In Tents by Andy Kaiser is a look at Con Men (Con Persons?), Charlatans, circus performers, monsters, and the supernatural. All this for USD 3.99 or free through Kindle Unlimited. It is a very strange story which I believed could have been written from a cloud of hallucinogens. It is interesting in that it has strange and weird creatures. Ariel is beautiful except when she morphs into various forms of Alligator Woman. There is Half-a Man which is a rather self-describing name. Think of a person standing and a line is drawn from the middle of the head south in a 180- degree direction. Remove one-half and you have (fill in the blank). Penny is the owner of the rather strange circus which prides itself on being a family. She only looks perpetually pregnant because her stomach is the largest and most prominent part of her body. Another name appropriate character is Archie. He runs a game or concession at the circus. By shooting arrows and hitting the bullseye three times in a row, players can receive their heart’s desire. Archie will make sure the competitor’s most wanted object is in stock. Outsiders are not welcome to join the circus; new members must be invited. There is only one entity that does the inviting.
Haveaheart’s Trap by Michael Allan Scott is a 12-page story published in 2019 with the aim of showcasing the author’s writing talent. It is available for free as an author’s promotion from his website or email offers or it can be purchased from Amazon for USD 0.99 which turns it into a verified purchase. I believe that makes a difference as far as reviews are concerned.
American Nightmare 2014 is a collection of fourteen short horror stories by multiple authors and edited by George Cotronis. Despite the “2014” in the title, these stories are set in the 1950s. Many of the main characters refer to their WW II experiences and how they play out in a US environment of a return to “normality” and increasing personal wealth. Changes in race relations and equal treatment for minority populations appear as story themes. Although the US undeniably was in a period of growth and peace after a long war, there was a major concern which affected many people, the Korean War, one that is also referred to. Baby boomers can wallow in nostalgia for rock and roll music that could compete and drown out the roar of big block “muscle” cars with muffler cutouts. Huge cars, almost resembling tanks by today’s standards, competed for strategic space in Drive-In Movie establishments. Where one parked was tied to the purpose of attending the Drive-In. Not all action was on the movie screen. Some vocabulary may be unfamiliar to a post Baby Boom generation. Although I am a Baby Boomer, some of these stories were a vocabulary workout for me.
Carly was a very serious student of the Bible. She listened to the Pastor’s sermon every week and followed up with research to find Bible quotations that would illustrate and supplement the weekly message given by the Pastor. In Hypocrites by LuAnne Turnage, we meet Carly as she attempts to get in serious morning study before husband Paul woke up and prepared for work. Luckily, Paul was knowledgeable of Bible verses and could direct her studies. She had so many questions.
In Peace and Goodwill by LuAnne Turnage, we have a short horror story of medical research run amok. The night should have been a great one for Senator Ted Stone. His signature bill, one he had worked for with all his strength had passed. He had worked hard in the Senate and hard at home. His wife Carol had not supported him at home and, from her elevated position of morality bolstered by religious faith, had even opposed him. It didn’t help that the new law had the unfortunate title Mandatory Flu Vaccine Bill 666, it further incited the ultra-religious fanatics.
After completing the novel Sedition and writing the review below, I want to emphasize that (IMO) this is a highly recommended five-star Amazon read I label a Political Horror Thriller. At 615 pages, it created havoc with my reading schedule. It was scary enough that I woke up in the middle of the night to continue reading. I will post most of my comments on Amazon, but this paragraph and the final two rant paragraphs below will appear only on my blog. This book affected me more than anything I read last year (2018). I don’t want to make a comparison to this year because it is only February.
The House of Twelve by Sean Davies will deceive the reader many times. The idea seems familiar. Twelve people wake up in a house but can’t remember how they got there. They don’t know each other and can’t figure out a connection that will tie them together. It is almost as if they had been drugged, kidnapped, and imprisoned in one house. That they were imprisoned is obvious from many indicators. Doors are steel, reinforced, and locked. Where there should be windows, the glass has been replaced by thick constructions of brick. And on a coffee table in the living room, there is a document with House Rules. The first one says they will never be allowed to escape, the second rations the food and water, and the third relates to their imminent deaths. There is constant background music; think elevator music. Each evening at 2300 the music will stop, and one person must die. The victim can die by suicide or be killed by others. If no selection or volunteer happens before 2400, gas will kill all of them.
Don’t Bury Me by Nick Younker begins as a dystopian novel, provides a steadily increasing supply of despair and pathos and ends with a twisted presentation of what may be described as social justice. This is not a spoiler because the interesting element of the short story is the process by which it gets there. Plus, there are two rewarding surprises for the reader who has taken the journey through all the negative sludge. To phrase this in a way that is not a spoiler, the reader might find an answer to the problems of income inequality.
I received this book through Booksprout as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for a review. I received no compensation other than the fun of reading the book. This was a challenging book to read for two main reasons. The style of writing in which the story was written made it occasionally difficult to determine which character was dominant and presenting a point of view. The second difficulty might be due to the format of an ARC. There are distracting spelling irregularities and clumsy phrasing such as “Could have they come all the way here …” (Kindle locations 1814-1815). While I do not consider the phrase wrong, it reads like an outdated, formal style. I don’t know whether changes are planned before final publication but I feel this novel should go through one more examination by a copy editor. Otherwise, it reads as if it were written by an accomplished writer whose second language is English.