Every once in awhile, we writers get these little gifts. They’re called reviews that hit the sweet spot. Without further ado, in the last couple of weeks, the same individual has left the following reviews of my books on Amazon.
One Night in Bridgeport:
What a great book! From the opening paragraphs, it had me turning page after page well past my bedtime, as I had a hard time putting it down. Jack McGee, working part-time for an attorney’s office, finds himself in the tiny mountain community of Bridgeport. There, he meets a woman who mesmerizes him with her beauty, and she seems just as interested in him. Problem is, he’s engaged, but he can’t help himself, and soon they are in bed together. But a day or so later, he finds himself being charged with raping the woman, and the next six months of his life is pure hell. The buildup to the trial is tense, but the real frustration begins when the local judge already seems convinced of his guilt and refuses to give him and his attorney any breaks. The intensity increases as the witnesses line up to testify against him, and his appointed public defender is left with virtually no options. As the climax approaches, I admit my heart rate was higher than normal, as it was as tense as any movie I’ve seen. Whether the legal wrangling at the end is truly possible and plausible or complete fiction, I don’t know for sure. But I do know without a doubt, it made for a damn good finale. This was a tremendously good book. I would like to see the saga of Jack live on.
Shady Acres and Other Stories:
Ahh, short stories. As normal, some are real gems while others are, well, not so much. Here’s my very brief reviews of these ones.
Shady Acres – The title story is actually quite long (40% of the book), but worth every minute. Gets into the characters more deeply than most shorts. A touching and heartwarming story.
A Warm Body – Lots of action, ends with a wicked twist.
Gramp’s Stereo – Liked this one, as it hit home with me personally.
Jeopardy – Kind of pointless, IMO. Works up to a ‘big’ announcement, with virtually no reaction following it.
Forever – One of my favorites. Mostly because it ends on a positive note.
Getting Through the Night – This one is deep, sad, and tragic. Really hits one in the heart, as the anguish and pain leaps from the pages. Quite sad and somber, but a very good story.
My First True Love – Nice buildup, makes its point, then fizzles to nothing. Could have been so much more.
Sunbaked Sand – Interesting storyline with an equally interesting twist.
He Slept – Another sad one that really connects with anyone who has known someone with mental issues.
Tentacles – Somber yet sympathetic tale of an imprisoned woman, and how she copes inside. Great story.
Maureen Nesbitt – Kind of a sci-fi futuristic Big Brother feel to it. Neat concept. Nice finish to the book.
Overall, most are good to very good, with only a couple that are simply filler. I had just finished his first novel (One Night in Bridgeport) and was so impressed I downloaded both of his short story compilations immediately afterward. I definitely like his style, and look forward to future novels from this author.
The Marfa Lights and Other Stories:
Sixteen short stories here, many of which are very good. I won’t describe each story, but instead simply provide my rating of each.
5 and-a-half stars: Smoker’s Club, Lost & Found.
5 and-a-quarter stars: Ice Cream Man, The Watcher
5-stars: The Marfa Lights, Mother’s Bible, and the only poem of the collection, titled ‘Untitled’.
4 stars: Promises Made, Clover & 4th, Explorer X-12, Maybe, and Shoes.
3 stars: Enough is Enough, and The Bus Driving Pot-smoker.
1 star each for Apartment Hunting, What Was Left Behind
Basically, another worthy effort by this author. I felt Smoker’s Club and Lost & Found were head and shoulders above the rest, with Ice Cream Man and The Watcher just a hair below them. Those four stories alone are well worth the price of admission.
* * * * *
Bridgeport and The Marfa Lights got five stars, and Shady Acres four, from this reviewer. All I can say is … Wow. And thank you. As far as I can tell, this reviewer is unknown to me. It is these kind of reviews — particularly that one book led to the others — that can keep a writer like me going. So, whoever you are, thank you. Again.