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text 2019-01-17 02:27
Reading progress update: I've read 60 out of 247 pages.
The Sergeant's Cat & Other Stories - Janwillem van de Wetering

and here we are - now that I’ve read the story called ‘The Sergeant’s Cat’, I can tell you a bit about the sergeant’s cat. she’s named Tabriz (I’m gonna keep that in mind, if I ever get another cat), and she is Sergeant de Gier’s cat...and unfortunately, um, she gets threatened with a stiletto by a nasty man who works for another, nastier fellow. I didn’t like that, I’ll tell you, but Tabriz was not harmed, and in fact the Sergeant had her moved to a safe house until the murder causing threats and intimidation to the cops (and one of their pets!) could be solved. de Gier was fueled to turn up the heat, for of course no one threatens his cat and gets away with it!

 

I’m three stories into this collection - my intro to the crimesolver duo featured (I like them), and to the strange feel to these quick affairs (I like them, too). hopefully, all cats will be left alone from now on, but if not, de Gier will obviously be taking it very seriously.

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review 2019-01-16 20:10
FINDING YOUR WAY BACK HOME IN A SLEEK JET FIGHTER ON A FOGGY CHRISTMAS EVE IN 1957
The Shepherd - Frederick Forsyth

This is an intensely dramatic and wonderfully told short story about a young Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter pilot's struggle to make it home to the UK from West Germany in his DeHavilland Vampire jet fighter on the night of Christmas Eve 1957. Frederick Forsyth - one of my favorite writers - was himself at 20 the youngest fighter pilot in the RAF little more than 60 years ago - and his evocation of the sensation and perils of flight in a sleek and swift, single-engine jet fighter, puts the reader both in the pilot's head as well as the cockpit.

Why "THE SHEPHERD" has not been adapted for the TV screen (to the best of my knowledge) escapes me.
  

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review 2019-01-16 18:43
In the Shadow of Agatha Christie / compiled by L. Klinger
In the Shadow of Agatha Christie: Classic Crime Fiction by Forgotten Female Writers: 1850-1917 - Leslie S. Klinger

Agatha Christie is undoubtedly the world’s best-selling mystery author, hailed as the “Queen of Crime,” with worldwide sales in the billions. Christie burst onto the literary scene in 1920, with The Mysterious Affair at Styles; her last novel was published in 1976, a career longer than even Conan Doyle’s forty-year span.

The truth is that it was due to the success of writers like Anna Katherine Green in America; L. T. Meade, C. L. Pirkis, the Baroness Orczy, and Elizabeth Corbett in England; and Mary Fortune in Australia that the doors were finally opened for women crime-writers. Authors who followed them, such as Patricia Wentworth, Dorothy Sayers, and, of course, Agatha Christie would not have thrived without the bold, fearless work of their predecessors—and the genre would be much poorer for their absence. So while Agatha Christie may still reign supreme, it is important to remember that she did not ascend that throne except on the shoulders of the women who came before her—and inspired her—and who are now removed from her shadow once and for all by this superb new anthology by Leslie S. Klinger.

 

A historically interesting collection of short stories by women in the crime/mystery genre. They are products of their time, published before the likes of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. Don’t go into this volume expecting the quality of those two talented women writers!

These are the roots of women writing in this genre from the late 1800’s into the early 20th century. If you’ve read books like Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho or Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, you will have a fairly clear idea of what you are getting in this collection. The best part is that these are short works—there is no need to wade through the pages and pages of description that the reader encounters in the two novels reference above. You can sample and decide if there are authors whose work you wish to pursue further.

I put a hold on this book in my public library, believing that I would get more contemporaries of Ms. Christie, those who were writing “in her shadow,” so it wasn’t quite what I was anticipating. Still, it made an excellent book for coffee breaks, allowing me to read a whole story before having to set the book down & return to business.

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review 2019-01-16 17:30
THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER by Calvin Demmer
The Sea Was a Fair Master - Calvin Demmer

THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER is a top notch collection of flash fiction!

 

I have always thought that flash fiction consisted of stories that were only a few sentences long. For example: "The last man in the world heard a knock at the door." That type of thing. I was wrong. Apparently flash fiction can be super short stories-say a page or two. Four to five. Six to seven. Now that I know the correct definition of flash fiction, I'll say this: I love it!

 

I read a ton of single author story collections and multiple author anthologies throughout the year. I've done this since about the age of 12. It seems to me that stories back then were shorter than the tales these days. The last one I read had two stories that were the length of novellas. Not that I'm complaining, but I like my short stories to actually be short. These are!

 

What I liked most about the tales here is that they were all dark, they had lots of variety, and they were ALL GOOD. Seriously, every single one of them made me feel something, made me think, made me chuckle, or made me marvel at how well written they were.

 

My absolute favorite was YARA. Incredibly poignant and super short. It's amazing to me that such feeling and emotion can be communicated in only a few pages, but Calvin Demmer is a master at doing just that.

 

LETTING THE DEAD GROW and HUMANS OR SNAKES were another two stories with disturbing imagery while at the same time being wildly creative. UNDERNEATH, BLIND TEDDY, REVENGE OF THE MYTH and VOODOO CHILD round out my absolute favorites.

 

Usually I would tell you a little about each story, and/or about why I liked them so much, but these bite-sized pieces of entertainment are so short, I feel you need to go into them blind, as I did, and take from them what you will. I hope, (and I'm pretty darn sure), that you're going to like them as much as I, (and nearly everyone else who has read this book), did! If you like your short stories to be short, original, and have occasional punches to your gut? I doubt you could find a better volume than this.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER

 

*I bought the Kindle version of this book with my hard earned cash, but then the author offered to send me a paper copy with no strings attached, and I accepted.*

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text 2019-01-14 23:11
Reading progress update: I've read 445 out of 784 pages.
The Complete Short Stories: Volume 1 - J.G. Ballard

A revelation I unfortunately predicted rather than got surprised by.

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