Whether it’s vintage Hollywood, the Florida everglades, the Atlantic City boardwalk, or a farmhouse in Western Canada, the twenty authors represented in this collection of mystery and suspense interpret the overarching theme of “moonlight and misadventure” in their own inimitable style where only one thing is assured: Waxing, waning, gibbous, or full, the moon is always there, illuminating things better left in the dark. Featuring stories by K.L. Abrahamson, Sharon Hart Addy, C.W. Blackwell, Clark Boyd, M.H. Callway, Michael A. Clark, Susan Daly, Buzz Dixon, Jeanne DuBois, Elizabeth Elwood, Tracy Falenwolfe, Kate Fellowes, John M. Floyd, Billy Houston, Bethany Maines, Judy Penz Sheluk, KM Rockwood, Joseph S. Walker, Robert Weibezahl, and Susan Jane Wright.
A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the bestselling author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries and Marketville Mysteries, both of which have been published in multiple languages. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including the Superior Shores Anthologies, which she also edited.
Judy is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she served on the Board of Directors for five years, the final two as Chair. She lives in Northern Ontario.
I really enjoyed this collection of short mysteries—some were tame, some were a bit violent, some a tiny bit gory. I loved them all, even the ones that seemed a bit gratuitously violent—I’m not sure what that says about me! A few of the main characters were really sociopaths, I guess. They seem pretty normal, get really mad and unexpectedly and unnecessarily just whack someone good. That’s a little disturbing, but they were all entertaining and tightly written—set up and wrapped up well in just a few pages. I almost always enjoy anthologies and this was no exception. Highly recommended.
“Tammy Loves Derek” showed what happened after Tammy discovered her boyfriend was cheating on her again. She was the sort of woman who used her physical appearance to attract attention from men. I wasn’t sure what I thought of her at first, but my opinion quickly warmed as I got to know her better and discovered parts of her personality that the shallow men she dated never would have thought to pursue. There were some clever plot twists in this one for sure. I enjoyed peeling back the metaphorical layers of the main character and trying to figure out what she really had up her sleeves.
This was a solid anthology in general, but there were a few stories in it that I wish had been explained more thoroughly. “My Night with the Duke of Edinburgh” was one of them. It was about a few University of Toronto students who attempted to kidnap something from the Royal Ontario Museum in 1951. This was such an outlandish plan that I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to do it or how they thought they’d get away with it. While the characters did eventually go into some detail on these matters, I could have used a little more exposition here.
The main character in “A Currency of Wishes” hatched a plan with his uncle to make some much-needed money over the summer. This was one of those tales that was filled with surprises. I enjoyed following all of the twists and turns in it, especially since I didn’t see the biggest one coming. It wasn’t until the last page that I realized what was happening, and even then it took a moment to confirm that my suspicions were correct. Based on how much I enjoyed Ms. Fellowes’ work, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of it in the future.
Anyone who loves short mysteries should check out Moonlight & Misadventure – 20 Stories of Mystery & Suspense.
Judy Penz Sheluk has assembled another superior anthology of twisty tales in "Moonlight & Misadventure."
And what a bunch of misadventures. From a rare Beatles album to a missing H-bomb, these twenty authors have created stories where dialog snaps, characters carom, and plots surprise all under the ever-present moon.
I will name as my favorite "Reunions" by John M. Floyd. When I reached the end, it felt like a punch in the throat (and I mean that in a good way).
These individual stories flow so nicely together. They are notes in a phrase of music. And to tap into your moonlight theme, when I read the stories of these authors, I thought of Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune. This anthology was a pleasure to read.
One positive about choosing to read a collection of short stories is there is no need to catch up on a series or commit to an epic drama, however be aware that these multi-author collections are just as engaging and give readers, like me, a quick entertainment fix evoking a myriad of emotions from “Oh, no!” to “Oh, yeah!” Judy Penz Sheluk sent out an all call to authors from around the world to submit clever vignettes for her third collection of stories steeped in mystery and suspense, yet following the theme of moonlight and misadventure. The result is work from twenty authors, some new and some who had stories in her previous collections, that are all good fun, karmic intervention, or just a plain twist of fate!
I thoroughly enjoyed my journey into the night with only the moon to attest to the moves, motives, and mystery where authors shared their different interpretations along with varied settings, styles, eras, viewpoints, and resulting emotions “...where one thing is assured: waxing, waning, gibbous, or full, the moon is always illuminating things better left in the dark.” Some stories are written using a first-person narrative, yet others third-person narratives, along with descriptive language and dialogue illustrating tone, emotions, and personalities. Many authors have my favorite character as a silent partner in the justice served...Karma! This often left me open mouthed, in awe, or exploding with a bit of a giggle. The eBook has links to each story in the Table of Contents for easy navigating, and in the introduction for each author, there are insights into their writing and links (also in The Lineup) to their websites, blogs, or author pages available. I highly recommend this new collection...compelling, thought-provoking, and downright fun!
