Earlier this year I reviewed Rob of the fiction desk first collection Various Authors here .So when a few months ago (sorry for delay Rob) I was asked if I want to review the second in this quarterly series of anthologies ,I said yes as known Rob via twitter for a few years and I really trust his judgement at picking the stories for the fiction desk collections .
SO this time we have nine stories in this collection two of the writers that had appeared in the first collection also appear here Charles Lambert and Jason Atkinson .The collection like the first isn’t themed which I like I m not a huge short story reader but when I do read a collection I prefer it to be like a i pod on shuffle you never know what is going to appear next and this collection is like this .One minute your with a family as the put something strange in a fish tank .Then you’re at school where the is strange thinks going on due to a new dress code being brought into force .As ever I ll focus on a couple that caught my eye the first is one by Mischa Hiller called room 307
He took a drink of his beer and looked up to see a women in a pinstriped trouser suit come into the restaurant .She was on the mobile phone and carrying a leather briefcase on a strap over her shoulder .The two businessmen stared at her like they’d never seen a women before.
Callum the main character in Mischa Hiller’s room 307 sees a women .
The story is about Callum he is a businessman away on a business trip when he meets a women called Susan and they chat and get on there is a spark ,he is married thou .The story has a thriller edge to it that slow telling of the story building the tension to the end as we find out who Susan was is she really his wife ,just a random women or something more sinister .this story for me does what great Short stories do with the bare facts a man in a hotel we have his name not much else.but as you see the scene with this women unfold you are there with him as it happens and that is what great short stories should do make you feel in their setting straight away as it is like a butterfly only there for a short period of time .The other story I really like was Jagger’s and crown by James Benmore .
According to this mornings paper ,I am meant to have died sometime over the weekend .Go and buy a copy of the mail if you don’t believe me ,I’m on page 36 .
Kevin Crown reads of his own death .
Now this story shows another face of short story’s the mini epic ones as Keith crown reads of his own death he was part of a comedy double act ,I pictured some of the acts we used to see in the late seventies early eighties on british tv cannon and ball ,Les Dennis and Dustin gee so on (if you are not from uk maybe google them and you’ll have an idea of what I m,mean ) so this shock that he is thought to have died makes him look back over his working life with Sonny Jaggers from his first array as a solo act then he meeting Sonny and the rise of them as a double act but then like Icarus all things that maybe fly to high fall to the ground and so it happen to them so in the space of 22 pages we see a man’s life wonderful stuff and as rob noted on the top of the story Keith crown seems very real .
Last time I compared his collection to c86 so in the same vein I m going to say this is like a this mortal coil album and Rob is like Ivo Watts Russell sticking together a collection of fresh talent to make a little gem .Below is a list of the stories plus links to Rob’s site where you can order a subscription .
- Halimah Marcus – Dress Code
- Andrew Jury – “Glenda”
- James Benmore – Jaggers & Crown
- Colin Corrigan – The Romantic
- Ryan Shoemaker – After All the Fun We Had
- Jennifer Moore – Swimming with the Fishes
- Jason Atkinson – Get on Green
- Mischa Hiller – Room 307
- Charles Lambert – Pretty Vacant