Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Genre: Crime / Noir
Approximate word count: 10-15,000 words
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Jim Liston grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and spent most of his early adult years traveling as a drummer in rock bands. More recently he has been developing and building websites. Jim writes short stories and flash fiction. Invasion of Privacy is his first novel.
You can learn more about the author at his website.
A collection of short stories and flash fiction.
The book opens with the title story, Invasion of Privacy. Jim runs a computer sales shop, he goes to the store to meet his wife, but finds her dying. He suspects the spider tattooed man who was leaving as he arrived fatally stabbed her. The police are no help so Jim, a computer geek, develops a software program to hunt for the killer, using webcams to spy into his customer’s world.
Invasion of Privacy runs through just over half the book. It was reasonably written, the premise on the borderline of acceptability. There are a small number of characters that are somewhat fleshed out, but could have been broader. I struggled somewhat with the story and how the supporting cast appeared to help Jim in his quest. Eventually the killer is caught and he doesn’t really play true to form. A supposedly cold-hearted killer he’s eventually shown to be weak and self-absorbed.
Thereafter the stories are significantly shorter, some no more than a few pages long. It jars somewhat, having just read such a comparatively lengthy narrative. For example A Novel Murder, the main character (unnamed) is on a bus and overhears a man sat behind him talking about killing someone. The person reports the man to the police. However, it’s revealed that the man is an author plotting a book, rather than a killing. I guess it’s a twist, but it didn’t make me sit up.
And that’s about the shape of it. The stories are okay, but don’t stick in the memory. They’re over before they start. Okay, that’s flash fiction, but overall the book left me unfulfilled. Hence the comparatively short review. Not much to read, not much to say.
Nothing of mention.
Repeat word usage, needs editing out.
Rating: ** Two Stars