Disclosure: I received an ARC from the editor/author. My review is voluntary with honest insights and comments.
I enjoy reading short stories as a refreshing break from my usual 600+ page books of psychological thrillers. I am also a lover of anything “moon” related, so this book was such a fun anthology for me with all of its different stories with so many superb authors. There were stories about vindication, jealousy, suicide, homicide, and people that just seem to disappear under the light of the moon in a black, sleazy swamp in the bayou. Each story started with a short biography of that particular author of which I appreciated so much as I now have a list of authors that I will be pursuing in the near future! The stories all included snippets of different moon phases. Some were very suspenseful, some were ironically funny, (I have a very dark and distorted sense of humor) and some left me questioning what I just read! But all of them are worth the read! This is book 3 of the Superior Shores Anthology, and I will undoubtedly buy the other two to make my collection complete! I received an ARC of this book which I voluntarily read and reviewed and my comments are my honest opinion.
Moonlight & Misadventure had 20 shorts stories of mysteries and suspense. Judy Penz Sheluk, editor of the book, did a fantastic job putting this collection together. I loved every story in the book except for a couple, which didn’t seem to be of the caliber of writing the other stories were. The stories were refreshing and had just enough story telling in them to make for satisfying endings. There were even a handful of stories that had great twists for the endings, which I really loved. I found the information about the authors before each story as well as a link to more information about them, to be a valuable addition. I don’t often read short stories, but based upon this book, I will defiantly read another collection again.
My review is voluntary and all comments and opinions are my own.
I enjoyed reading Moonlight & Misadventure. This is a great collection of short stories and I was introduced to some new authors. I will be looking for more books from these authors. I also enjoyed the theme of "Moonlight and Misadventure." These collections are a great way to find new authors and also allow the chance for a quick read when time allows. I received an advanced reader copy of this book.
Spanning the sub-genres of crime fiction, "Moonlight & Misadventure: 20 Stories of Mystery and Suspense" illuminates the darker side of human nature that comes out at night. These award-winning American and Canadian writers shed the glint of moonlight on mistakes, misdemeanors and murder and are sure to dazzle readers of short stories with this collection.
Moonlight and Misadventure Twenty Stories of Mystery and Suspense By Judy Penz Sheluk Review by Joan Leotta
Editor Judy Penz Sheluk has curated a splendid collection of mysteries for our delight—to be read in all phases of the moon. These tales of mystery, misadventure , and even a spot of mayhem are uniform in only one thing—their quality. Otherwise they are as diverse as the twenty authors whose work she included. Sheluk’s has stitched the stories together with an eye to giving the collection a balance of emotions and excitement. It’s difficult to select favorites in this collection, since I was charmed by the rhythms and language choices in each and every one of them. That said, however, there were four I liked even more than the rest. John Floyd is one of my favorite short story authors and he reinforced that status with his tale, Reunions. It’s tightly written with many surprising twists and turns. In Cereus, Tracy Talenwolf gives one of the best opening lines I’ve heard in a long time, “It started with a Barbie doll.” Third on my hit parade is the historical fiction piece, Moonset by Jeanne Dubois, set in the Atlantic City of the Depression era. The protagonist stays at the Chalfont Haddon hall, where my grandmother spent many August in the twenties and thirties and where I spent two weeks with her in the summer of 1958, when the place was loosing its glitter was tarnished and town on the skids. Strawberry Moon , Sheluk’s own contribution, is a masterful telling of a woman who crosses the border form Canada to US on a day trip. if I tell you what that is, it will give too much away. I’ll share h her first line with you though: “The US Border Guard looks at me with barely concealable contempt.” You cannot go wrong with this book. It is a collection to be read again and again. Savored. It is simply wonderful.
Moonlight & Misadventure: 20 Stories of Mystery and Suspense opens with a powerful tale by Joseph S. Walker titled “Crown Jewel.” Keenan Beech has brother issues. Specifically, twin brother issues. Xavier has now taken something that rightfully belonged only to Keenan. Xavier knew how to stick the knife in--figuratively-- and Keenan intends to restore balance by getting back what is his. At least, that was plan before everything got so very complicated.
