Tag Archives: Short Fiction

A Review of Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets by Jacob M. Appel

Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets

by Jacob M. Appel

This is the second collection of short fiction by Mr. Appel that I have had the privilege of reading. He has blown me away once again. His stories make you think. They lay out the idea, and then it’s your job to ponder them and see what they are really saying about your life. This is a small book. It has 155 pages and 8 stories, but don’t rush though them. Take your time. Sit there and think about the story before plunging into the next one. It will ripen and develop new ideas as you let it float around inside your mind. When you have spent enough time integrating the ideas that the story has prompted, then you will be ready for the next surprise, the next set of thoughts, the next new story.

Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets is a must read if you like short stories. Mr. Appel will entertain you, but at the same time he will challenge you. He will make you reexamine some ideas that you may have taken for granted. This isn’t science fiction, but some of these stories have that Twilight Zone feel to them. Do you remember the best episodes of Twilight Zone, where you came away with a feeling that wouldn’t leave, an idea that haunted you, something that just wouldn’t go away? That is the experience that you will have reading these stories. They will push you to think about life and death in a new way.

I’m not going to give you little capsule summaries of these stories. I’m just going to tell you that you will love these quirky, wonderful characters in these surprisingly delightful stories.

I give Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! Read it, if you have a chance, I think you will be won over to Mr. Appel’s camp.

I received a paperback copy of this book from the author.

Book Description

Miracles and ConundrumsA visitor from a distant planet opens a Latvian restaurant next to an abortion clinic; a magician learns that true love will cost him a kidney; a blind barber cuts hair for tourists in a gentrifying Harlem…. Enter the mad, moving university of Jacob M. Appel’s short fiction.

 

 

 

Book Details

Paperback: 155 pages
Publisher: Black Lawrence Press (June 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1625579330
ISBN-13: 978-1625579331
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces

About the Author

Jacob-M-Appel-Photograph-7-29-10Jacob M. Appel is a physician, attorney and bioethicist based in New York City. He is the author of more than two hundred published short stories and is a past winner of the Boston Review Short Fiction Competition, the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Award for the Short Story, the Dana Award, the Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction, the North American Review’s Kurt Vonnegut Prize, the Missouri Review‘s Editor’s Prize, the Sycamore Review‘s Wabash Prize, the Briar Cliff Review‘s Short Fiction Prize, the H. E. Francis Prize, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award in four different years, an Elizabeth George Fellowship and a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Writers Grant. His stories have been short-listed for the O. Henry Award, Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best American Mystery Stories, and the Pushcart Prize anthology on numerous occasions. His first novel, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2012. His second novel, second novel, The Biology of Luck, was short-listed for the Hoffer Society’s Montaigne Medal. Jacob holds graduate degrees from Brown University, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Law School, New York University’s MFA program in fiction and Albany Medical College’s Alden March Institute of Bioethics. He taught for many years at Brown University and currently teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

 

A Review of Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3 by Jeffery Deaver

Trouble in MindTrouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3
by Jeffery Deaver

Reading a book of collected short stories is much different than reading a novel. Some people don’t like short stories because they don’t get all the character development and plot twists that are the essence of a great novel. But the way that Mr. Deaver thinks about short stories, which is distilling an idea down to the essential elements of plot, a few characters, with the major plot twist at the end of the story, is exactly the type of short story that I like to read.

I have always enjoyed reading short story collections. I have read many of the “Best of the Year” type collections, both in the mystery and science fiction genres, since I was a teenager back in the sixties. It seemed that there were many more quality short stories being written back then. A lot of mainstream magazines would publish a couple short stories in each issue, but all of those outlets are gone now. There still are some genre specific magazines out there, but who reads them? I know that I don’t purchase printed magazines anymore. I am more likely to listen to a podcast than read a magazine, so story collections like this are the main opportunity to read some great short fiction.

This is Mr. Deaver at his finest. He has collected 12 great stories in this volume. Six of the stories are new, which means that you may have read some of the stories already, but that happens with any collection of stories. Most of the time the stories are worth re-reading anyway. There wasn’t a stinker in the group. If you are a fan of Mr. Deaver’s series books, you will be happy to hear that there are stories in here that include characters from all three of them. The non-series stories allow Mr. Deaver a bit more freedom. He gets to push the boundaries, to go a little outside of the normal genre limits that contain him in his series novels. I like that. I have wanted to read his Twisted collections, and now I have to put them on my “Books To Read” list.

I give Trouble in Mind 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! Anyone who enjoys reading short fiction will like this collection.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from NetGalley.com.

