapters.