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The fifth book in the Zack Taylor mystery series is now out: A Sharp Medicine.
I studied writing with Stephen King, and have published over 70 short stories, story collections, poetry, and non-fiction. I've appeared on stage, television, and in an independent feature film, and co-wrote and acted in a short political satire film. I've also appeared on Jeopardy, losing in a spectacular fashion. I've traveled to all 50 states, Mexico, Canada, and through Europe.
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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)