Genre: Short Story Collection/Literary Fiction
“When a little girl's body is found in the woods, a once quiet town is shaken to its core as it deals with the aftermath in this short story collection. In these twelve stories connected by a terrible tragedy, grown-ups and children alike try put the pieces back together again without any easy answers.”
Mr. Crane is an indie author of slice-of-life short stories, a series of drabble collections, and a horror novella and novelette. He has also contributed to several short story anthologies with other indie authors. Mr. Crane lives in Illinois with his wife, two cats, and a chinchilla.
I have to say up front that I am a huge fan of Mr. Crane’s writing. I have read all of his works, even the ones he doesn’t like to talk about. I was excited to see him get back to writing another collection of slice-of-life stories. Pieces (stories) did not disappoint!
It is awesome the way each of these stories touch on the many different facets, fears, complications, and choices faced as both a child and in adulthood. Although the stories are complete read individually, every entry is made richer by the characters’ reactions to the tragic event that connects them together. Each one gets more personal as you learn details about who the missing girl is and what happened to her. It is perfect how it moves from the effects felt from hearing about the event, seeing it on TV, having it be located in your neighborhood, and ending up with the feelings of the missing girl’s best friend.
Here is how a few of the stories hit home for me. Dandyclean reminded me of the Beltway sniper attacks when everyone was suspicious of white box trucks in the area; also my dislike of door-to-door salespeople. In A Dangerous Place, I could hear my husband teasing me about being too connected with TV, the Internet, and my cell phone hyping all the tragic news and weather events. The ending was a big surprise for me! A Concerned Parent captures the difficult feelings parents must have about protecting and keeping their children safe while fostering independence. With all the abductions, murders, and shooting being reported, it’s not easy to keep thinking it won’t happen in my neighborhood. Vigilantes was a tough read… the emotions of what you would like to do, what you know is right, and how a personal experience can change your thinking. I felt that the author explored both the right and wrong with this situation and left it up in the air as to what might have happened.
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word count: 25-30,000 words