Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Who The Hell IS Rachel Wells? by J. R. Greenwell

Reviewer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions, Sept. 2013
Pages:  191

Five Stars out of Five!

One of the more challenging things for an author to do is put together a collection of his own short stories, geared to hold the reader’s interest without competing with each other for attention. The stories should have a common thread that justifies the collection, yet be unique enough so the reader doesn’t think he is being pitched several drafts of the same story or sequels to what has already been read. That’s what makes this anthology so special, in that the author has compiled eleven clever and engaging stories based in small Southern towns, some sweet and emotional, most amusing and often full of campy bitchiness! The stories are character-driven, with a diverse cast that includes drag queens with attitudes to reckon with, clueless parents trying to deal with their “fabulous” kids, criminals without a lick of common sense, and men “coming out” late in life.

It’s hard to pick my favorite of the stories, but it would have to be “Duplicity,” a brilliant look at a group of co-workers at a community center, who suddenly find themselves opening up to each other while they are being held hostage by a troubled young gunman who attended GED classes there. The interactions between each other reflect their varied personalities, as well as their abilities to handle a situation that is out of their control. You can’t help but relate it to people you know.

This is a home run for this first-time talented author, and a Southern-fried treat for his readers.

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