Short Story Review: Last Call by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden just wants a quiet drink after a hard day’s work, but when he arrives at McAnnally’s pub it is clear he is not going to get it.  On walking through the door, he finds that all the regulars, who belong to Chicago’s supernatural community, are all unconscious and sprawled out all over the place.

When Dresden locates Mac, the pub’s owner, bloodied and beaten besides the bar, he learns that all the customers went crazy all at once.

It is Harry Dresden’s job to find out why, before things start to get out of hand.

Last Call is a short, interesting read that successfully blends crime fiction with magic and the paranormal.  The pace of the story moves along nicely, and the detail provided to describe the people and places is enough to bring the story to life without slowing it down.

This short story was found in Strange Brew, ed. P.N. Elrod.

Book Review: Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce

Aberystwyth Mon Amour is the first Louie Knight Mystery in the Aberystwyth Noir series by Malcolm Pryce.

Aberystwyth in the 1980’s is a town overshadowed by the legacy of war (the conflict in Patagonia in 1961).  Louie Knight is a private investigator living and working in Aberystwyth, where he runs Knight Errant Investigations.  He is the only private investigator in the town.

Over the past couple of months, schoolboys from the town have been disappearing and are presumed dead.  It isn’t until Myfanwy Montez enters his office that Louie gets involved.  Myfanwy is the famous local singer who works in “Wales most notorious night club”, the Moulin Club which is run by the Druids.  She wants him to find her cousin, Evans the Boot, who is one of the missing schoolboys.  Even though he doesn’t take on the case, Louie nevertheless finds himself pulled into the dark, shady underworld that controls the town.

Can Louie find out what has happened to the missing boys and who is behind it?  Can it really have anything to do with the sinister Welsh teacher, Lovespoon, who also happens to be the Grand Wizard of the Druids?

Set in the 1980’s, Aberystwyth Mon Amour is a colourful, entertaining tale that is especially funny if you know the small seaside town.  It is a well-written original story in which the characters are colourful, and the dialogue witty.  The description of the people and the places mentioned is amusing, and the plot twists come thick and fast.

I highly recommend Aberystwyth Mon Amour to fans of crime noir and sharp comedy.

I am looking forward to re-reading and reviewing the second book in the series, Last Tango in Aberystwyth.

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ is the first book in the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend.

Adrian Mole is an intellectual (he thinks!) whom no-one understands.  The world it seems to him, is out to ensure that when he grows up he won’t be able to reach his full potential.  It’s not just the other kids at school, but even his parents seem out to sabotage his progress!  Just his luck…

It has been quite a few years since I read this book, and after reading it, I’m still surprised that it was published before I was born!

As it is Adrian’s secret diary, the language is very frank and to the point.  Although it doesn’t tell a story as such, we get a glimpse of the world through his eyes, as he sees it and experiences it between the ages of 13 ¾ and 15.  It covers a number of issues, most if not all of them as relevant today as they were in the early 1980’s.  First love, school, hopes and dreams, bullying, parental problems, the Royal wedding, politics…so many subjects are touched upon.

This is an endearing, laugh out loud funny book, which I highly recommended.

Short Story Review: The Black Sheep by Julie Cohen

Lee and Liza are identical twins.  However, that is where the similarities end.  One is good, one isn’t…

As Christmas in the town of Stoneguard approaches, all of the young children are forced to participate in the Christmas Pageant.  Whilst one of the twins is given a good role in the play, the other is told she has to play a sheep; a decision she is not happy about it.  But what lengths will she go to to show the town?

I really loved this short story.  I knew before starting it that it was going to be packed full of mischief and mayhem – and it didn’t disappoint.  It made me laugh and cringe and I just thought it was wonderful!  The characters were believable, especially the twins, and the story was engaging.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I will definitely be adding Getting Away With It, (the world in which this standalone story is set) to my to-be-read list.

If you want to read something quick, light and funny, something that will put a smile on your face, you should give this short story a go.

I downloaded The Black Sheep by Julie Cohen for free from Smashwords.