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on May 25, 2011 :
Lunch Reads – A Very Old Man by Jenny Milchman
From the first line of this wonderful short story describing The Very Old Man you know that Jenny is a writer who has total command of detail and description. And before you finish the first page you will believe she is a consummate storyteller. She puts the reader in the scene.
Add a element of suspense, a nasty old coin that magically affects a nine month old baby replete with falls and old plumbing bubbling up over the baby’s crib and you have a prescription for an entertaining lunch time read that will leave you speculating over what the ending means and wanting to read more from this talented author. Definitely five star material.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on May 09, 2011 :
I was fortunate enough to read one of Jenny Milchman's contest submissions recently, so when I saw her name in an announcement for Lunch Reads, Vol. 1, I jumped on it and added it to my Nook.
The bio on jennymilchman.com states: "Jenny Milchman is the married mother of a kindergartener and a preschooler", and her photo matches that description pretty well - a lovely young woman with a sweet, nurturing smile.
Don't believe it for a minute, folks.
Beneath Jenny's warm, caring exterior beats the heart of a macabre story teller, and I am quite sure that it beats with much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton.
The story starts simply enough, with a minor encounter that has caused many a parent to look back and say, "Of course there was nothing to worry about--how could I have been so foolish?" Young Denise has taken her infant daughter shopping, and a stranger approached, wanting to give the girl a little present. It has happened at one time or another to nearly every parent or anyone who has had charge of a cute baby in a public place for more than a few minutes. Nothing to worry about, right?
Don't believe it for a minute, folks.
To avoid spoilers, I'll omit additional story details, but if I were asked for the author's recipe, I'd say blend equal amounts of Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King, then season with additions by Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock. Blend well by holding the mixture in your hands. It will be shaken up when you are.
I know nothing about the novel that Jenny Milchman has on submission, except that I can't wait for it to be published so I can read it. She is a talented young writer from whom we can expect wonderful things.
As this is part of a two-story set, I should say a bit about the second, Libby Sternberg's "Escape from Southern Point". In the afterword, Libby says the wanted to come up with an amateur sleuth who could have stepped off the screen of Murder, She Wrote, but who does not see herself that way. In fact, her sleuth Olivia is not a mystery writer who solves crimes in her small town--but she has a sister who plays one on TV. While attending a wedding where the groom doesn't show, circumstances force Olivia to live up to her sister's reputation. Libby Sternberg has succeeded admirably in bringing her premise to the page, in a quiet, small-town cozy short that provides a very nice counterpoint to (and relief from) the intensity of The Very Old Man.
The vending machines at my place of employment charge a buck for a candy bar or bag of chips. For a penny less, Lunch Reads last longer and are far more satisfying. If subsequent volumes meet or exceed the standard set by this first installment, they will continue to find their way into my lunch bag.
With my compliments to the chefs,
(reviewed within a month of purchase)