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Story Time David Whitman Review by
David Whitman
Around A Dark Corner
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AROUND A DARK CORNER - 2009
by Jeani Rector
Turner Maxwell Books
ISBN: 978-0-9561884-0-3

AROUND A DARK CORNER is a new collection of short stories by Jeani Rector from Turner Maxwell books. Each of the nine tales (and one novella) are quite different in tone - some of them soaked with blood and gore, while others fall into a more subtle category.

The best story in the collection by far is “The Golem”, a retelling of the Jewish legend. Rector’s description of the monster coming to life was actually the best I have seen of this tale. Her attention to detail is remarkable and you can really tell that a lot of research went into this work.

Another standout tale was “A Medieval Tale of Plague”. The story is about a young woman trying to survive the bubonic plague as it hits London. This story was vivid and so well researched I actually forgot I was reading and completely fell into Rector’s haunting world. It was refreshing to see this story done from a character driven perspective.

Some of the tales have banal or sudden endings, but Rector’s talent lies in the smaller moments. Sometimes the details of these moments are so rich and vivid that the reader truly feels the impact. For example, in the story “The Dead Man”, Rector’s attention to the most minute details of dismembering a body seemed fresh despite the fact that we have seen this sort of thing before. There are some clunky moments in the dialogue where it feels as if the author is educating the reader rather than simply letting her characters talk, but that can be forgiven given the quality of some of these stories.

I would definitely be interested in seeing Jeani Rector’s future works, especially a novel. If Rector can harness these great smaller moments into a larger work I have no doubt the impact would be profound. I recommend AROUND A DARK CORNER.

3 BookWyrms.

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This review copyright 2009 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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