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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Review: Shadows in the Heart

Shadows in the Heart
by Jewels of the Quill

Rediscover chills and thrills…and quills…on Halloween!

Seven JEWELS OF THE QUILL AUTHORS offer stories with horrors, romance, shudders, woo-woo and a few giggles. Halloween lovers can expect to be charmed, bewitched and scared freaky.

A collection of scary and humorous stories for readers to enjoy during the spooky season...or any day of the year!

Shadows in the Heart - is an anthology of spooky-themed tales, all with paranormal elements featuring seven authors and published by Whiskey Creek Press. I suspect it was unintentional or coincidental, but guess that many of these authors are feline-fans.

The Unvanished Hitchhiker by Margaret L. Carter The innocuous little place at the end of the road houses two women; one cheerily competent, and the other, oddly knowing, even expectant. We know something will happen - and are not disappointed. The occurrence is bizarre, and still, believable.

There is that person inside all of us that wants to debunk the paranormal. When the main character sets out out to clear up the questions brought about by the strange occurrences of Halloween night, we are join her quest, impatient to discover what really happened. The writer presents a puzzle though, that is sure to intrigue.

When the Dead People Brought A Dish-to-Pass by Christine DeSmet is a paranormal mystery. It starts with tragedy - then a puzzle. Main character Alyssa is well-meaning, but tormented by her own past. Alyssa doubts herself, her sanity, and we share her - and perfect pussy Miss Millicent's -irritation, with the fleabag of a ghostly cat intruder, too. Threads of romance weave the story together offers a certain appeal and rather farcical humor. The premise is unusual and the story is a quick and entertaining read.

Trick or Treat by Carrie S. Masek has the immediacy and punch of the best of first-person narratives. We find ourselves in shoes familiar to most of us - walking house to house, hoping for the best treats... and just at that stage where one starts to wonder just where the treat cut-off age is. Derrick, chaperoning a six-year-old, has better plans in store, but adult concerns land him in disappointment. It is all so comfortably familiar - from the spooky dark walk to the hoped for candy (Snickers and M&Ms feature highly.) So, when things really start to happen, it is a total surprise. This is fast and fun, as well as incredibly imaginative and unexpected.

Ghost of a Chance by Karen Woods. A match-making ghost inhabits this tale. The courtroom setting catches the attention right off the bat. While much of the tale happens in retrospective it remains active and interesting. Strong characters really make this tale. The writer manages to balance grief delicately. This lively contemporary romance is sure to please. Most intriguing may be Mystery, the cat... who might be a cat, and then again, might not.

White Elephants by C. J. Winters: When a deadline looms, even the dead can't drag the twins from their commitments! This active story features one unfortunately-located skeleton, snappy dialogue, and (to save time) a self-appointed forensics team. The premise is a hoot and the story unpredictable. Who would have thought that resolving one minor problem (what to do with that unwanted skeleton in the closet) would lead to such offbeat adventures?

Papa by Karen Wiesner. In this is a dark and disturbing tale, guilt only serves to feed the terror. The darkness of the theme is enhanced by many images: from tombs, accidental death, endless grief and a place, called a "Grimm." Sin and guilt form a backdrop here, as well as the specter of a pact with the devil. It starts dark enough, but the growing awareness of a true horror waiting just around the corner will make even hardcore horror fans cringe.

The Beast by Jane Toombs The anxiety builds in this tale built around a costume ball. Our fuzzy-headed narrator leads us to question the sanity of our perspective. Why would she want to go as a bride - or better yet, a saint? Who exactly will be attending as the Beast Man, and why shouldn't he be mentioned? This tale charms us with its questions, twists our perspective, and requires our narrator to take things into her own delicate hands.

Rating:

Review by: Snapdragon