Jo-Anne Russell

52 Pages
Muse It Up Publishing
Review by Rick Amortis

A collection of ten short stories intertwined with a common theme of violation, sin or injustice.

The Denturist: Bruce Jones makes an unholy deal at the cost of a dazzling new smile.

Accidental Death: A writer’s dream becomes a living nightmare as the story that tells itself goes horribly awry.

Covenant of Flesh: Tyler has an epiphany. There is more to family than mere genes.

Fester: A band of teens realize the cost of bullying while secluded in a secluded camping trip.

Whispers in The Cellar: Angel longs to reunite with her sister Maggie. A deep, dark secret hinders their unrequited reunion, lurking just beneath the surface.

These are just a taste of the ten gripping short tales by Canadian author Jo-Anne Russell. You’ll have to have a glimpse to enjoy the remainder. I won’t indulge in any extravagant plot spoilers. Each tale is brief, concise and digestive; flowing well and ideal for captivating new readers. The compact duration is also ideal for commuting or killing a few scattered minutes in the waiting room prior to appointments. It’s no easy feat in order to compress a solid, alluring beginning, well thought out plot with rising tension and effective conclusion in such a short time span. Not every author is meant for the short story format yet Russell seems to pull it off in spades.

Each ambiguous, abstract climax is an open ending, enabling us the reader to utilize our imaginations. All too often fiction; especially in independent or contemporary circles leaves little to the actual imagination, alienating us as the reader. I like the style Russell has achieved here, involving the reader in the entire process. Editorial wise there are a few spelling, typo and grammatical errors. Clearly no work of fiction is entirely exempt from such action. In some cases the errors have been overlooked and tarnish the overall reputation of an otherwise terrific final product.

The dialogue among the characters is current, trendy and translates well unto a universal audience. An omission of exposition or in some cases minimal use keeps each tale on track and the reader’s attention fixated on what happens next.

Occasionally the author’s voice or prose may come across as awkward or wordy. It’s not a huge issue but it may distract some readers into rejecting this collection without giving it the fair chance it receives.

The common theme of Trespass is a captivating, compelling one making this anthology appealing and worth sampling from virtually any demographic.

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