Last week I was asked by author Troy Aaron Ratliff if I would be able to review two of his stories. I always enjoy when an author asks this of me because it shows that’s I’ve done something right to get an author’s attention. I readily accepted the request. What was even better is that I already had his stories for a short while after getting them from Amazon a few weeks back. I also, later, realized I had downloaded two short stories that are up on Smashwords.
So what I have for all my readers this week is going to be fun. Today I have finished reading The Uninvited Guest. Tomorrow I plan on reading Little Bernie’s Map, another longer story. After that there are two more stories I will read, Going Down and High Bridge. Those two can be found on Smashwords, while the first two are on Amazon.
Here is my review on The Uninvited Guest.
“When teenagers Harland Jacobs and Jose Rodriguez crashed a wedding, they weren’t doing anything terribly wrong. Jose only came because his nagging mother made him. Harlan only joined him to make it tolerable for his friend – and the free food, the girls and the dancing, of course. And they took full advantage too, eating, laughing at the guests behind their backs, and in the end, were planning to make complete fools of themselves. Why not? What did they have to lose? But they never dreamed this wedding would have taken such a staggeringly horrific turn. They never dreamed they would be fighting for their lives in this lodge tucked away in the woods. They never dreamed they would have heard so much screaming on a wedding day either.” synopsis from Amazon
This is the first of Ratliff’s stories that I have read. Now that I’m finished with “The Uninvited Guest” I plan on reading more.
At first though, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. It started out okay. What first irked me was the use of the second person. This is a story mainly told in the first person. I don’t mind the first person point of view at all. It’s when the word “you” gets thrown around in the mist of the first person that I tend to back away from stories. I don’t care much for a character telling me things “directly.” I like the story to do that for me. The only exception is a children’s story. Those stories are commonly known to use second person point of view to help engage a younger reader. Well, this is not a children’s story by a long shot. But I’m also about to say something strange for me to say. After the first few uses of the second person, I didn’t mind it much. It’s true that I think it could easily have been cut from the story all together. It just didn’t turn me off completely (it also wasn’t running rampant throughout the story, just enough for me to bring up here.)
As for the story, at times the main character,Harlan, jumped onto various tangents for a bit longer than I wished they would go. With a story of this length, it’s sometimes best to stick with the story at hand. Harlan runs off on tangents, that while they need to be in the story, seem to be out-of-place in the story. Some of the information revealed in them would be better introduced as a sentence or two earlier in the story.
While those two issues may seem like I didn’t care for the story much, don’t let that fool you. What it lacked for me in those areas it made up for later on. There was enough foreshadowing for me to guess what was going to happen…to an extent, but I couldn’t imagine everything. There was enough surprise and enjoyment from it as anyone should expect.
The climax and conclusion definitely pushed me to enjoy this story more than I thought I was going to. For that it will be a story I’ll recommend to anyone looking for a short, but entertaining read; with a small bit of gore thrown it ;)
Grab a copy of this story here from Amazon, low price of $0.99!
Troy can be found here:
If you’d like to get a jump on these stories before my reviews get posted feel free: