Authors Showcase: All About Characters
July 10, 2012
The Book: Innocent Little Crimes
The Author: C. S. Lakin
The Story: Lila Carmichael, outrageous, bawdy comedienne, is a rich and powerful woman in television. But, it’s not enough she has everything she desires; for fifteen years she has been obsessively orchestrating payback to five unsuspecting, former schoolmates—“friends” who played a nasty trick on her, and now it’s her turn for revenge.
Under the flattering auspices of a cozy college reunion, these unsuspecting classmates are invited to Lila’s private island for a weekend from hell where Lila forces them to play a vicious parlor game—a psychological “Ten Little Indians,” where one by one Lila’s guests are figuratively killed-off. Yet, revenge turns bittersweet when the weekend is over and one guest is dead.
A psychological spinoff of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians that Publisher’s Weekly calls “A page-turning thrill ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through.”
A Review by Clare Chu: “A cross between Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians and William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies, Ms. Lakin’s story is a chilling account of what happens when you bully the wrong person.
“The setting: A remote island in the Puget Sound. A brewing storm on the horizon. Five desperate and venial schoolmates, each with their secret sins and back-luck stories, converge on Lila Carmichael’s funhouse mansion for a reunion of their Thespian club.
“They eat, drink, cast aspersions and pretend to enjoy themselves until a parlor game orchestrated by Lila goes gruesome. Written before the hit TV series Survivor, Ms.Lakin nevertheless presents a highly disturbing account as former friends gang up and turn on each other to ensure their own survival.
“After tearing each individual to pieces in the most humiliating manner, Lila Carmichael, like Satan the Devil, then entices the victims with promises to fulfill their ultimate desires if they’d only deliver up one of their own, the chosen sacrifice.
“What follows is human nature at it’s lowest and most degrading as the story draws to its tragic conclusion.
“The ending was sad and pathetic. The moral of the story? If you’re cruel to someone, look over your shoulder, and don’t ever accept an invitation to a mansion on a remote island.”
A Review by Archillespubtalk: “This is a psychological thriller, with a storyline evocative of an earlier Agatha Christie or Ruth Rendell style crime and suspense book but played out in a modern setting. The plot becomes evident quickly from the beginning. The main protagonist Lila Carmichael has become a mega-TV comedy star and hugely influential money-machine through the tough, uncompromising path of provocative and dingy stand-up comedy.
“But she is flawed; nasty, unattractive, fat and hailing from a harsh family background of strict religious fanaticism – all the ingredients of simmering resentment, unhappiness and a hidden hatred of those in her early life, whose bullying betrayals forced her into a lifestyle which deep-down she never wanted.
“The perceived miscreants are five of her former College theatre and stagecraft course friends, invited after 15 years of all having gone their own idiosyncratic ways, for a weekend getaway reunion, on her island retreat. On arrival they are embroiled in a series of reflective deeds and a self-destructive and demeaning “game”, the principal focus of Lila’s revenge tactic, resulting in the inevitable catastrophic climax and resultant backlash.”
The Book: Little Journeys
The Author: Jory Sherman
The Story: All of these stories reach deeply into the human heart, and touch upon the great burdens that life brings to us all. These are stories of optimism, of love remembered, of the unexpected sweetness of grief, of the impulsive kindness that transformed a life and he gives us still more.
Jory Sherman is quintessentially a poet, and he brings his mastery of the English tongue to each of these stories. He is so much the poet that his prose could be read as lyric poetry, and the reader will be inspired to pause and relish a passage, and reread it with delight.
Richard Wheeler points out, “I am pleased to introduce here some of the richest short stories penned in modern times, written by a master.”
A Review by Caleb Pirtle III: “Jory Sherman is a rare American enigma in the literary world. At heart he is a poet. He made a name in the New York world of publishing as one of the country’s best loved and most prolific Western authors, receiving a Pulitzer Prize nomination for Grass Kingdom. His Chill series won acclaim as some of the most brilliantly conceived novels dealing with the paranormal.
“Jory Sherman, more than any other American poet and author, has been able to take the heartbeat and sensitivity of his poetry and build a bridge to remarkable fiction with his ability to tenderly reach inside the heart, mind, and soul of his characters, underscoring the pain and grief, the trials and triumphs, love and ambition, that rest within the dreams and disappointments of all mankind. His collection of short stories, Little Journeys, is a small volume, but impact that each of the stories make is substantial and unforgettable. Others simply describe characters. Jory Sherman gives them dimensions that will last with you for a lifetime.
“I read the book. Then I read it again. It’s a book to be read when I feel good about life. It’s a book to be read when sadness touches the edges of my life. The characters in Little Journeys are not merely people in a story. They become as close as family, and I worry about them often.”
A Review by Phil Truman: “The best way to describe this amazing little treasure trove is through Sherman’s own words from one of the stories within – Timeless Interlude – where the main character describes another’s writing: “…full of startling images, magnificent language, and the meter was perfect. It was imaginative and powerful, every line as elegant as any written…” I agree completely. If you treasure short fiction, I highly recommend you include this in your library.”
A Review by Susan Case: “Jory Sherman knows how to touch the human heart with sweet stories of depth and optimism even in life’s struggles. His words reach within, inspire and unite us as only a true artist/poet can do. He has a unique perspective eloquently shared with intimate stories to make you think and feel. A true treasure of precious short stories.”