Twins and their relationship are also a major part of the following story, “The Ballard of The Jerrell Twins” by Clark Boyd. Whether Darrell and Terrell really are or are not twins is not the question. The real question here is the accepted idea that two heads are better than one. In this case, they may not be as neither one is all that smart. That is apparent before the mystery, the nitrous oxide, and many other things come to light.
Tammy Lee Swanley sets up to watch Lombard’s Jewelry as “Tammy Loves Derek” by Bethany Maines begins. She has history with Derek Lombard. The same Derek Lombard coming out of the jewelry store as he is locking up for the night. She has a plan. In fact, she has a five-step plan to gain wealth. That plan is now in motion.
Lorretta Bremer with two little ones and an important job to do she has her hands full in 1921 as she rides a train from Camden to Atlantic City. You do what you do when you are a widow and on your own. Things are hard. Finding a body in her hotel room makes things so much worse. The fact that the body is of Roger MacNair who had hired her for dictation and typing at the convention is going to be a huge problem in “Moonset” by Jeanne Dubois.
After reading “Reunions” by John M. Floyd, you may think again about striking up a conversation on a plane. Larry Taylor did just that, helped out Roger Farnsworth by paying for his drink, and things went into motion.
Uncle Kenny has a plan, but Josh O’ Leary does not want to hear it. Uncle Kenny’s plans are never fool proof-- even when he claims they are-- and often result in long prison sentences. Uncle Kenny is sure his plan will absolutely work this time because they will keep it in the family in “A Currency of Wishes” by Kate Fellowes.
Gwen, as a child, started lifting items here and there. The barbie doll was the first treasure in “Cereus Thinking” by Tracy Falenwolfe. She lived with her grandparents, Don and June, who never leave the campground they run. Manatee Playground Campsite is her home and she lifts treasures from those folks who tick her off as they come through while on vacation. By the time she is of legal age, she has long since realized she needs to get out of there. Leroy Lafontaine might be her ticket out.
Readers go back in time to the early 1930s in the next tale, “Just Like Peg Entwistle” by Robert Weibezahl. In the time of the big studios and controlled access to movie stars, the sudden death of Peg Entwistle was huge news. Was it a suicide? Was the death of the young actress murder? What really happened is the subject of this tale.
The trio is out in the swamp hunting for a lost treasure in “Scavenger Hunt” by Michael A. Clark. It was lost in February 1958. All these decades later, the three are deep in the Wassaw Sound with the faint city light glow of Savannah far to their south. Lit by moonlight, the search is on.
It is back in time again with the next short story, “My Night with the Duke of Edinburgh” by Susan Daly. It is the fall of 1951 and Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Phillip, will soon arrive in Canada for a royal tour. The group of college students in Toronto want to make some sort of symbolic public statement regarding Canada’s sovereignty as a nation. Exactly what kind of statement and the repercussions of their act are the theme of this tale.
She had a pretty good idea of who her big brother was, warts and all, and now Oliver is “Dead on the Beach” by KM Rockwood. At least, she thought she knew everything. But, what she is being told regarding his death does not make a lot of sense. She starts asking questions. As any reader should know, not only do snitches get stiches, asking questions can get you killed.
Mom is dead and now Uncle Peter wants his share of what the daughters have coming to them. Not that there is a lot in “Madeline in the Moonlight” by Susan Jane Wright. Mom was an artist and a bit eccentric so pretty much what you see is what you get. Peter, being Mom’s baby brother, has no claim but he certainly is pushing things.
Murder is hard and messy work. Especially when you use a sledgehammer. It was well worth it in “Not a Cruel Man” by Buzz Dixon. Cleanup should be easy.
Angie Kritt is more than ready to shut down the old tavern for the night. It has been a long day and she is very much ready to go in “12 miles to Taylorsville” by C.W. Blackwell. Once she gets rid of the last few guys from the logging crew, she can do a couple of things and get home. That is until Meena shows up terrified and on the run.
Old Man Harper is some sort of creepy perv who likes teen girls. At least, that is what everybody at school says. Everybody knows what he is and want him gone. Katy, Ron, and Grace-Rose have decided to give him a push on to somewhere else in “Chicken Coops and Bread Pudding” by K.L. Abrahamson.
Peter Hayes puts in a lot of unpaid hours. In “The Promotion” by Billy Houston, that hard work is finally going to pay off. One way or another.
Just before the power went out, the police got an alert from the security system at the library. Officers Grabowski and Tyler are dispatched in “The Library Clue” by Sharon Hart Addy. A broken basement window means they have to check it out.
