Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Black Widow Club

Hilary Davidson (The Damage Done) has launched a short story collection that takes readers into dark recesses of the human experience. These nine, compact stories of mystery and suspense are infused with unexpected irony and a chilling sense of the macabre.

"People never know what they're capable of until they're in a terrible situation. That's when your true character comes out," says one of the protagonists in the headline story, "The Black Widow Club," which unravels revelations of wives, mothers, daughters and the men they love and those who love them back? Or do they?

Each story in the collection packs a wallop, oftentimes in the first line, sometimes by the last.  In each instance, characters are put to the test, facing challenges and "terrible situations."

Peru is the setting for "Stepmonster," where a former model, the jilted ex-wife of a plastic surgeon—whom she now refers to as "Dr. Frankenboobs"—goes to a resort for some r&r.  But when she gets to her destination, she finds that the woman who poached her husband and children, is vacationing at the very same hotel. Coincidence?

"Undying Love" is plotted in reverse. It is an off-beat story narrated by a deceased protagonist who slowly learns the mysterious circumstances of what brought him to the other side via Bart, a spirit guide who tends to hum the theme from the movie Ghostbusters amid their journey because he "died in 1984 and that song stuck in (his) head."

Other stories deal with the haunted nature of the past; the perils of modern romance and marriage; role playing; revenge; obsessions; skewed family values; children conning parents—and vice-versa.   

Strong narrative voices and tight story lines underscore each tale, which reflects the decadent, often sinister nature of the modern world.

Beast Books, $2.99 , e-book, ASIN: B00E3GZW6E
Publication Date: July 21, 2013
To order this book via AMAZON link HERE

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Misery Loves Company

Every Tuesday, Juliet "Jules" Belleno of Wissberry, Maine reviews a book on her blog. But when Jules is disappointed in the latest novel written by her favorite author, Patrick Reagan, and she posts an unfavorable review, her life changes in unexpected ways. Jules is a reclusive, 34 year-old widow who rarely leaves her house since her husband, Jason, died in the line of police duty. On the day of what would've been her wedding anniversary, Jules sets out to the grocery store to buy ingredients to recreate their favorite meal. Along the way, she meets Patrick Reagan, who ultimately kidnaps her, ushering her into a nightmare where she's taken to task and forced to explain her review and herself to a deeply troubled man who has suffered heart-wrenching personal losses of his own.

With Jules missing, her worried, alcoholic father, a retired military Lt. Colonel, enlists the help of Jason's former police partner. As the two search for Jules, startling revelations begin to emerge about Jason's death. Was it really an accident?  Or might Jason's death be connected to Jules' kidnapping?

Misery Loves Company is categorized as "spiritual suspense." The flawed, lonely characters grapple with ideas of faith amid loss, evil and corruption. However, as in Gutteridge's other novels (Listen, Possession), the narrative is never preachy. The fast-paced twists and turns of the plot present an insightful, chilling look at how privacy is often compromised in the internet age and how choices in life can ripple beyond the scope of personal existence.
Tyndale House Publishers, $12.00, Trade Paper, 9781414349336 , 346 pp
Publication Date: August 1, 2013
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (8/6/13), click HERE

Friday, August 9, 2013

"How to Become a Bodyguard for Celine Dion's Larynx"

Proud to announce the release of 
a new, 
satirical short story:

Ever wonder how contemporary singing divas protect their voice boxes? Well, wonder no more! In the satirical short story, How to Become a Bodyguard for Celine Dion's Larynx by Kathleen Gerard, an over-achieving nine-year-old unknowingly embarks on an unlikely career path en route to working for Celine Dion, the popular singing sensation. You'll laugh and you'll cry as the narrator of the story, a gifted child with a MENSA I.Q., navigates through a journey of a lifetime. This short story is a clever, comedic read for adults and teenagers, who just might learn a thing or two about how the heartbreak of youth can become a gateway into living an unimaginable future!

Read an excerpt at the Untreed Reads bookstore
Link HERE for more information

Untreed Reads Publishing, $.99, e-book short story
Publication Date: August 9, 2013
To order this book via UNTREED READS PUBLISHING link HERE
To purchase the story via Amazon (for Kindle), link HERE
To purchase more of Kathleen's short fiction link HERE

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Time Flies

Claire Cooke (Must Love Dogs) has built a brand writing light-hearted women's fiction where kernels of the absurd and comedic from everyday life blend to form compulsively readable novels. In Time Flies, she delivers again, this time by telling the story of Melanie, a vulnerable, middle-aged, recently divorced, metal sculptor with a highway driving phobia who is goaded by an old friend to attend their high school reunion in Massachusetts.

Melanie, who had uprooted herself and her then, two young sons to accommodate her husband's job years before, has no desire to leave suburban Atlanta and revisit the past. She is content to stay home and literally cut up her king-size marital bed with a chainsaw in order to harvest the springs inside for a new artistic creation. "I'm not famous, I didn't turn into a knockout, my husband left me," she tells her relentless friend. But when an old high school flame, Finn Miller, emails to ask if Melanie will be attending the reunion, their flirtatious correspondence, and the fact that Melanie doesn't exactly remember him, is enough to pique her interest and change her mind.

Hilarious potholes pave the way to memory lane as Melanie journeys to Massachusetts, where she faces her fears while reconnecting with old friends who are dealing with their own life challenges. The piece de resistance, however, is the reunion itself where the past and present riotously collide and give birth to an ending that is as heartfelt as it is hopeful.

Time Flies by Claire Cooke
Touchstone (Simon & Schuster), $24.99, hardcover, 9781451673678 , 320 pp
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (6/14/13), click HERE