I am in love.
I got a Kindle yesterday and it’s awesome. Now I didn’t do a whole lot of comparison. I know there are a bunch of awesome e-readers out there. For about twenty four hours I waffled between the Nook and the Kindle. I really don’t think there’s a wrong choice there (unless you were really offended by the 1984 debacle). My funds were limited so I went with the bare bones wifi model and it’s enough for me.
To break in the new device I loaded a few different docs on it. I put an extended version of Fetch on it for my wife to read. I also went out and grabbed a couple of e-books from Smashwords. That’s a great place to find new authors. There’s a mix of free and pay content there. I even have a few stories there. The best thing about the site is the sheer number of formats they have available. If you have a device, they have a compatible format.
The first story I grabbed was “Breakers” by Paul E. Cooley. I’m a big fan of Paul’s. In a world where most fiction classified as “horror” involves an excess of gore/sex or sparkly undead, he’s a breath of fresh air. What fiction of his I’ve read uses a degree of subtlety that I appreciate. It’s also horrific in ways that truly exemplify the word.
So what is “Breakers” about? Well I’ll use the synopsis that Paul chose. “Paranoia and anarchy are the tools of the Breakers. A Breaker agent explains his typical day in this bone-chilling, psychotic tale.” At four thousand words it goes quickly and the price tag of “FREE” is perfect. A true “review” of this is difficult without going into too much detail. I find that’s always true with short stories. Here’s what I can say. He sets up a world in this story that could easily be the one we’re living in right now. That alone makes this frightening.
Check it out and if you like it, I think you’ll enjoy his other fiction. I give it four out of five scalpels.
The second book I loaded (that wasn’t mine) was “A Ghostly Christmas Present” by Dan Sawyer. I’m also a big fan of Dan’s. This is the second story in his Clarke Lantham series. I reviewed the first one, “And Then She Was Gone”, here. What is it about winter time and “scary ghost stories”? Well whatever it is, I like it.
This is as noir as the previous entry, so if you like it, you’ll like this. Here’s the synopsis from the Smashwords page. “It’s hard to beat being thrown in an out-of-state jail on a trumped up charge as a Christmas present, but detective Clarke Lantham loves a challenge. So when he calls up his brother for help with bail, he thinks he’s prepared for the ordeal of spending a holiday weekend with relatives who put the “strange” back in “estranged.” That was his first mistake.”
This one is a bit more fun than the first, though no less dark or edgy. I read it all in one sitting and it kept me going until a quarter to one in the morning. If that’s not enough to push you in the direction of buying this, then let me see what I can do to nudge you along. In addition to being a modern noir, this is also a classic murder mystery with a twist. He makes a number of nods to Agatha Christie and/or Sir Doyle, but as with the classic noir of “And Then She Was Gone”, he adds modern sensibilities.
Dan takes the time to walk his readers through the processes Clarke uses to solve the crime, though never at the expense of pacing. There’s a dash of action, a dollop of sex (handled with humor and taste), and more than one laugh out loud moment. The only thing that really hurt the story for me were a few sections of prose early on that I had to re-read a time or two for clarity. I think $2.99 for a story that comes in at over thirty thousand words and provided me with a few hours of pure entertainment is money well spent. I give this story four and a half out of five bloody icicles.