short stories

There seems to be an explosion of short story writing in the Kindle Store. I have looked at short stories written by indie-authors who specialise in that form; short stories written by indie-authors to introduce their writing to a new audience; and short stories written as a taster to a new novel, character or series.

Burden of Proof An Elversford Mystery Short Story by Linda Gruchy.
This book is actually a collection of three short stories and previews for Linda Gruchy's novels. The first - Burden of Proof - is part of the back-story to her detective fiction novels and as such was very enjoyable and a good introduction to her style and characters. We learn that Detective Inspector Hedley is hated by his boss DCI Roberts, but nobody knows why. One evening DI Hedley explains to his Sergeant, Fiona Connor that the two men fell out over a case where a woman came home from work to find her husband dead, with his throat slashed. They disagreed about the explanation for the death and the rest as they say is history. I enjoyed the plot of the story and the characters were engaging and you were left wanting to know more about them; I shall definitely be reading one of Linda Gruchy's full length detective novels in the near future. The other two stories showed her ability as a writer in a very different way: she handled the constraints of short story telling really well and each was a neat piece of writing. In Scisorella, Andrea has escaped her past and is building her future but her past isn’t so easily forgotten and in My Father's Child, Emory’s dark and secret boyhood haunts him mentally and physically. Both stories were rather macabre dealing with the darker side of human nature and they each demonstrated the author's ability to write sensitively without hiding from the truth of the story. Overall an enjoyable read.

The Straw Garden by Phillippa Ballantine is a short story that uses the device of looking at old photos to tell the story. Through the photos she travels back in time, finding answers and even more. The photo evocations were varied and neatly woven into the story which allowed the reader to share the emotional development of a woman understanding her relationship with an older relative. I really enjoyed reading this story and although the device was predictable it was undertaken with skill and was very well written.

The Other Daughter by Rosen Trevithick is a short story which resonates considerably with present day real-life concerns about missing children. In the story the disappearance of Millie Jones has dominated the news for several years, ever since she was snatched from a department store at Christmas time. Certain that Millie is alive her mother has put family life on hold to try to ensure the search for her daughter continues. This is very challenging for all the family especially for Millie's sister and when there are new developments the challenges increase. Not to give anything away but there is a really good twist in the ending of this story. The characters are very real and you are quickly drawn into the family dynamic and share their emotions as the tale unfolds. It is a real page turner and a story you can't put down. It is a well written short story with high levels of suspense and emotion. I shall definitely be looking out for a full length novel by this writer.