Terry Boyle walked into a hardware store, met Renee Patrick, the partial owner and full-time operator of Hardware California, to buy five fire escape ladders for his home. According to the overly cautious, extremely conservative, and always well-organized Terry; you could never have too much safety equipment. If we believe that opposites attract, Terry was the perfect match for Renee; a spur-of-the-moment woman, a sex addict, and a woman dedicated to a life of instant gratification. Terry was very aware of his marital status; he would not succumb to the overt sexual invitations Renee signaled. Renee was very aware of Terry’s marital status, wasn’t bothered by it at all, and looked on Terry’s resistance as a challenge worth overcoming. No other man had ever resisted her, and married men were better conquests because they went home. Tools used should be put back in their place after use.
In forty-three pages, authors Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan in A Face in the Crowd complete a review of the life of Dean Evers. As with many reviews, there will be a final assessment. As with many reviews, the examination will be detailed and presented part by part. Dean did not even ask for the review; it began on its own.
Dean was an old man living alone in Florida, an unintended headquarters for old men living alone. This was somewhat amazing since the life expectancy of women is longer than that of women. Where is the headquarters of old women living alone? I digress. Dean had a friend, Kaz, and they got together occasionally for golf but more often their communication was by phone. Kaz and Dean had been friends since high school, had run together in either a pack or a gang. These days, in his later and last years, Dean’s friend was either a television or an occasional paperback novel. The television went together better with the beers that he liked to consume during a baseball game. A guy could get so engrossed in a paperback the beer would get warm. Television was better. The only thing annoying about the televised games were the people waving to get the attention of cameras. They took his attention away from the game.
Hell’s Nerds and Other Tales by Stephen Lomer starts out good and gets better. The “twisty” parts of the short stories twist and turn in more and more unexpected ways. Reading earlier tales will not train a reader for what to expect in later stories. Did the author do this on purpose? How does he know what will impress me? A couple of notes on this too-quick read follow. I wanted to read more but the only way that is going to happen is to read other Lomer works. I’ll get on that right away.
The cover of my Kindle edition of Game of Greed by Charlotte Larsen describes this novel as a Francis Scott-Wren Crime Thriller. True, Francis Scott-Wren is the main character, the head of one powerful business organization with a mission to at least attenuate the greed and corruption of predatory business entities with a disregard for humanitarian concerns. True, he is unbelievably wealthy due to inheritance and he is willing to spend unbelievable amounts on his self-declared mission. And he has built up an intelligence organization that rivals those of many governments through the time-tested strategy of hiring disaffected employees from those same government agencies. As a leader of such an organization, it seems to follow that Francis will assume the façade of a dilettante playboy and womanizer while still maintaining a heart that is pure. Some might think this could lead to a split personality resembling schizophrenia but there is the controlling element of a pure heart. Then there are ninjas, but we may come back to that.
The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher is a novel I both heard on Audible and read on Kindle. I find listening…
The Wendy by Erin Micelle Sky and Steven Brown is a thoroughly charming re-imagined tale of Peter Pan. It is…
The Maltese Incident by Russell F. Moran reinforced a lesson I should have learned before but after decades I still don’t get it. Don’t judge a book by its cover. In this case, the novel has a perfectly fine, even pleasant, cover. No criticism. As I was reading the first chapter, I thought, what a pleasant premise. What likable characters. This is going to be fun. What followed the first chapter required such a suspension of disbelief that even the effort was absurd. So, a personal modification. Don’t judge a book by its cover, blurbs, recommendations from carefully selected reviewers, or the first couple of chapters. In this case, I had already mentioned to some of my colleagues that this novel looked promising. My friends knew me for the fragility of my promises. But I’ll have to do a personal credibility repair job with them on this one.
Sticky Fingers Volume 2 by JT Lawrence is the first collection of stories I have read by this author. This collection has twelve short stories; they are all a bit weird or twisted but not in an in-your-face way. To appreciate these, there must be reader engagement; readers will, on occasion, be required to provide their own conclusions. It is helpful to note that this author lives in Johannesburg. To find out why this is helpful, read the short stories. A quick note about the title (my impression). Why “Sticky?” Because the stories will stick to your mind either as amazing or as an impression of something like “What did I just read? What was its purpose?” If the purpose was entertainment, great, this collection did that. I gave this five Amazon stars for the way it woke me up and broke a pattern in my usual reading routine.
Willow Rose writes interesting stories and Edwina, although full of grotesque descriptions, is a good story. Her genre is horror. Grotesque, horrible, weird, and gross descriptions are what the genre is all about. I will write positive things about the story but there is one thing about this Kindle edition of Edwina that I find extremely annoying, almost to the point that I do not want to read further things by the author. It is a structural thing.
In this 50-page story, Jitters by Ken Stark, the narrator, Harold, describes all the failures in his life from the time of the first remembrance to present. At approximately 31 years of age, Harold has failed at everything and has ended up living in the same basement accommodations where he had started out years before. His parents still lived upstairs although they had gotten considerably older. Harold’s mother was never slow to tell Harold “I told you so.” The parents had produced a child that took no responsibility for anything wrong in his life. It was always someone else’s fault. His mother had always promised Harold he would fail at whatever he tried and the dutiful Harold proceeded to fulfill her predictions. His father, providing the ideal example to Harold, never contradicted his wife.