SHAWN MCPIKE, DAVID A. STELZIG, SETH E. LENDER, EDMOND CHENG
ISSN: 1555-5496, VOL. 109-22ED
December 11, 2009
Midnight Showcase Fiction
Rating: 3 Cups
If not for his father, Stuart Nichols would not have the work ethic that makes him such a good carpenter. He takes pride in doing a very good job for his clients, and more importantly, for himself.
Finding Stu in the yellow pages was not just chance for TJ McDermott. The job that needs doing is crucial, and he is the only one capable.
Stu feels something is off with the McDermott job right from the start. He takes the job sight unseen, and within minutes of arriving, the problems begin. Nosey neighbors, weird noises, and then hallucinations are just the beginning, but it only gets worse. Stu has stepped into something bigger and more terrifying than anything he has ever encountered and is quickly aware that his very survival is at stake.
There is an eerie feeling to this story that grabs your attention right away. The answers are long in coming, but the end is well worth the wait.
Jersey cop Mario Pinelli is as close to a functioning alcoholic as you can get, but no amount of alcohol will ever let him forget his wife or his sister.
There is no question that Barbara Stevens is a lonely woman, but that does not mean she is delusional.
Mario and Barbara used to have a thing, but that was a lifetime and many years ago, yet he cannot deny her plea for help. She thinks she is being stalked, and despite the jokes flying around the precinct about “Batty Barb”, Mario will not let another woman suffer the same fate as his sister. He gets involved, and when it all comes to a head, he is the one in the target zone.
This story is made all the more sad and disturbing by the sheer reality of its plot. Stu is honest in his pain, and though he is a hard man to admire, you cannot help but feel for him.
Crown of the Earth
Despite being in love with her brother-in-law, Detective Nicole Marcos loves her sister more, making the horrific scene at her sister’s home more than enough to put Nicole on a rampage.
The lawlessness of the city is all thanks to Jett, but it is also his vigilance and special abilities that keeps it in check within the city limits.
Nicole has only one witness to her sister’s murder, and while following the path of a demon seems ridiculous, it is the only lead she has. Taking her police car into the city is stupid in the extreme, and she learns very quickly it could cost her her life. Her salvation comes in the form of a man more mysterious than he is frightening, until she learns the whole truth.
There is so much not said in this story that it makes delving deeper a necessity. It is wholly intriguing, in a very strange and interesting way.
A loving wife and a marriage envied by his peers is a dream that has come true for Thomas with his darling Karen.
She is everything Thomas wants in a wife, and Karen loves the feeling that his pleasure gives her.
Thomas is hugely successful at work, and the future is only looking up, until he has a very unexpected visitor. His day spirals out of control in a way that he could only foresee in nightmares. He wants nothing more than to wake from this horrific state, and find everything right with his world.
Smoke and mirrors, dreams and nightmares play a huge role in this very strange and convoluted storyline. Pay close attention to detail, because you will never know what hit you until it is too late.
Each story in this anthology is quietly disturbing, and cunningly strange. The characters are all inherently flawed, but that lends them a humanity that holds the reader in their grasp. There may be times where confusion over certain aspects leaves you wondering, but that is the nature of a mystery. These writers are well worth your time to get know, and I am glad I did.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More