Have I ever mentioned that I’m not a fan of short stories? Indeed… back in the day I was trying to find a vehicle for my writing I did a short story writing course and (at the time) wondered why I bothered – given my dislike for the medium.
I do however, recognise there are benefits to short, sharp and captivating stories. Indeed, Jeffery Deaver – in the Author’s Note to his latest collection, Trouble in Mind – talks about the fact that he can waive his usual preference for ‘closure’ when writing short stories.
Deaver’s third compilation – features a few familiar faces, with Amelia Sachs and Lincoln Rhyme popping up in two pieces of short fiction (the second of which – sorry folks – starts with Rhyme’s murder! Or does it?); along with body language expert Kathryn Dance; and location scout John Pellam.
There are also other interesting tales on offer:
In Bump we meet a once-famous actor who agrees to outlay cash he can’t afford to participate in a live celebrity poker game in an attempt to again find fame and fortune. Given the dearth of reality TV offerings and desperate has-beens clawing to get back on our screens, the subject matter is remarkably relevant.
And then there’s the ‘popular and populist’ novelist who dies (prematurely and unexpectedly) of natural causes leaving behind a much-younger wife and co-writer itching to make his name in The Plot.
I struggled with a couple of the pieces in the compilation, which included seven stories which had previously appeared elsewhere (in some form) along with five new pieces.
Mostly however, I enjoyed the short pieces and Deaver was right – we’re never wedded enough to the characters or plot that an unexpected conclusion or sad ending will have us sobbing in despair or drinking ourselves into a confused stupor!
For peeps like me who find it hard to put a book down, short stories should be* ideal. I did occasionally find myself saying… “Just one more story.” But it’s much easier to put the book aside to go to sleep or prepare dinner at the end of a story than waiting until the end of the whole damned book!
Trouble in Mind is published by Hachette Group /Hodder & Stoughton UK and available from 11 March 2014
*I’m obviously not yet won over by these abbreviated fiction offerings. 😉
Disclaimer – I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. For ALL of my reviews follow me on Goodreads. 😉