Reviewer's note: the author is a personal friend of mine.
Under Glass: 4/5
Warmth in Winter: 5/5
Sans Merci: 5/5
Over the River: 4/5
I found this collection of short stories to be really, really to my liking. The style meshed exactly with the types of stories I like to read. Though I felt Boon fell a little flat in terms of what I was expecting (and the 'twist' was in line with what I was expecting as I continued reading), this was the only story I felt was undeserving of a 4-or-higher. My favourite story, by far, was Sans Merci, with Warmth in Winter a close second. The entire collection begins with Under Glass, which I rate as a very strong 4/5.
My main concern with this collection (and the author's writing style in general, if this is an indication) is all in how things are described. As readers, we all appreciate good description in books. We get infuriated when there are no adjectives, adverbs, similes, metaphors, etc. However, things can be taken too far. These tend to crop up in the author's writing, and it creates a situation where the reader doesn't have any room to interpret the situation as they would like. It can also pull the reader out of the situation if, for example, something the reader imagines can't be meshed with the excessively-detailed item or situation in the story. Sometimes the metaphors can also pull you out of the story by being completely wild and out of the blue. One such sentence that I happened to highlight was "The stifling air was full of harsh, desperate breathing, as if an animal's lungs had been ripped from its body and left to die on their own." This sentence takes place in a tense scene, and the imagery happened to pull me out of the tenseness this scene was conveying.
Aside from that - and though I spent a large paragraph discussing it, it is actually a small quibble in the scheme of these stories - this collection of short stories is excellent and well worth the 99 cents I paid for it on Smash Words (I don't believe it is out for Amazon or iBooks yet, but I believe it is coming). It is a very solid 4/5 and a nice debut collection from the author.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)