Book Description
Release date: March 4, 2014

Fiendish suspense. Shocking twists.
Twelve diabolical tales.

New York Times bestselling author and highly acclaimed storyteller Jeffery Deaver-the undisputed “grand master of the plot twist” (Booklist)-returns with a dazzling new collection of short stories. In these twelve electrifying tales (including six written just for this anthology) Deaver proves once again his genius for the unexpected-in his world, appearances are always deceiving.

A devoted housekeeper embarks on a quest to find the truth behind her employer’s murder. A washed-up Hollywood actor gets one last, high-stakes chance to revive his career. A man makes an impulsive visit to his hometown, and learns more about his past than he bargained for. Two Olympic track hopefuls receive terrorist threats. And Deaver’s beloved series characters Lincoln Rhyme, Kathryn Dance, and John Pellam return in stories now in print for the first time.

Product Details

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1455526797
ISBN-13: 978-1455526797
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds

About the Author

Jeffery Deaver was born outside of Chicago in 1950. His father was an advertising copywriter and his mother was a homemaker. He has one younger sister who writes novels for teenagers ‘ Julie Reece Deaver.

Deaver wrote his first book ‘ which consisted of two entire chapters ‘ when he was eleven, and he’s been writing ever since. An award-winning poet and journalist, he has also written and performed his own songs around the country. After receiving a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Deaver worked as a magazine writer, then, to gain the background needed to become a legal correspondent for The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, he enrolled at Fordham Law School. After graduation he decided to practice law for a time and worked for several years as an attorney for a large Wall Street firm. It was during his long commute to and from the office that he began writing the type of fiction he enjoyed reading: suspense novels. In 1990 he started to write full time.

The author of twenty-two novels, Deaver has been nominated for six Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony award, a Gumshoe Award, and is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader’s Award for Best Short Story of the Year. In 2001, he won the W.H. Smith Thumping Good Read Award for his Lincoln Rhyme novel The Empty Chair. In 2004, he was awarded the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain’s Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Garden Of Beasts and the Short Story Dagger for “The Weekender.” Translated into 35 languages, his novels have appeared on a number of bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the London Times and the Los Angeles Times. The Bone Collector was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme. A Maiden’s Grave was made into an HBO film retitled Dead Silence, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin.

Jeff has also released two collections of his short stories, called Twisted and More Twisted.

The book description is from Amazon.  Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3

A Review of The Last Second: A Novella by Robin Burcell

The Last SecondThe Last Second: A Novella (Kindle Edition)

by Robin Burcell

This is a fun little read. Good time for less than a buck. Kind of like a snack, instead of a meal.

Always good to read a story about Sydney and Zach. They get to do a little more than they planned on during their trip to Arizona. Guns, dynamite, dirty cops and a dog pining after his master, perfect ingredients for a short tale.

I give this novella 4 Stars out of 5. Buy it if you need something to read this afternoon, and would like a preview of Robin Burcell’s upcoming novel, The Kill Order.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description

Release date: November 19, 2013 | Series: Sydney Fitzpatrick

Covert agent Zachary Griffin and FBI Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick are sidetracked from an ongoing investigation to follow up on a potential lead. In a small Arizona border town, gunrunning and drug trafficking into Mexico are a part of the landscape—but not when they’re orchestrated by an officer in uniform. At least that’s the story told to agents Griffin and Fitzpatrick.

But the dirty cop is now missing, and his sister says he’s innocent, a victim of a corrupt police department. She is convinced they set him up to take the fall, then killed him, and she can prove it—with help from a highly unusual witness. Suddenly an open-and-shut case seems anything but, and the clock is ticking as Griffin and Fitzpatrick take on an entire police department in a deadly match that could go up in smoke at the last second.

Product Details

File Size: 494 KB

Print Length: 53 pages

Publisher: Witness Impulse (November 19, 2013)

Sold By: HarperCollins Publishers

Language: English

ASIN: B00A9V6NNI

Text-to-Speech: Enabled

X-Ray: Not Enabled

Lending: Not Enabled

About the Author

Robin Burcell is an FBI-trained forensic artist who has worked in law enforcement for over two decades as a police officer, detective, and hostage negotiator. A two-time Anthony Award winner, she is the author of four Sydney Fitzpatrick novels—The Black List, The Dark Hour, The Bone Chamber, and Face of a Killer—as well as four novels featuring SFPD homicide detective Kate Gillespie: Every Move She Makes, Fatal Truth, Deadly Legacy, and Cold Case.

The book description is from Amazon. The Last Second: A Novella (Kindle Edition)