Every few years the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters In Crime releases a themed short story anthology. Next week, their newest offering will be available and this time out the theme is weather. To whet your whistle, I wanted to give you a small sampling of the stories that can be found in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning.
Following a short introduction by Hank Phillippi Ryan, each of the short stories has its own style and flavor. As a taste, I will discuss a diverse selection of the stories: some by short story veterans, some by newbies; some by female authors and others by male writers; some shorter stories and some a bit longer. In the end, readers will want to enjoy all the stories in the collection.
The Knitter by Robin Templeton
This may be Templeton’s first published short story, but is shows her to be a natural born storyteller. Jess MacKenzie is an older lady on a bus trip to the Eastern Shore. Her empathetic connection with a fellow traveler causes her to not only re-evaluate her own life, but to realize that sometimes you just shouldn’t meddle in the affairs of others. Of course, Jess comes by these lessons in a less than traditional manner. The open-ended nature of the story allows readers to create their own resolution for Jess.
Frozen Assets by KM Rockwood
One might not expect a story full of heart when the subject matter is homeless youth and pedophile priests, but that is exactly what Rockwood provides. By examining the story from the viewpoint of the disenfranchised, readers are allowed to relate to their situation on the cold streets during an East Coast Winter and when these marginalized characters finally overcome what is a horrible situation for them, it’s easy to justify their actions.
Stormy, with a Chance of Murder by Alan Orloff
Who amongst us has not rhapsodized about the unreliability of weathermen? Orloff tells the story of Chief Meteorologist Mike Morgan who is having a particularly bad season. When a torrential summer storm becomes the perfect cover for his revenge plot, he is sure that his luck is turning around. But is it? As he often does, Orloff keeps things on the humorous side with a skill that prevents it from seeming like he is making light of murder.
The Last Caving Trip by Donna Andrews
Donna Andrews has set her story doing a snowy spelunking trip. Readers will feel the claustrophobia and isolation facing these two characters. Beyond the ambiance of the setting, there is a nice twist to this tale of friendship gone awry. Just another reason you will never find me descending into a cave.
Inner Weather by Carla Coupe
Carla Coupe’s story is the very definition of unique and unexpected. Joanna is a hired assassin unable to complete her assignments because the turmoil in her conscience. In this way, the weather of Coupe’s story is both the physical elements surrounding the character as well as the emotional whirlwind within her mind. The conclusion of the story is a bittersweet moment that will linger in reader’s minds long afterwards.
Stepmonster by Barb Goffman
Readers can always expect Goffman to take them on an unexpected journey with her short stories. This time out it’s a revenge plot involving the ever predictable dislike of step-parents. Always one to find a unique way into a story, Barb here taps into what she knows so well – that is, how writers can work out real life issues in their creative work. At only five pages, this is a tightly constructed story that is sure to be a fan favorite.
Parallel Play by Art Taylor
Art Taylor has won practically every award possible for his short stories and he might want to rearrange his shelves to make way for another statute for this story. Taylor once again excels at delving into the mind of his female protagonist. But this time, Art has also crafted a particularly devious and evil villain. This tension filled story of a mother who will go to any lengths to protect her child unfolds like a mini-movie on the page – both touching and terrifying.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.