Interrogation (A Short Story)

Rated 4.00/5 based on 2 reviews
Vincent Malick takes great pleasure in something terrible: Killing. He's good at it, and gets paid well. But his newest job is a little different, and things are about to spiral out of his control. Soon he will discover the awful truth that what he sees is only the surface of something much more dreadful.
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About J. Steven Butler

J. Steven Butler (1975-present) considers himself to be a walking mass of contradictions. In his early school years, his teachers noted a natural ability with literature and writing. Based off of that foundation, he instead went into music, and obtained a degree in vocal performance. He prefers rainy days over sunny, and would rather be at home than anywhere else. He holds a Master status in The North American Combat Fighting System, and draws on that experience to write intense, gritty action sequences. He is the husband of Kim and dad of Ethan.

Reviews

Review by: John Mc Caffrey on June 27, 2013 :
A good short story with a nice twist. Well done.
(review of free book)

Review by: Francis W. Porretto on June 20, 2013 :
Not bad. Not entirely original -- the core motif has been used before -- but still, a nice turn on a particularly frightening quasi-solipsistic fantasy.

The story is slightly overwritten, especially very near the beginning. A career assassin is highly unlikely to be as flowery-descriptive as "Vincent Malick" was in his introduction of himself. You might want to dial it back about 25% in the rewrite.

Also, I must gig you for pronoun errors. The worst of them is what I think of as "the coward's way out:"

-- There is something so viscerally satisfying, so empowering about the feel of taking another person’s life, to see their existence cease, to watch awareness leave their eyes to be replaced by a never-ending blank stare. --

The word "person" is SINGULAR, so any pronoun that refers back to it must be SINGULAR. But like so many contemporary writers, you quailed at the idea of writing "his," which is the proper generic singular pronoun, and used the plural "their" instead. Bad writer! No bourbon!

The other instance that grated on me was the alternate form of "the coward's way out:"

-- The more I know about a victim, the more real he or she becomes to me. --

This is awkward and inelegant. Besides, "a victim" can have only one gender at a time, no? Rewrite: "The more I know about a victim, the more real he becomes to me." As we editors like to say: -30-, and feel free to sneer at the militant feminist language harridans on your way out. You'll find it quite refreshing.

Other than that, well done: 4.33 stars.
(review of free book)

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