A Mystery Reader 0001: Short Stories From New Voices is a collection of six short stories. I downloaded the book free from Prolific Works. An expanded work is on Amazon for USD 4.99 under the title New Voices 001. That work has the same authors but far more than six stories. I was attracted to the book by words in the title “New Voices.” The Voices may be new, but they are prolific authors as indicated by a list of their many, many works listed at the end of the publication. SUGGESTION: Story number four should be read after story number one.
The Case of the Forever Cure ***** by C. C. Brower and J. R. Kruze *** This is a story about contagion of a type that could wipe out mankind. But it doesn’t seem to affect a small group of people. Are they the next and last hope to prevent the extinction of mankind? The surviving group is made up primarily of nurses who can help a select group of infected survive. The basis for treatment is surprising and babies are important.
The Case of a Cruising Phantom ***** by S. H. Marpel *** This is a “cozy” mystery. Mary died on a cruise ship. Was she murdered, was it an accident, or did she commit suicide? Mary was convinced someone murdered her. She had haunted the ship for decades trying to find out who had killed her. While searching over the years, she contributed to the safety of the ship by stopping the evils that other passengers might perpetrate on other passengers. She stopped burglaries, attempted date rapes, and attempted suicides. She had just arranged the perfect cruise. Everyone on board was a relative of someone on board when she was killed. A Ghost Hunter specialist team of Jude, Sal, and John had volunteered to be Mary’s spiritual guide as they channeled relatives from the past into the bodies of present-day passengers. The team and Mary would guide an assembly by deductive logic to finally find out what happened to Mary.
The Case of the Walkaway Blues ***** by J. R. Kruze & S. H. Marpel *** This story was a bit too much on the theoretical almost philosophical side for me. But I could sympathize with Mary’s sadness and depression almost bordering on anger about the results of a recent election. When Mary meets John over pie and ice cream, John uses the Socratic method to introduce Mary to some new analytical tools that might relieve some of her gloom.
The Spirit Mountain Mystery ***** by S. H. Marpel & C. C. Brower *** This is a “continuation” story. Readers will learn more about unanswered questions that appeared in the first story, The Case of the Forever Cure. It would be good to read this story just after reading the first story of this collection.
The Tunnel People ***** by R. L. Saunders*** This story is best summarized by a quote of the first few lines. “IT HAD BEEN A LONG brutal war. Allies shifted sides, new allegiances brokered. In the end, the politicians, government bureaucrats, and their media cronies were banned underground. And the rest of us learned to live in a watchful peace.” (Kindle location 978). What was left after banishment, was a population dedicated to individual privacy. Counterintuitively, there was a lot of surveillance to assure the banished would not return. There is a very clever surprise at the end and an observation about what causes the death of politicians. There is a life force that politicians cannot do without.
Death By Advertising ***** by J. R. Kruze*** This final story will either widen your interest in the development of AI or scare you about the dangers of the Robot Apocalypse. It might be more dangerous than the Zombie Apocalypse.
The “writing voice” in this collection is a type I found unique. There is no horror, no bad language, no sexual language, and an overall feeling that the authors would like to live in a world where people should be left alone by the government. It is interesting to read this as we (temporarily?) live in a world where the US government is leaving us alone. Partially shut down by lack of funding, it is hard to tell the difference from a time when the government was funded. If I were rating this on Amazon, I would give it four Amazon stars. I don’t post reviews on Amazon that are unverified purchases.