Mystery Montage: A Collection of Short Story Mysteries
Crafting a good short story is a challenge. The author has less time – and space – to build a plot and develop characters. When done poorly, you are left feeling like you’ve nibbled on a snack, hungry for something more substantial. Patricia Morin’s collection of short-story mysteries, Mystery Montage, feels more like a full-course meal.
Morin’s stories are diverse and exotic, spanning the globe from Atlantic City and San Francisco to Honolulu and, even, a small village in Africa. It’s these far-flung settings that keep things interesting and vibrant; each story immerses the reader in a new world. Morin’s voice changes with each locale; she’s got an uncanny knack for creating wildly differing characters and, yet, infusing them all with enough personality to bring them to life and make them believable. Whether she’s writing about an elderly woman who discovers a ring in the sand beneath a boardwalk, a young rapper who will stop at nothing to win a recording contract, or a chocolate-loving Hawaiian widow saddled with her husband’s secret gambling debts, her characters jump off the page. They feel real and are surprisingly fully-developed. If there’s one criticism, it’s that they occasionally shy away from common sense.
One of the high points of Mystery Montage is the fact that each story feels completely unique; no two are alike, either structurally or in tone, giving the collection a fresh feel. It reads like an anthology filled with works from a variety of authors – a difficult feat for one person to pull off. Morin takes the basic mystery genre and hacks it up into various sub-genres, from the noirish feel of Rap Sheet to the hilariously screwball Who Killed Horatio T. Adams? Stories range in length from 51 pages to three (for Homeless, an impressive exercise in brevity).
Never too complex, but always entertaining, Mystery Montage delivers good storytelling in easily digestible chapters. Let’s hope Morin is hard at work on MM2.
|Page Count||217 pages|
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|Category||Poetry & Short Stories|