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Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. His work has appeared in more than 60 publications, including AE Science Fiction, Cosmos, and Shimmer. A San Diego native, Milo currently resides on the Pacific coast with his beloved wife, and when he's not grading papers, he's imagining what the world might be like in a few dozen alternate realities.
on March 27, 2013 :
Fowler doesn't appear to have much faith in human nature to do the right thing, certainly not in the Mercer stories, and Mercer's Ghost is no different. This is the fifth of Fowler's Mercer stories that I've read. It's one of the best. (I recommend you pick up Soul Smuggler if you want to learn more about Mercer). Set in the old West, the story tells of a young man who has come west to make his fortune. Like most, he loses his money, gives it all to a swindler who has ridden out of town to find more suckers in the next town. Reduced to a vagrant, the narrator witnesses a bizarre gunfight over a card game gone bad. The "winner" of the fight runs off in fright. The "loser" is still standing, laughing, with twelve bullet holes in his chest. That's the narrator's introduction to Mercer, who takes pity on the narrator and offers to help him get back his money. Mercer's motivations are never quite clear in the story. Is he trying to do a good deed for the kid or is the narrator just part of Mercer's plans? And what of the narrator? Will he take Mercer's advise to run back home where he belongs or ignore Mercer's admonitions and let greed be his guide?
(reviewed long after purchase)