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on Oct. 30, 2011 :
Basement Blues and Other Stories is a collection of spooky tales by Janet Sked to get you in the scaring mood.
Janet starts us off with Basement Blues a fun noir style story. Only this time instead of ole’ Sam Spade our detectives are “monsters”. Astrid, a vampire, Ruth, a ghost and Bill, well, you have to read the story to find out what he is, run Blue Moon Detective Agency. They specialize in handling the more unusual cases and they get a doozy of one when Susan, a zombie with a problem, shows up. Susan has a ghost in her basement that is trying to kill her…again. Why, you ask? Now, if I told you that I would give away a wonderful gasping twist in this fun spooky tale about how monsters can make the best of friends.
In her next tale Dim, Janet wrenches your heart out with a story about a man turned child by the horrors of war and how they continue to haunt and terrify him into his innocence. Charlie went to war to serve his country and came back with half a brain, literally, and a fear of the dark. When his convoy was hit by friendly fire he was trapped for two days with his dead comrades under an overturned half buried truck. Now he is being taken care of by his ailing grandmother and ignored by a sister he adores. What is it in the dark that scares him so much? When you find out it will make your skin crawl and want to scream in terror.
And last, but not least is Pushing Janey, a tale about a young man, Phan, and a young woman who catch each others eye in Piccadilly Station. Unfortunately, before Phan can learn the young woman’s name she has a terrible accident and is killed. Why is it then that the young man is still seeing her at the Station with a strange star like dark spot on her back? To make things even weirder he starts to see other people that are there one minute and gone the next, each with the same star shaped dark spot. Are these people trying to tell him something? Find out what the dead are saying to Phan in this physiological thriller that will leave your head spinning.
Janet even throws in the first three chapters of her début novel Wolfsong at the end of Basement Blues and Other Stories to tantalize our imaginations and bring us into a world of myth, monsters, and magic that leave us yearning for more.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on July 03, 2011 :
There's a detective agency I'd hire in a heartbeat!
Once again I’m being forced to open myself to the possibilities of expanding my tastes when it comes to certain genres of books. I’ve always told myself that I’m not a fan of werewolves, but thanks to this author, I read her first work, Wolfsong, and was very surprised to learn that I enjoyed reading a story that featured werewolves. When I learned Sked had come out with a collection of short stories, and the first had a vampire in it, I had to see if she could keep me interested. After all, the description of Basement Blues included the line, “and her laundry equipment is trying to kill her all over again”. Who was I to pass that type of intro up?
The first story involves what I hope will be regular series about this detective agency that is so unique that I am not even going to try to describe the characters. Trust me, if I say anything it’ll give spoilers, and I refuse to do that. I was genuinely disappointed when I reached the end of that story. And yes, there was a vampire as an employee. There, that’s all I’m going to say about it.
The second and third stories are classified as horror stories and involve characters that have been traumatized in the past. While definitely not a fan of horror stories, once again I was drawn into the pages and kept wondering what was going to happen next. The stories are short, so to say anything else would definitely give plot details away, so I’ll just say that these stories are definitely worth checking out.
Great job again, Janet! If you develop that first story into a regular series, you’ll definitely have to let me know!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on June 14, 2011 :
Basement Blues by J H Sked has 3 short stories: Basement Blues, Dim, and Pushing Janey. Dim and Pushing Janey both fit into the horror/thriller genres, while Basement Blues is a paranormal detective story with a good bit of comedy mixed in. Both Dim and Pushing Janey feature men who are haunted by their pasts. In Dim a man is terrified by the memory of what happened to him while serving overseas. Pushing Janey is a bit too hard to explain without giving something away.
The title story Basement Blues is a short intro into a whole new series that J H will be starting sometime fairly soon. I very much enjoyed the story of the strange group of detectives and their unusual client. This is yet another series from J H Sked that I will be looking forward to.
(reviewed the day of purchase)