The plan is the thing in “Ill Met By Moonlight, Proud Miss Dolmas” by Elizabeth Elwood. Teaching Drama and English is hard enough due to the actions of some students who think they are entitled. Some want to ignore the rules. They seem to have found an ally in the new principal, Martha Dolmas, who has never taught a class in a day of her life.
Being a public health inspector is a hard job. Having an overbearing and incompetent boss, as was present in the preceding story, just makes things worse. In “The Moon God of Broadmoor” by M. H. Callway, Liz gets reminded that her job means she has to shovel some stuff. Figuratively and literally.
The last tale is “Strawberry Moon” by Editor Judy Penz Sheluk. All she wants to do is cross the border into the US. Unfortunately, she is dealing with a United States border guard that likes his power a little too much.
From the complicated and powerful opening tale to the twist ending in the last one, the twenty stories in the book are all good ones. Moonlight as well as misadventure in a variety of ways plays a major role in all of them. So does more than a hint of madness in many of the tales. In some cases, things happened as they always would because of the nature of the folks involved. In others, the plan failed sometimes in surprising ways.
Moonlight & Misadventure: 20 Stories of Mystery and Suspense is an anthology that features many complicated reads. Every tale selected is a good one and well worth your time.
With a general theme, moonlight, running through the stories in one way or another, the 20 short stories are all quite different from each other. Each of the stories had their own unusual aspect and characters, some good some not so. I could pick out a few that stood out to me like Madeline in the Moonlight or Tammy Loves Derek. But there is so much more. I liked the idea that there were no cliff hangers and I got a taste of some authors I didn't know about and will be sure to check them out. The opening short story, Crown Jewel hit home for me as although this was about brothers, my sister and I went through almost the same thing in reality give or take some details when my mother passed and my sister betrayed me. Although most stories had a dark element to them, there were those that threw a little humor into them, some dark, some a little lighter like the antics of the cat in Madeline in the Moonlight. I must say I enjoyed all the stories for different reasons as the stories were well written and the characters well developed for a short story. This is definitely worth reading! I received and ARC but the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
“It started with a Barbie doll. The kind that wore a frilly dress and a tiara that made her look like a theme park princess. I took it from a girl named Holly and hid it in the laundry room in dryer number four, which had been out of order for two years.”*—from “Cereus Thinking” by Tracy Falenwolfe
This cool crime anthology incorporates the moon in so many fun ways. I like the mix of silly and somber tones. The variety of tales ensures a wide range of readers will find plenty of stories to love.
My favorites include:
“12 Miles to Taylorsville” by C.W. Blackwell: A female bartender who simply wants to get home to her single wide trailer and enjoy a little weed must decide who to trust when she gets pulled into an after hours criminal situation. No nonsense Angie makes a great protagonist, and as always, Blackwell makes her the kind of character the reader can’t help but root for.
“Crown Jewel” Joseph S. Walker: A rivalry between identical twin brothers threatens a beloved iconic vinyl treasure. I dug the layers of double cross and dark humor.
“Tammy Loves Derek” by Bethany Maines: Tammy’s got a five-step plan for dealing with her cheating boyfriend. The story start of the protagonist climbing out of a dumpster hooked me hard.
“Cereus Thinking” by Tracy Falenwolfe: A woman’s kleptomania prevents her from having a fresh start. Gwen’s need to take souvenirs from the guests who she envies in order to cope with feeling trapped makes her an empathetic character.
“Reunions” by John M. Floyd: A kind gesture on an airplane could be the start of a friendship if not for a little pesky problem. I loved Roger’s name tag. Forgetting to remove it after the conference is a relatable problem.
“Madeline in the Moonlight” by Susan Jane Wright: Two sisters deal with their artist mother’s estate after her sudden death and learn about her connection to a famous artist. The antics of Moriarty, Claire’s cat, and the tone of the story keep things light despite the somberness of their mother’s passing.
“The Promotion” Billy Houston: Pete comes to realize his worth to the company during a meeting with his jerky boss. I’m pretty sure anyone who has had an awful boss will relate to this story.
“Strawberry Moon” by Judy Penz Sheluk: A woman’s plans to witness a rare celestial event take a bad turn when her boyfriend interferes with her enjoyment. The story reminded me of the many times I’ve dealt with border guards while traveling between Canada and the US. The awesome ending closes the collection on a great note.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thanks to Superior Shores Press for providing an Advance Reader Copy.
*Please note that my review is based on uncorrected text.
This third anthology from Superior Shores Press is packed full of quirky characters engaging in crimes and mishaps by the light of the moon. The authors come from across North America, the stories’ settings too, from the swamps of the Deep South to the snowy north of Canada.
