Holmes in Wonderland

This book can be confusing from cover to 59% of the short story. The title is probably Deadly Curse by John Pirillo. The cover indicates it is a Sherlock Holmes mystery but that is only true in the loosest sense of what most people think Sherlock Holmes mysteries are. This is closer to a parody but not only of Sherlock Holmes. Imagine an environment in which Sherlock Holmes, Watson, and Harry Houdini are working together to solve a mystery involving William Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll. The victims are all characters from Alice in Wonderland. Not to ponder too long, John Pirillo explains his constructs in an author note. Think of this as a break from overly serious reading. A short break.

Sample Chapter Alert

The Unknown by Martha Henley is the first story in a series of suspicious tales and psychological shorts with an interesting cover blurb that proclaims: “Live Your Life, Die Your Death.” Stephanie has avoided most social events since the accident that left her with one prosthetic leg. One might think that at university level ridiculous demeaning comments would decrease. Stephanie had decided to re-enter social life by attending a Halloween fraternity party. She would be “coming out” with her disability. Friend Dani did not initially want to go but felt she needed to support Stephanie at this vital decision point.

The party at the fraternity house was held outside; Nick explained that his parents didn’t allow parties inside the house. Nick lied. It wasn’t his parents’ disapproval that worried Nick. It seemed the house was haunted in a very specific way. People with disabilities, those with prosthetic devices, heard voices. The voices delivered specific instructions to the special people that led to torture and murder of those around them. The haunted, singing voices took control of those with prosthetics; none had the ability to resist unless they were in the basement of the house.

Stephanie was not in the basement. She heard the voices. Eventually, so did others.

Mirror, Mirror …

In Reflections, a horror short story by Cindy Carroll, five friends go on a road trip by just jumping into Brody’s car and driving. Who knows where they will end up? Somewhere there must have been a wrong turn. Or the GPS is lying. Or Brody is lying when he said he updated the GPS. The weather was hot, the car was too small for five people, and hotels were not where they were supposed to be. Margo and Lena were dying for a hot shower. More so after Lena’s cemetery adventure.

Relative Fears

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The Borga by Renee Wakefield is Book 1 in a planned Charlatan series. I received it through the author’s website for free. Wakefield plans a series of books that will all be free. This short story is a horror or fantasy tale of cross-dimensional travel. It is a standalone complete story but could easily be expanded by the author. Many readers will find that they want the story to continue.

Amelia was not scared of the man who stood watching outside her bedroom window. Being scared was relative and Amelia was much more scared of what was inside her head. The man outside might be able to help. When he asked her to leave the window open so he could enter after she went to sleep, she was happy to do so. Mom and Dad might not agree but no one asked them.

Of Horror and Humanity

The Ones Who Never Came Back by R. C. Bowman is a collection of twenty-five short horror stories and novellas. I like to comment on each story but in summary; No. 13, The Wooden King is very good as far as a twisted horror story. The last two stories are wonderful celebrations of humanity and the ways the human spirit can deal with horrible situations. This is a solid five Amazon stars collection.

Simone is Ahead

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Tagged, You’re It is a novelette by Jamie Lee Scott which she labels as A Gotcha Detective Agency Mystery. I felt this was a novel written to a perceived niche market and therefore had an element of unreality. This very diverse group of people could have come together in their business and social relationships, but I believe it unlikely. The setting is a New Year’s Eve party. There will be several minor mysteries throughout the story as to who invited whom and for what purpose (other than to celebrate the holiday.

Family Secrets

In Deadly Secrets by Teresa Burrell, we meet Johnny Philip Torn (JP), only seven years old when he saw his brother Gene sneaking out of their bedroom. Gene said he was going to look for their father, Elvis. When JP heard the front door of the house opening and closing, JP decided to follow his brother and find out what was going on. JP saw his father and Gene outside a neighbor’s house, one belonging to Jerry Durham. JP had heard one shot and now Gene and his dad were struggling over a gun. There was a second shot. JP’s dad shouted at JP to run home, hide, and never tell anyone what he had seen. JP complied.

Police Rookies: Don’t Try This At Home

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Monday’s Child is a novella or short story (653 Kindle locations) published in 2014 by Jamie Lee Scott. This story is part of a Gotcha Detective Agency series. This is Nick’s story. By the end of this story, we know that Nick is a detective in the Salinas Police Department, a city in Monterey County. I was attracted to the story because I was a Monterey County Sheriff’s deputy; the county jail facility was located in Salinas, and I spent more time in the jail (not as an inmate) than I would have liked.

First We Kill The Editors

The House on Lynch Street by Adshan Jaffery has an engaging cover with these words: “You can leave the house; you cannot leave the game.” Those words are the best part of this novella or short story. The rest of the story, one with a very interesting premise, is full of typographical and egregious grammar errors. If an editor was paid to look at this, the author should request a refund. Because it is a short novella, I read to the end to see if there was any change or improvement. There wasn’t. From beginning to end, this was an editing nightmare.

Ghostly Discoveries

The Secret Diary of Helen Blackstone by Michele Pariza Wacek is an account of Helen’s experience of going home after a five-year absence. From 15 May 1929 to 01 June 1929 Helen describes her struggle to reconnect with her father, her brother “Henry” (who could be Edward at times) and a lifestyle that, unknown to her, had descended into near poverty. She hadn’t exactly wanted to leave their home, but the house she called home had been the scene of a tragedy. Her mother had at first become mad and had finally committed suicide. After an undetermined period of grief, Edward had been sent to school and Helen had been sent to work to help pay for Edward’s school.