Written by: Paula Limbaugh
I can truly say I have never read a better, more cohesive collection of short stories as in this book. Although there is a common thread woven throughout the book each story is unique unto itself. All of them will leave you a bit haunted, perhaps even a little lost, and they will surely stay with you long after you’re done reading. Ill at Ease 2 is a must read.
The first tale Double Helix by Stephen Bacon is a story of regret but with a glimmer of hope. Claire has cancer and not much time left. She has left her husband behind and has gone off with her ex, Peter to the hills of Scotland. There, through the help of Peter she is hoping to find a second chance.
The Shuttle by Shaun Hamilton is a rather creepy story. Sally has been trying so hard to become pregnant and with her biological clock ticking away she has just about given up. She and her husband have just purchased a new home in the countryside and it is there that her dreams of pregnancy finally come true. Yet as in all well conceived plans, things don’t always go accordingly.
Robert Mammone’s Masks is everyone’s dread. Harry and Emma are engaged but alas Harry has a roving eye. After seeing Harry eyeing the waitress one time too many, Emma storms out of the bar they are frequenting. Later when Harry returns home there is no Emma. She has disappeared without a trace until one day, months later an officer spots Emma on a security video. Harry goes to look for her with dire consequences.
Poor Tim, I’m sure everyone knows of a child who’s been bullied. One Bad Turn by Val Walmsley tells the story of young Tim Slater and what happens when one is pushed too hard. But, revenge isn’t always sweet!
A parent’s worst nightmare, I’m sure we’ve all at sometime experienced the feeling. You’re out shopping with your child and you turn your back for a moment, just a moment and they are gone. For that one fleeting second your heart stops and then the panic sets in. The Bureau of Lost Children by Mark West is horrific tale of one fathers’ nightmare.
Sheri White offers a nasty little story in Paradise Lost. A family vacation gone awry; Dad is recording the events as they occur, just in case there is anyone left wondering what happened.
Last but in no way least is There Shall We Ever Be by Neil Williams. This is a haunting telling. It happens all too often as we leave childhood behind to become an adult, we begin to forget our fears, our past. We begin to reinvent the occurrences that once frightened us and our mind highlights the ups in our memories. But, as in all things buried eventually they must resurface. The past will always be with us.
A great anthology! I hope you are left feeling as haunted as I.