Some tales revolve around up-to-the-minute technology while others - such as the quaint innocence of 1921’s Moonset by Jeanne DuBois and a far from innocent tale, Just Like Pen Entwistle by Robert Weibezahl, stalking Hollywood’s most famous hill in 1932 - trace back decades. Seething starlets make way for bayou ‘boys’, good kids go a little bit – or a lot – bad. Any cop you meet on these pages could be good, indifferent, or rotten to the core.
There are heists gone wrong where characters get redeemed by love gone right, and those gone right at the expense of romance. Thefts range from the usual cash, jewels, Rolexes to an irreplaceable fine art study and all way the back down the value scale to a bit of Elvis tat that nobody but an obsessed collector would pursue.
Whatever the variety of crime story you enjoy, you’re sure to find something to enjoy in this atmospheric anthology.
Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book in the expectation of a review.
A very enjoyable collection. Unfolding under the watchful eye of the moon, these short and suspenseful stories successfully combine thrills with mystery, romance, historical fiction (such as the delightful "My Night With the Duke of Edinburgh" by Susan Daly), dark humor, and even Hollywood true crime (as a lover of Pre-Code movies, I was particularly enthralled by the wry and imaginative "Just Like Peg Entwistle" by Robert Weibezahl). One of my favorite stories in this collection was "The Moon God of Broadmoor" by M.H. Callway, which combines both humor and tragedy to thrilling - and chilling - effect. It's been a few weeks now since I read this story and I'm still thinking about it - always a good sign!
This is the perfect collection to curl up with on a dark *or* moonlit night. ;-)
Judy Penz Sheluk's third short story collection in three consecutive years serves up 20 tasty crime fiction bites in a variety of sub-genres: mystery, caper and police procedural. Laced with menace, twisty turns and dark humor, Moonlight & Misadventure's tales will have readers checking the shadows for murderers and miscreants. Let's hope Sheluk's collections become annual crime fiction feasts!
A very good collection of a variety of crime stories in classic noir format, usually told from the perspective of the perp. I especially loved "Crown Jewel" by Joseph S. Walker which dealt with a subject matter I am very familiar with.
Moonlight and Misadventures is a collection of 20 short stories by a variety of authors. Each story gives readers a variety of new characters, situations, and dangers to be faced. From a trickster brother who manipulates his twin into a nasty situation with a "mob boss," he owes money to, to a mother who finds herself the victim of some bad circumstances but makes the best of it. Each of these stories passes by pretty quickly, but I like that each of the authors writes with true excellence. Each of the stories is well written and the stories are pretty engaging as well. There are some that you will snicker at, others that you will roll your eyes at the stupidity of the characters. Then there are some that will have you raising your eyebrows in surprise at how things play out. These stories really take you through the gambit and I like that. Now, I didn't necessarily like all of the stories, but it's not because of the storyline itself...it's more of the characters. Maybe it's the twist (how things play out) that I'm not too keen on, but I felt that in two stories the characters are just a little too dumb for their own good. Bad comes out on top in one, and another two bickering mothers only come together because of a bout of stupidity all around. LOL! I'm choosing to rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. The stories absolutely fit the "moonlight and misadventures" theme and I tip my hat to each of the authors for the fun stories. Each either has a play of moonlight or some misadventures that the characters find themselves in. Some overcome...while others do not, but it's a good book to check out.
I don't usually read short stories or much crime fiction, but I do love the mystery genre overall (cozies & romantic suspense are my jam) and was intrigued to pick this up because of the evocative theme of the moon. I wasn't disappointed!! These short stories are easily read in one sitting - on a lunch break or before bed to give you just enough of an escape to light your imagination! I was impressed by the quality of the writing overall. I liked some stories (plot/ characters, etc.) more than others, but that's to be expected in an anthology. I would have liked some of them to be even a little more mysterious/ creepy, actually! I loved reading each author's unique spin on the theme. The length of the stories was perfect and I especially liked reading the short bio of each author so I can look up more of their work. I will definitely read other anthologies by this publisher!
Moonlight & Misadventure: 20 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, which was put together by Judy Penz Sheluk, is a wonderful compilation of short stories penned by different authors. The stories run the gamut from outfoxing others to unanticipated deaths to thievery to shenanigans. Great plot twists and turns rein in readers and keep them glued to the page guessing the outcome.
A short author’s bio proceeds each story. These wonderfully suspenseful stories are written from both the first and third-person points of view. Some of the tales include a bit of strong language. Anyone who enjoys bite-sized engaging and intriguing mysteries will want to read this book that covers a multitude of criminal activities ranging from disconcerting to exciting to shocking to chilling to entertaining.