Flashes of Death and Darkness by Eli Taff, Jr. has a publication launch date of 19 February 2019, but I received an advance copy from the author because I liked and reviewed some of his earlier writing. Taff writes short flash fiction and claims that each story is exactly 500 words. Despite the temptation to count each word, I will bypass the challenge and just read the stories as I open another beer. The ten stories in this collection are one-beer read. There is an introduction (of exactly 500 words) and an afterword (of 50 words) but the additional reading should not spark another visit to the fridge. With such short stories, my comments will be one or two sentences as initial takeaway impressions. No spoilers. No pontification. Few Puns. Lots of Flash (as in lightning quick impressions).
Just Next Door by LuAnne Turnage is a short 22-page read. As a horror short story, it is remarkably complete. It is one novel in a series of eight short stories that can be purchased as a collection for USD 9.92. Each short story, however, can be downloaded as a free read through Kindle Unlimited. This is a good illustration of the value of KU.
I will always pick novels to read that have provocative titles such as The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro. I am sure that the author intended to punch the reading audience with such a wake-up title and then, to make sure they paid attention, Notaro followed with an explanation of what the novel is about: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal. The novel is listed as non-fiction which I can accept as far as the situations written about. The humorous asides and comparisons in description border on the absurd and take the reader into the world of fiction. Most of the novel is laugh-out-loud humor but there are segments, such as in the life of blind dog Bella, that will be emotional for readers.
Because this is non-fiction, we can know many things about the author from her Amazon Author page. Reading this novel, I can guess that she is a mature woman (not old) who continues to look forward to life’s adventures. Not afraid of trying new things, she is also (cliché alert) the hero of her own story. Reading of her colorful younger years in the several community colleges she attended will make parents of daughters shudder with the thought “I hope my daughter doesn’t turn out like that.” From this account, I believe that is what Laurie’s mother says frequently.
Shark’s Instinct by Bethany Maines is Book One in The Shark Santoyo Crime Series. I note this because I like to start reading a series with Book One; I just never seem to succeed. The novel has helpful Chapters named by dates, so readers know when a backstory is about to happen. The entire novel takes place between 09 October and 21 October. After Chapter Monday—October 16, we have Chapter Two Weeks Ago which is in turn followed by Chapter Tuesday, October 17. We also have Chapter Thursday, October 19 followed by Chapter Five Years Ago followed by Chapter Thursday, October 19. A table of contents can be informative and not boring.
For me, author Willow Rose signals a guaranteed entertaining thriller novel, and this is true with Girl Next Door. She seems to specialize in serial killer tales. Even though I know this in advance, each of her novels catches me unawares with a surprise ending. Again, that is true with this novel but with a twist that I did not like. It had nothing to do with the mystery. That was good. Rose jumped back and forth in time to show the development of a splintered mind that would result in a serial killer. To find out who the killer was and discover motivation was like peeling an onion. Each layer had surprises; the novel was good and typical Willow Rose.
Time for a Twittering Tale expressed in 280 characters. Below is this week’s photo prompt, Kat’s submission, and my take. With many States of the US taking a more liberal view of the pesky weed, I felt it safe to recount a personal experience, keeping in mind that everything is examined by government agencies. But that is OK because Fearless Leaker (he really can’t keep a secret, ask Bob M.) tells us that he doesn’t believe his spy guys. That makes me innocent. Just like him.
Audible.com has added another benefit for subscribers that I find entertaining. Added at no additional cost, I get two free downloads from a selection of “Audible Originals.” These are not free if you click in the general selection of Originals; they have varied prices. Audible presents a curated list, usually six, and I can choose two from the list that has different selections each month. One of my selections this month, February 2019 is Folsom Untold: The Strange True Story of Johnny Cash’s Greatest Album by Danny Robbins, narrated by Danny Robbins. It runs two hours and twenty-one minutes over five chapters and has a “Mature Listener’s” advisory.
Sepultura by Guy Portman is an adventure in writing for Portman. The author bends a lot of rules as far as the mechanics of English. The novel is an adventure in reading as the reader constantly tries to figure out who some of the characters are. In tandem with this, Portman makes liberal use of a street-level British vernacular. This novel offers much to the education of readers without knowledge of this language form. Main character Dyson Devereux is probably immoral and definitely amoral as he goes about justifying his killing of other characters who give him problems. The descriptions of the killings are graphic as are descriptions of sex scenes which are obviously power, not sexually, motivated.