Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Proper Application of Pressure to a Wound by Sherry Decker

Sherry Decker's story in the December issue packs an emotional punch and as I've said before in this space, that's one of the hallmarks of a great short story for me. (It's a hallmark of a great long story too). Very difficult thing to accomplish in a short space, but this story does it.

The main character is a home nurse for an elderly man she's learned to care about. He dies, and that's not the worst that happens. We learn the nurse has been on a downward spiral having lost a child and a husband and a proper hospital job. When you've lost enough, you think about what you can save, and she couldn't save her patinet.

Still, there are plenty of others who need help in this world, and the story will talk about some of those. The nurse does what she can and rises and rises until some might say she's become a hero. But will the appreciation of others be enough for her?After all, it won't bring her back what she's lost.

In any event, if you're looking for a crime related story that might just move you emotionally, this one is recommended.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Down Home Blues" by Rob Kantner

Recently posted to Kantner's Web site, this new Ben Perkins story has Ben attending his great aunt's funeral in Georgia. After the ceremony, Ben's cousin Caroleen asks him to fix the toilet at the cabin she rents out. This he does easily, but he also becomes suspicious when the renters don't seem to be the "lovely folks" Caroleen describes.

I hadn't read a Perkins story in some time, but Ben's voice was instantly familiar. I'm glad Kantner is still writing about him. I found "Down Home Blues" a little long to read onscreen. Print it out and take your time with it, as Ben would.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Candles on the Corner" by Janet Dawson

From: Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, November 2008

Dawson's Bay Area P.I. Jeri Howard is hired by the parents of 12-year-old Emily Gebhardt, who died in a hit-and-run accident. With varying witness statements and precious few clues, Jeri proves a tenacious questioner with a knack for educated guesses. She elicits the truth, but is unable to stop a horrific act of vengeance by Emily's father.

A well-plotted, satisfying investigation with a tragic end.