Welcome to my blog stop on the book blitz for “Dark & Fluffy: Volume II: A Collection of Short Fiction” by Janet Stock.
As an eclectic reviewer, I decided to try an eclectic assortment of short stories for a change, and I think it is one of the shortest short story books I’ve read. Volume II is a mere 70 pages filled with 9 pieces originally written for courses, magazines, novels, and stories that just popped into the author’s head.
Ms. Stock has divided her stories into dark and disturbing and fluffy and happy and I have added my reviews below for each story:
The Man Across the Street – The first story is disturbing and ironic and was created as a writing assignment. It is told from a neighbor’s perspective about the man and wife next door and her disappearance under suspicious circumstances. Suspenseful with a surprising ending.
Vintage – Written more like an ode to herself, the author uses classic verbiage to chronicle her life. I’m not a big fan of poetry, but it was a unique addition to the collection.
Gisella – A break-out story from her novel, Stock introduces her love of medieval fiction when Benedict, a castle wait’s son, realizes his dream when he follows a lovely performer and her two brothers home. A fluffy story about never giving up on your own dream.
That Steampunk Vibe – “I know you explained it, but now I’ve seen it in the flesh it’s bloody baffling.” A young woman exposes her conservative dad to a steampunk festival and he meets a fellow Jules Verne fan. As one who works at a liberal arts college, I expect this kind of thing happens all of the time when parents come to campus for the first time.
Death by Testing – A dark and alarming science fiction/horror story inspired by Stephen King about sentencing humans to “death by human testing”. Told by a rooky assistant porter the story opens with the porters prepping a prisoner for more experimental testing. The story was very short and well wrapped up with a bit of irony at the end.
The Broken Arrangement – Another dark and bone-chilling tale told from two perspectives: a stalker and a “stalkee”. Basically, a warning to those who date online. A suspense “thrillette” with a touch of modern psychology know-how.
The Disney Club – A feel-good story about a young woman who moves to a “quiet” community from the city to do some writing. However, the old man’s dog next door won’t let up on its barking. After paying a visit to the old man and his dog, the woman realizes maybe there is something missing in her life.
Queens of England – Are two Queens better than one? A bit of alternative history about Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary of Scotland sharing the throne. An interesting feminine take on what would have happened if….
Bli Ain An Drochshaoil (Black 47) – And lastly, a fictional story taken from the author’s own family history about a family’s misfortunes during The Great Potato Famine of 1847. Some interesting facts about another time in history.
Overall, it is a nice variety of stories that are short, but full of compelling content. A little bit of everything for the short story enthusiast.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am married with one teenage son and have always been a keen reader and writer since being young. I was born in Lancashire but have lived in Lincoln for over 30 years.
Several years ago I decided to take my writing seriously. I completed an OU course in creative writing and a Writers Bureau course. Initially, I concentrated on short story writing, and when I turned fifty this year, I self-published my first book, Dark and Fluffy.
I love writing short stories, but my main goal is to have a novel published. Ten years ago, I started the first book of a trilogy of novels called The Little Servant (The Wait’s Son). I am still working on this, but now I have a serious intent to get this finished this year.
My favourite genre is medieval fiction, Bernard Cornwell is my favourite author. I also like to read Edward Rutherford, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz.