Lamppost by Malcolm W. Keyes
This is the story of Jonah, a military starpilot who mentally fuses with his spacecraft to become a single entity. Exhausted from a career of battling universe-devouring machines, Jonah is burned out and must take drugs to fulfill his duties. Depressed and strung out, it is duty that gives Jonah his only reason for living. He is unable to form normal human relationships. Eventually, Jonah is ordered to seek counseling. With his counselor’s help, Jonah finally finds himself and connects with a childhood sweetheart, Ariel. In her he finds love and a new reason to live. Just when he is able to feel human
again, Jonah is ordered on the mission of a lifetime, a mission to save the universe.
Lamppost is Darkstar meets Top Gun with a little of The Last Starfighter thrown in. The writing is fast and clean, sophisticated and yet simple. It’s difficult to pigeon-hole this book, and that’s the way a good story should be. Lamppost by Malcolm W. Keyes gets 88 out of 99 cents.
A Perfect Opportunity by Darlene Panzera
There were several issues which kept getting in the way of Opportunity. Panzera’s prose was effective but a bit stiff and mechanical. A few abrupt point-of-view changes, along with some minor formatting errors, also didn’t help. Sarah and the rest of the characters were also somewhat two-dimensional. In fairness, this story was so short it made for an easy read and a satisfying diversion. But the minute you turn off your Kindle it was quickly forgotten. Like a warm, flat diet soda, this book might quench
your thirst for a short time, but it has no fizz and leaves no lasting impression.
I’m not going to count Darlene Panzera out based on this one story. In her writing I
see the makings of a disciplined and excellent author, but in this specific instance she misses the opportunity to truly shine. A Perfect Opportunity by Darlene Panzera gets 72 out of 99 cents.
Ten Rules of a Call Girl by Allison Leotta
This e-short tells the story of Caroline, a Washington D.C. area college student who finds herself drawn into the world of high priced prostitution. In the process she embarks on a life surrounded by power, wealth, and sex... all of which she cloaks in lies. Caroline is both attracted by the easy wealth and her newfound sexual power, yet afraid of what she is losing. She must choose between her parents and a loving fiancé or sex and glamour.
My only beef with Ten Rules for Call Girl is it feels more like a chapter than a piece of stand-alone short fiction. I saw the conflict rising in Caroline throughout the story, but never really felt it hit home. I knew she had more soul searching to come (along with lots of steamy sex.) It was very clear this was only the beginning of her story. Short fiction should be like a snack - tasty, light, and satisfying by itself. This story was an appetizer – a morsel preparing one for the bigger meal to come. Ten Rules for Call Girl is clearly the nachos before the main enchilada.
Leotta is a no holds barred writer. She knows how to build a scene and smoothly slide
her characters through like satin over glass. This short story is her way of revving her literary engines, peeling some rubber, and daring us to come along for the ride. That’s why I’m somewhat torn in my opinion Ten Rules for a Call Girl. As a teaser and marketing ploy to sell a larger novel, it’s brilliant. However, on its own as a short story it never fully satisfies and, in the end, breaks a critical rule for short fiction. Ten Rules of a Call Girl by Allison Leotta gets 84 out of 99 cents.
I hope you enjoyed these three reviews and will tune in next month when I review three more. Stay tuned to the Underground: subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or follow my personal writing blog.