My short story Abraham's Bosom is now available in the Darker Times Anthology Vol 3.
E-book now, and paperback soon. Details here:
Or in the US:
Review of Love and Loyalty by Maria Savva
My preferred form of writing is the short story, but usually of the darker kind; so I did not know what to expect of Maria Savva's collection, Love and Loyalty. I was pleased to find myself hooked from the beginning of the first story, The Artist. Jane is trying to talk the artist, Franco, out of suicide; but has she already missed her chance? She begins to doubt herself, and indeed her own sense of reality. This is a good introduction to the book, introducing Savva's careful characterisations and story telling skills. One Thing Leads to Another is a cautionary tale of the damaging domino effects possible by being just a bit too true to yourself. This is followed by I'm Only Doing My Job, which attempts to explain the strange behaviour of some traffic wardens...
Mannequin shapes like it could easily be a supernatural tale, then changes its direction abruptly, which quite caught me out. Friendship is the key! The same could be said of My Darkest Day, which manipulates mood to good effect. I never knew what 'atychiphobia' meant, but after this story of the same name, I'm unlikely to forget. I'm sure Vivienne would either have known, or would at least look it up straight away! She is the kind of character who always gets her comeuppance... but does she? As with most of these stories, you'll be left thinking. The Perfect Life deals with misunderstanding and deception in the workplace, and will surprise you at its conclusion.
Perhaps my favourite is Ordinary Lives, which is another cautionary tale involving the intellectual property of a novel... just when can it be claimed as one's own? Friendships are at stake. This story unfolded gradually, and surely every aspiring writer could relate to it. The collection ends strongly with Speed King, plotting the gradual divergence of an older couple, via fast cars and the internet, and finally Out of the cauldron, Into the Fire, which will discourage you from crying wolf once and for all.
I enjoyed these carefully plotted stories with their contemporary settings, thoughtful endings and realistic characters. I am looking forward to Maria Savva's next collection.