Title: The Sea Crystal and Other Weird Tales
Author: Susan Berliner
Publisher: SRB Books
Pages: Kindle; 160
Release Date: April 3, 2016
Genre: Short Stories
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy suspenseful tales with a very paranormal twist.
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Welcome to Susan Berliner's world. It's a place where strange things—both good and bad—happen. Meet some of the inhabitants:
* Doreen. It's time for her wedding—but where is everyone? (Doreen's Wedding)
* Neal. The face he sees in the mirror is no longer his own. (Mirror Image)
* Deb. All she does is recite four Latin words. How bad can that be? (The Rapunzel Effect)
* Ben. Everything he says sounds like gibberish. (Wordless)
* Mary. Her sweet dreams become nightmares—and then the nightmares become real. (Dare to Dream)
* Kayla & Dan, Lisette & Omar. Two vacationing couples—one white and one black—form a bizarrely close relationship. (The Sea Crystal)
* Alicia. She waters office plants for a living. It's a stress-free job, right? (The Plant Whisperer)
* Isabel. The man in a red sports car looks exactly like her long-lost husband. (Nathan's Return)
In this weird world, you'll encounter a variety of genres—from thriller and horror to fairy tale and humor. Enjoy your visit!
One of the best things about short stories is how easy they are to get immersed in. You can start from any part of the book, and there's just as much to enjoy. It does, however, take a particular talent to be able to write really vivid story in such a short amount of pages. There is a limited amount of time to build a setting, characters, and just enough tension for a twist. Susan Berliner easily shows that she has the ability to do just that. Her stories in this book vary in tone and content, but they're all rather solidly written and a ton of fun to read! This is a great way to spend a few hours.
I have to say, although I'm partial to the ones that are a bit on the scarier side, every story in this book has its own distinct brand of whimsy or terror. From chilling mirror images, to fairy tale lives, to a world of dark dreams that comes to life, there is so much to explore in Berliner's world. There was a little taste of each kind of story, which really showcased the author's writing ability. The fact that each story, despite the topic, was just as solidly written was really impressive.
In fact, it was wholly impressive that all of the characters were so well written. Despite the short amount of time I had to get to know each of them, I really did feel like I knew just who they were. It was a lot of fun to try to figure out where the twist in each of these stories would be. Honestly, most of the time I was completely wrong about where I thought they were going. Which, of course, made it that much more fun! It's always fantastic to be a little blindsided, especially when the story ends with a moment that makes your jaw drop a bit.
If you're looking for a short story compilation with a little bit of everything, this is one that you need to add to your reading list.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.