Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category


Windy City Blues – “My Kind of Town”

September 22, 2015


Windy City Blues by Sara Paretsky

I usually read through introductions quickly, but the one to this book, about Chicago (the background of the story and its characters) is a masterpiece. And, it adds to each of the V. I. Warshawski pieces.

I have read Sara Paretsky before but never appreciated all that she brings to her work. These are not clever twists, but real life―hospital staff rivalries, tennis tournament coaching screw-ups, missing classical music scores.

I particularly liked the first 2/3 with “Grace Notes” and “The Maltese Cat.” “Settled Score” proved disappointing, but the nice thing about short stories is that you can always move on to the next.

And at the heart of them is a Polish, female, PI who gets things done. She lets us, as readers be part of the action in a real, Chicago way.

4 out of 5



The Man who Built Boxes – “Best Short Story, Ever”

February 19, 2014

 The Man who Built Boxes

Man Who Built Cropped

by Frank Tavares, 240 pages, $8.99

Bacon Press Books (January 13, 2014)

Available from Amazon. Click here:  The Man Who Built Boxes and other stories

Most of these stories are “close but no cigar.” Astoundingly realistic characters who remind me of Pirandello. Except in search of a play, they are in search of a plot. All, that is, except the title story. It is perfect and one of the best short stories I have ever read. It is well worth the price of the book alone and shows how the rest of the selections are working toward this. Wow! This is a life changer.




Dancing Dogs – “4 Barks!”

August 6, 2013

Dancing Dogs

Ballatine Books, 240 pages, $24

Ballatine Books, 240 pages, $24

I’m a sucker for dog and cat stories, so take what I say with that in mind. I started to read this book before and got through 3 or 4 pieces and just couldn’t take breaking down (crying) at each.

What I found this time, was redemption in the mix. I needed to read all the stories, not pick and choose by title. And that’s how it should be. Read the rest of this entry ?


Immediate Fiction – “Want, Obstacle, Action”

March 28, 2013

Immediate Fiction

Jerry Cleaver

St. Martin’s Griffin

275 pages, $15.99

Immediate FictionThis book reminds me of a section in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in which the author is putting together a barbecue grill manufactured in Japan. The first number of the instruction says something like “1. Be in the right frame of mind.” That, it seems to me is what this book does for wanabe writers, puts them in the right frame of mind. Read the rest of this entry ?


LIVING ARRANGEMENTS – “Welcome to the New Short Story”

June 11, 2012

Living Arrangements 

by Laura Maylene Walter

BkMk Press

210 pages, paperback $15.95

This book is like…well an old Gershwin tune that has specific, personal memoires attached. Once you read the stories you will never quite be able to get them out of your mind. The title piece recollects places the narrator has lived over her life (and I guarantee you will be doing the same thing). I played my brother’s clarinet, so that story rings uncomfortably true.

Some, like “The Ballad Solemn of Lady Malena” and “The Last Halloween,” are harrowing pieces you want to skip over, but can’t; Read the rest of this entry ?