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The third book in the Zack Taylor mystery series is now out: "A Shadow on the Wall" joins "A Memory of Grief" and "A Fall From Grace."
I studied writing with Stephen King, and have published over 25 short stories, story collections, poetry, and articles. I've appeared on stage, television, and in an independent feature film, Throg. I've also appeared on two nationally televised quiz shows, Jeopardy and Think Twice. I co-wrote and acted in The Nine, a short political satire film. I've traveled to all 50 states, Mexico, Canada, and through Europe. I enjoy competitive sports, historical re-enactment, and my family.
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on Oct. 17, 2012 :
This is a great collection of stories for just about any fantasy lover.
The first story, Our New Queen, is a reinvention of the classic tale of Snow White, and Phillips gets high marks for originality. I won't spoil it for you.
Blades and Butchery is an amusing tale about Fatbird and the Gay Louser, two unlikely heroes tapped by the king to rescue a princess. This one was fast-paced, and really increased my excitement and reader experience to another level. It's a great little story, and a heck of a lot of fun!
The pace and level of storytelling is maintained in Froggy Went A Courting. Don't let the title fool you; this one delves into the shadows, and I loved it. It's told from the perspective of the mute daughter of a very minor landowner. This landowner wants to marry his oldest daughter off to "Froggy," a royal, in order to secure greater lands and social prominence. But the mute daughter knows that her sister doesn't want to marry "Froggy," she really wants to help, and she's got a few tricks up her sleeves. This might be the strongest story in the collection.
The Little Guy is an excellent re-imagining of an old fairy tale, told from the perspective of the villain. It's got some great little twists in it, and I won't spoil them for you.
The last story is about a young man who finds a witch left out in the cold to die, strapped into a torture device by the king. When he hears her dilemma, he's inclined to rethink his perspectives. This one is a good old-fashioned fable, and true to the genre, it concludes with a dose of morality. It ends the collection on a nice high note.
Overall, I give Phillips 4 out of 5 stars. Phillips reinvents and re-imagines some traditional genre elements, breathing a unique life and new perspectives into each tale. It's a great find for lovers of fantasy.
Author of "Brachman's Underworld" and "Yorick" (pub. date Halloween 2012)
(reviewed the day of purchase)