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July 15, 2012

Sunday Shorts: Life in Death

Life in Death by Harlow Drake
Published February 2012 by Wine Not Publishing
Read July 2012
Goodreads, Amazon

Life in Death was an interesting short story. It was definitely a short, fast read. It is around 80 pages and I read it amidst a full day of shopping and attending a 2 hour book signing. When I started, I thought it was going to be like an episode of Law & Order: SVU. About 30% in, it was becoming more like Criminal Intent. Finally, at around half way I thought "this is just psycho."

I've read some dark and twisted stuff in my day, but for how short this story was there was just too much going on. It was like the author was going for a bit of shock and awe. However, the short story format did not yield itself well to such a complicated web of interconnected characters and events.

I read Life in Death as part of the Sunday Shorts Read-a-long at The Indie Exchange. The discussion has been interesting. We all found parts of the story confusing. For me, timing seemed to be off. I wasn't sure how things fit together on the timeline. One of the bloggers involved mentioned that it was like reading the highlights of a murder mystery, which I agreed with. Others commented that it seemed like a detailed outline. It was like the author had particular scenes in mind and then just kind of made some thin connections between them. I think the point we were all trying to make was that neither the story nor the characters were fleshed out well enough.

The book had great potential and the plot was definitely something I read and enjoy. I think had a plot thread been deleted and a bit more background on the character provided this would have been an excellent short story. At the same time, I could see the author expanding the story into full novel length, answered many questions we had about the characters, and made better connections between the plot threads.

If you are part of a book club looking for a short story, I would recommend Life in Death because the discussion it has generated amongst those of us taking part in the read-a-long has been great.

Sunday Shorts is a weekly meme featuring short stories, fast reads, or cheap books. Cabin Goddess is the hostess.
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