This collection of short stories is diverse in its settings, ranging from contemporary relationship drama to a world where a shaman battles with a disThis collection of short stories is diverse in its settings, ranging from contemporary relationship drama to a world where a shaman battles with a disconcertingly attractive demon for his very soul. As such, the collection provides an attractive sampler of Ms Thompson's work, making it a good introduction.
The eponymous and longest story in the collection The Counter Offer, raised challenging questions about what we really look for in a long term relationship: should we hold out for 'the one' for whom we feel an all consuming and unreasoning passion, or would we be better off settling down with someone with whom we have a sustained friendship and shared interests?
The story I enjoyed the most perhaps in the collection was The Long Ride Home, the tale of a cop whose grief over the death of his lover drives him to hunt down the young man who drove the car that killed him and make him face the irrevocable nature of his actions. The sharpness of characterisation and the delicate handling of the themes of grief, loss, guilt and anger made this story stand out for me....more
This collection of short stories takes a handful of Greek myths, (some familiar and some less so)transposes them to a modern day setting, and transforThis collection of short stories takes a handful of Greek myths, (some familiar and some less so)transposes them to a modern day setting, and transforms them into urban horror.
A hapless boy doing community service is tasked with dredging a murky lake...
A woman is driven to seek out a drug dealer of old acquaintance in a desperate bid to win back her husband's love...
While the plots of the myths are not stuck to slavishly, their dark heart is retained and brought to the forefront with genuinely eerie and unsettling effect.
Whether you are already a fan of Greek myths or enjoy good horror stories, this little book should entertain and disturb.
Disclosure: I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Contrition is a novel with an intriguing premise. Religious studies Professor Mateo has been haunted all his life by vivid dreams set in another timeContrition is a novel with an intriguing premise. Religious studies Professor Mateo has been haunted all his life by vivid dreams set in another time and place in which a man smothers him to death. At high school, he encounters the man of his nightmares, in the face of fellow student Gavin Hughes. He promptly throws up. Years later, Gavin Hughes shows up in his office, confessing to having vivid dreams and memories of the same events that have haunted Mateo. They share vivid recollections of having been young soldiers in Spanish Morocco on the eve of the Spanish Civil War. Mateo was in the wrong place at the wrong time as a coup was being planned and Gavin accordingly eliminated him. Gavin acknowledges his guilt for what he did and offers to make amends to Mateo for robbing him of his life in a previous incarnation.
While the first part of the story brings up powerful questions of guilt and redemption, of how much responsibility you can carry for an act you committed in another life and another time, the second part leaves these issues behind to some degree and focuses on the romantic and domestic drama of how Gavin can find a place in Mateo's life alongside his lover Alex. Are Mateo's doubts about whether he can have a relationship with both Gavin and Alex about his Catholic faith, already stretched by his acceptance of the possibility of reincarnation, or are they down to simple jealousy and insecurity?
This is an intriguing and original story, based on a powerful premise. It's also a fun and sometimes sexy account of how a couple welcome a third man into their relationship. The contrast between the otherworldly and portentous questions raised at the beginning of the story and the down to earth working out of relationship dynamics that form the bulk of the narrative is perhaps a little disconcerting. Gavin however is a supremely practical and pragmatic character and having accepted that he owes Mateo a life it is in the here and now that he dedicates himself to making amends by doing his best to makes sure that Mateo's current life is happy and successful. ...more
This is a story that defies restriction to any one category.
A fantasy set in a well-realised world of pre-industrial city states, one of which, HalcrThis is a story that defies restriction to any one category.
A fantasy set in a well-realised world of pre-industrial city states, one of which, Halcrest, where this story is set, happens to be under the protection of a mysterious and numinous dragon, Obsidian.
It is also, in part, a murder mystery: when a child murderer walks free due to lack of evidence, he is found later that night in an alley with his throat cut and Watchman Shane Corlisa standing over the body. Even Brock Parr, his partner in the Watch and his closest friend will not believe Shane's protestations of innocence.
This is a story also immersed in the drama of family life. Shane's life is spared by the enigmatic Obsidian, but he is condemned to a lifetime of servitude. Brock, his best friend and the man who testified against him when he was on trial for his life becomes Shane's new master. It is in the midst of Brock's large and growing family, vividly depicted, that Shane commences his struggle to prove his innocence and incidentally renews his acquaintance with Brock's not unattractive younger brother, Dev.
Finally and most importantly, this is a story about the deep and complex friendship between Shane Corlisa and Brock Parr, his loyal brother of the Watch who became his accuser and then his master....more