Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Roses are Red, Carrie Green (5 stars)

From Amazon: A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP--Drunk, Allan ended an all-nighter of partying with a hit and run that escalates into First Degree murder.

A LUCKY HUMAN--Traveling the Universe aboard a space cruise ship may be the hottest trend, but a young man may be exchanging his life for this privilege.

CASH ONLY--This bounty hunter only cares about the paycheck.

I met the author, Carrie Green, through a Gratitude Blog Hop sponsored by the World Literary Café, then known as WoMen’s Literary Café. Carrie wrote a guest post on my writing blog that changed my view about the horror genre: Thank You, Stephen King.

Thanks to that post and her two short story collections, I now consider myself open to horror—particularly Stephen King.

I read Sugar is Sweet first, reviewed here last Thursday. The author recommended I start with this collection to dip my toe into the horror genre. I really enjoyed it and began reading Roses are Red the same day. I finished it in a few hours, surprising myself. I actually liked the grittier material in this collection a bit more. Who knew?

The first story, A Long Distance Relationship, grabbed my attention with the opening line: “I don’t care. You killed a man. I’m going to call the cops.” Margaret’s conscience spells her doom, but Allan’s not off the hook. Just as he thinks he’s escaped his fate free and clear, his actions haunt him. This story reminded me of my favorite Edgar Allen Poe tale, The Tell-Tale Heart.  I can’t think of a higher compliment to give it.

My favorite piece (from both collections) was the second story, A Lucky Human. I love a story that takes you places you never suspect. To top it off, my favorite character was completely unexpected: a computer with feelings and desires. The story begins with a young man, Evans, who wants to take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime—travelling on a space cruise ship. Captain Paul Gan sees the boy as his ticket to freedom.

From there, it’s a game of cat and mouse, but with a computer and humans. The whole story played like a Twilight Zone episode in my head. Kudos to the author for such a clever story.

The final story, Cash Only, pits criminal versus bounty hunter. The interesting part: I was drawn to the criminal, even felt sorry for her. The bounty hunter was so focused on the “job” that he lost touch with his human side. But it was “the easiest money that he’d ever made.” My heart went out to Tina. Again, the author managed to create an interesting, sympathetic character in very few words.

Thanks to intriguing plots, well-developed characters, and captivating writing these three short stories gave the same satisfaction as three novels. Not to say I didn’t want more, because I did. But I say that even at the end of a good novel, no matter how long it is.

Readers who love science fiction and horror will particularly love this collection, but anyone who enjoys getting lost in a good story built around interesting characters will appreciate it as well.

Rating: 5 stars

For more about Carrie Green and her books, please visit her Amazon Author page.