On the cover of Jilted by K. T. Rose, I see a picture of a woman with the eyes concealed or blanked out as if someone swiped from left to right across the book cover. Maybe they swiped from right to left. Your Tinder preference may vary. Below the picture, I see that this is A Trinity of Wicked Tales. Further, it is only Volume One. And then comes the clincher, this is A Dark Suspense Short Story Collection. OK, I’m in, the author has hit all my favorite genre buttons. That is a lot of information on the front cover.
Me-Time Tales by Rosalind Minett starts out with a challenge. Am I qualified to read this? Billed as a collection of tea-breaks for mature women and curious men, I decided I could fit into the curious category. It was biologically impossible to fit into the first target audience and I had stumbled over “mature.” It is difficult for me to read a collection of stories without making comments on each one. That makes for long reviews. So …
The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry is a somewhat disturbing psychological thriller if the reader can buy into the incredible stupidity and naivete of two important characters, Christopher and Hannah Bauer, the parents of an adopted child, Janie. This is a story of domestic abuse, terror, and torture both physical and psychological. The terrorist, in this case, is Janie, a child that looks two or three years old at the time of adoption. A medical examination will reveal that the Bauers have adopted a six-year-old child who is very, very disturbed. Janie had lived in a closet where she had been confined and tortured for an indeterminate number of her years by her mother, Becky. Somehow, she had escaped from the closet and was found wandering in a park. She was filthy, covered with cuts, rashes, and bruises and wore a dog collar around her neck. Janie was taken to a hospital where both the Bauers worked. Christopher, a surgeon would spend many hours in corrective surgery followed by a lot of time spent at Janie’s bedside. Eventually, Chris would introduce Janie to Hannah, a nurse in the same hospital. Janie had a crush on or was in love with Dr. Bauer and could only sleep when Christopher was around. Christopher was completely taken in by Janie’s displays of trust and affection. Janie did not care for Hannah and was clearly hostile to Christopher’s wife.
Tiny Shoes Dancing by Audrey Kalman is a collection of twenty short stories. Kalman selects significant elements from primarily insignificant lives, the lives that don’t get a mention in the supermarket tabloids. Short stories are great; they fill time and are portable. There is no guilt in not completing them because you can always put off the pesky routine tasks which you know you have to do … right after you finish the short story you are reading. The stories in this collection are great because they make the reader feel important. We have all had some variation on these normal, everyday challenges. Well, most of them. There are some tales which are weird.